2018 Lexus LC Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Jan 12, 2016
  • New flagship 2+2 coupe
  • LC 500 has 5.0-liter V-8 engine from RC F Coupe
  • LC 500h has new multi-stage hybrid system drivetrain
  • New 10-speed automatic transmission for LC 500
  • New continuously variable transmission for LC 500h
  • Next-generation Lexus Multimedia infotainment system
  • Sets the stage for the evolution of the Lexus brand
  • On sale in the spring of 2017
Updated 12/9/2016


2018 Lexus LC 500h front quarter left photo


While it won’t become ubiquitous on American roads like the ES sedan and the RX crossover, the 2018 Lexus LC is critically important to Toyota’s luxury division.

When the new Lexus LC was introduced at the 2016 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Akio Toyoda, chief branding officer for Lexus, said: “This flagship luxury coupe’s proportions, design, and performance make a strong statement about our brand’s emotional direction.”

Previewed by the 2012 Lexus LF-LC Concept, the new LC is built on a new premium, rear-wheel-drive architecture that the company will use for future front-engine/rear-drive vehicles. Lexus says this component set is engineered for dynamic performance, and that the LC reflects a newfound level of collaboration between designers and engineers during the vehicle development process.

Exterior Features

Lexus uses adjectives such as “provocative” and “athletic” to describe the LC’s design, which is instantly recognizable as a Lexus yet symbolizes the beginning of a new styling phase for the company. The goal was to preserve as much of the LF-LC Concept as possible in the production version of the car, and Lexus has done an excellent job of transforming fantasy into reality.

Thanks to the widespread use of high-strength steel, aluminum, and carbon-fiber composite, the LC boasts greater torsional rigidity than the limited-production LFA sports car, making its architecture the stiffest unibody structure that Lexus has ever built, according to the company.

Sitting on a 113-in. wheelbase, which is longer than that of the Lexus GS sedan, the new LC features short front and rear overhangs, a fast roofline, and a tapering greenhouse. The controversial Lexus spindle-style grille looks exactly right on this car, flanked by triple-LED headlights and L-shaped running lights. Functional vents, a panoramic glass roof, 20-in. aluminum wheels, and multi-layer LED taillights with a sequential L effect are also standard.

Interior Features

Designed to seat four people, the LC is realistically comfortable for two people. The front seats are mounted low in the car, engineers wanting the seating hip point to be as close to the center of gravity as possible for superior dynamic feedback and driving sensation. Nevertheless, Lexus says it will be easy to enter and exit the car.

Optional Features

2017 Lexus LC 500 interior photoBuilt for long-distance comfort, the front seats face a driver-centric, layered dashboard with a minimalistic layout. Configurable instrumentation delivers a wealth of information within a small amount of space.Among the options that Lexus has announced, an available carbon fiber roof replaces the standard glass roof while further lowering the car’s center of gravity. Additionally, LC buyers can choose performance seats wrapped in premium leather with Alcantara inserts, an active rear spoiler, and larger wheels.

Under the Hood

Mounted in a low, front mid-ship location and contributing to a 52:48 front-to-rear weight distribution, a naturally aspirated, high-revving, 5.0-liter V-8 engine powers the LC 500. If that sounds familiar, you’re not mistaken. This is the same V-8 used in the GS F and RC F performance models.

Selected for its linear power delivery (or because Lexus has it sitting on the shelf), the V-8 generates 471 horsepower at 7,100 rpm and 398 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,800 rpm. Lexus forecasts that the LC 500 will sprint to 60 mph in less than 4.5 seconds.


2018 Lexus LC 500h engine photo Lexus says the engine produces “fantastic sound.” Credit dual intake inlets and an active exhaust system that opens internal baffles when the car is driven in Sport mode or when the engine exceeds 3,500 rpm in Normal mode. A sound generator is also standard, which “enhances the engine’s raucous melody into an aural thunder,” according to Lexus.

A new 10-speed automatic transmission debuts in the LC 500, and Lexus supplies long, slender magnesium-alloy shift paddles so that the driver can take manual control. Software adjusts the shift programming based on acceleration, braking, and lateral g forces.

The LC 500h hybrid is equipped with a new performance-oriented multi-stage hybrid system, based on a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, electric motor, compact Lithium-ion battery, and a multi-stage shift continuously variable transmission (CVT) that is engineered to feel like it has 10 gears. A manual driving mode provides control over the transmission using the paddle shifters.

With the LC, Lexus wanted sharper yet more refined ride and handling characteristics. To help achieve this mandate, and in addition to placing the engine and vehicle occupants as close to the center of gravity as possible, Lexus pushed the wheels to the corners, installed lightweight forged-aluminum suspension components, and placed the battery in the trunk in an effort to achieve optimum balance. The result, according to Lexus, is consistent and predictable handling, precise and linear steering response, and an impressive ride quality.


2018 Lexus LC 500 rear quarter right photo A Lexus Dynamic Handling package coordinates the car’s variable-gear ratio front steering and active rear steering to heighten the sensation of driving the car, the automaker claims. It is accompanied by a limited-slip rear differential, and this upgrade also fine-tunes the stability control system for improved cornering.

Staggered-width Michelin Pilot Sport run-flat tires with Premium Touch sidewall technology are standard equipment, wrapped around 20-in. aluminum wheels fronting 6-piston front and 4-piston rear brake calipers. A set of 21-in., forged-aluminum wheels is available as an option.


Several driver-assistance technologies are included in the LC’s Lexus Safety System+ package. They include adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, and automatic high-beam headlights.

Though Lexus did not confirm this, certainly the LC will also have a reversing camera, blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert, and a subscription services package that includes automatic collision notification.


When the 2018 LC goes on sale it will introduce a new Lexus Multimedia infotainment system with improved graphics, faster processing, and flexible software that can be updated over time. A touchpad version of the company’s Remote Touch Interface will also be aboard this luxury coupe.

Standard for the Lexus LC, a Pioneer premium audio system is designed specifically for this car. A high-end Mark Levinson surround-sound system is available as an option.

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