Lexus LC500 Convertible Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Tuesday 3rd October


What is it like to drive?

What sort of car is the Lexus LC Convertible trying to be, exactly? With a 5.0-litre, naturally aspirated V8 in the nose, rear-wheel drive, a limited-slip diff, a short-ratio ten-speed gearbox and two flavours of Sport mode, clearly it’s a thrusting sports car.

And yet with a kerbweight of just over 2,000kg and neck-warmers built into the seats, it’s obviously a luxury GT. Think of it perhaps as a sub-£100k Bentley Continental GTC. There’s aggression and intent about the LC, but such feelings are kept thoroughly in check, like an Edwardian parent expressing love for their child. 

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The seats are fabulous – Volvo-esque in their sensation of weightlessness, cradling comfort, and yet fabulously supportive. The steering wheel’s not overly thick, and like the chairs, it’s covered in expensive-feeling hide. Everything you touch sets the tone: this is a car to be stroked along at a reasonable lick, not pointed at the horizon and thrashed for all it’s worth.

Is it actually very fast?

Course, when you fail to resist the temptation to uncork that V8, the response is gloriously instant and the power delivery seamless. The bark actually sounds optimal at middling revs – hauling from 3,000-5,000 revs is the honeyed sweet spot. And yet, you’re aware it’s never accruing pace at quite the rate it sounds. 

Disappointing? Actually, it feels like the right way round. These days, when plenty of hot hatches can get you from 0-60mph in under four seconds but sound about as appealing as a wet fart in a lift, there’s a lot to be said for the LC’s approach to acceleration.

It reminds us what we’ve lost as cars have plunged into the drag race time trial rabbit-hole. The LC doesn’t get you to the destination as fast as most of its rivals will, but you’ll enjoy the journey more. 

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What about the ten speed gearbox?

On the up side, it'll cruise in tenth at motorway speed at 1,500rpm and do over 30mpg. Great for a V8. On the down side, shifting via paddles will give you RSI and the auto mode gets indecisive over the sheer breadth of choice sometimes. 

How about the handling?

The LC is a delight to pour down a road. The steering has pleasant weighting that exactly matches the character of the drivetrain: you don’t arrive at corners and attack them in a serrated flurry of jagged stabs at the apex. You flow around the bends, marvelling at Lexus’s success in fitting 21-inch rims that don’t wreck the ride quality. 

On rougher roads and over a level crossing, there’s some tell-tale shudder from the rear-view mirror, but it’s on par with the like of the BMW M8 Convertible, and considerably comfier the rest of the time. The steering column doesn’t jiggle like jelly either. And it’s a very good roadster, this. There’s no buffeting to speak of and it’s perfectly possible to hold a civilised telephone conversation with the roof down at 70mph. The four-layer roof is thickly insulated and there’s not a hint of flutter or flap when it’s raised. This is a thorough soft-topping exercise.

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