Four model years is usually “over the hill” for an automotive design. It’s when most cars have a mid-life crisis, get a facelift, and maybe hit the gym to put on some extra muscle. But when you start out life as gorgeous and desirable as the Lexus LC, you don’t have to worry about such concerns. Even though it debuted for 2018, the luxury two-door coupe looks just as fresh, futuristic, and phenomenal as always.
Okay, to be fair, Lexus has updated the 2022 LC ever so slightly, with revised suspension tuning, new colors, and a “Bespoke Build” option that allows buyers to match a variety of exclusive exterior and interior design choices. The customization process yielded the vehicle you see here, a 2022 Lexus LC 500 draped in gorgeous Nori Green paint over unusual two-tone “Manhattanhenge” leather and Alcantara – think orange and black and you’ll be close. It’s not a conventionally pretty design, but it won me over after a day or two. The LC’s 5.0-liter V8, however, was love at first listen.
Gallery: 2022 Lexus LC 500 Bespoke Build
There is no denying the raw appeal of the 2022 Lexus LC. Its proportions are pretty conventional – long hood, short deck, low roof, two doors – but otherwise, designers threw out the rule book. Triangular headlights sit in running-mascara nacelles, with a complex, three-dimensional design for the Lexus-signature spindle grille. A character line generates from the upper part of the spindle, creating a sharp crease that flows over the hood and down the side of the car. Around the back, black mirrors suddenly illuminate red or amber and turn into taillights. The choptop roof and triangular window openings only add to the appeal.
My tester’s unusual, blade-style fixed carbon-fiber spoiler takes some getting used to, but it gives the posh LC 500 some comic book, Super GT flair, and it’s probably how I’d order mine just for the sheer oddness of it all. This particular Bespoke Build wears the standard 20-inch wheels, and they look pretty good for a base option. But you’d be a nut not to order either of the optional 21-inch choices, which fill the wheel wells and sit more flush with the body.
You can have your Lexus LC coupe in two flavors, and mine was the correct one. The LC 500 comes with a 5.0-liter V8 producing 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque, allowing it to hit 60 miles per hour in a claimed 4.4 seconds. Those numbers are adequate for a flagship luxury coupe, but they don’t really stand out in a world of 3.8-second Porsche 911s and Mercedes-AMG SL55s. What the numbers can’t convey about those turbocharged rivals is that they lack the high-rpm banshee shriek of the naturally aspirated Lexus mill, as well as a low-speed woofle that reminds the neighbors who bought a hybrid LC 500h that they coulda had a V8.
I cannot overstate the subjective appeal of a Lexus V8 winding out to its 7,300-rpm redline, making the high torque peak feel like a game to beat rather than an obstacle to overcome. Helping matters is a set of magnesium paddle shifters that command a responsive 10-speed automatic transmission, keeping the quick-revving V8 in the meat of its admittedly narrow power band. That the chassis and steering are willing to play is yet another bonus when introducing the LC to a curvy road.
With a stiff, well-controlled suspension and rubber-band tire sidewalls, you’d be forgiven for expecting a back-breaking freeway ride out of the 2022 Lexus LC 500, as well as some persistent drone from its snarling V8. And yet the big coupe somehow delivers incredible poise on long-distance journeys. No matter the road surface or pavement quality, the LC soaks up bumps with well-damped polish and limited body motions, and the exhaust settles into near-silence until it’s time to pass that rolling roadblock up ahead.
The hushed cabin is also almost faultless in its construction. Sumptuous leather and Alcantara covers the seats, with the suede-like material also appearing on the door panels and headliner. Nearly every surface is well-padded, and accents like the genuine-metal paddle shifters and dials ensure your fingers are treated as nicely as your other body parts. Seat comfort is likewise first-rate, with excellent support and standard heating and ventilation for the front passengers.
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Infotainment That’s As Outdated As The Design Is Futuristic
Somehow, the Lexus LC’s design looks decades ahead of its time, but its tech suite was hopelessly outdated even back in 2018. Unlike newer Lexus models, which feature ergonomic touchscreens, the LC hides its 10.3-inch display behind a pane of clear plastic, forcing the driver to interact with a frustrating trackpad instead. Mercifully, there are a few redundant controls for climate and audio, but making anything but rudimentary changes requires a trip through the infotainment system’s Byzantine menus. Adjusting the seat climate controls, for example, is a four-step process on the trackpad, and operating it while on the fly isn’t easy.
Furthermore, the reversing camera could use a major resolution bump, and there isn’t any forward-facing camera at all, a problem given the LC’s long and low nose. You’ll have to suss out parking blocks and curbs by telepathy instead.
Once you’ve had your fun with the snap-crackle-popping V8, it’s time to pay the piper – almost literally. While the LC 500h’s 3.5-liter V6 and electric motors can muster up 29 miles per gallon combined, the V8-powered LC 500 can only achieve 19 mpg (and that’s if you’re behaving). Drive like the V8 wants to be driven and you’ll be lucky to crack 15 mpg on a tank.
Practical It Ain’t
No one buys a luxury coupe expecting it to haul kids and groceries around, but if they did, they’d find little to love in the LC 500. When taking photos of its impossibly gorgeous interior, I had to fold myself into the back seat, where I repeatedly introduced the crown of my head to either the headliner or the rear glass. Knees and feet, meanwhile, are similarly cramped, and the trunk offers just 5.4 cubic feet of shallow space that would struggle to hold an overstuffed carry-on. Think of the LC 500 as a two-seater, use the rear seats to hold your soft-sided luggage, and you’ll be fine.
2022 Lexus LC 500 Bespoke Build