Aging Beauty

by Petrol Mum
Lexus LC500 under pine trees

The Lexus LC500 was launched in 2016 and although there have been some updates released between then and now, at six years into production the LC500 could be considered an older car in the automotive market. Age may be measured in years, but as one of the biggest giveaways of age is the way you move and hold yourself; it could be said that this Lexus LC500 is still a budding flower.

Sophistication from every angle is an apt way to describe the Lexus LC500; distinctive lines flow from the front to the rear of this coupe. With its 21″ forged alloy wheels, BI-LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights and turn signals, vents and strikes the LC500 looks as modern as the day the wraps were first taken off it.

Thanks to keyless entry you simply press the door handle and it releases displaying the Lexus logo, a symbol of luxury. Step over the carbon fibre sill (part of the Enhancement Pack) and lower yourself into the snug front seats. The new car smell may have gone from the LC500 I drove, but the aroma of elegance remained in the interior. I loved the Alcantara on the door trims with the sweeping accents reflecting the exterior design and the pressed carbon fibre on the inside of the doors. Another little feature I liked was the icon on the door glows green when it is locked.

Alcantara and leather-accented trim adorns the Sports front seats, which are heated and cooled and come with power adjusted for recline, forward/back, seat height front and rear, 2-way lumbar, with the driver seat getting three memory positions. These seats are also part of Enhancement Pack, along with include Carbon Fibre Roof (replaces Privacy Glass Roof), active rear spoiler that can be raised and lowered using the button in the cabin, Variable Gear Ratio Steering and Dynamic Rear Steering.

Adjacent to the analogue Lexus clock is the 10.3″ infotainment display screen, which is navigated using the touch pad, something I still find quite fiddly to do. Voice control is also available and activated by pressing the button on the steering wheel with the masculine looking silhouette on it, similar to that used by many other car companies. The voice control worked well for me to make phone calls, set a destination on the sat nav and changing the radio station.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard, with the other media sources available including AM/FM, DAB, CD/DVD, AUX, USB, Bluetooth and Miracast, to play your favourite music on the 13-Speaker Mark Levinson Audio System. Under arm rest there is a felt lined storage cubby large enough for a smart phone with two USB ports, one 12V outlet and one AUX port located here. In the front door there is a shallow storage cubby suitable for sunglasses. One thing I did notice in the cabin was due to the angle of air vents in front of the passenger seat the air does not actually blow directly on to you.

To awaken the LC500 place your foot on the brake and hit the start button. The V8 engine burbles to life before settling into a soft rumble. Place your hands on the simple, but stylish leather accented steering wheel, which has power adjustment and is heated, and submit to the enjoyment of driving one of last naturally aspirated V8-powered vehicles still on sale today.

The LC500 is available with a 3.5 litre V6 petrol engine with Lexus Hybrid Drive and EV Mode or this glorious V8 that I had the pleasure of spending some time. The 5.0 Litre, naturally aspirated, V8 petrol engine has a maximum power output of 351kW and maximum torque of 540Nm. No official 0-100km/h is provided by Lexus, but the internet tells me that it is sub five seconds, so this LC500 beauty is no slouch. The official combined fuel efficiency 11.6L/100km and for time in the LC500 I used 15.5L/100km.

The V8 engine has a linear feeling power delivery that pulls hard all the way to the 7,300rpm red line and sounds fantastic, leaving you in no doubt that this is a V8 powered coupe. The active exhaust becomes raspy as you accelerate harder and you are rewarded the further you push the LC500. The front carpet mats may be thick, but the V8 song still penetrates the inside of the cabin and sounds even better for onlookers admiring the LC500 as it passes by.

The 10-speed automatic transmission offers crisp gear changes up and down the gearbox, but will only shift down to second gear aggressively and then into first gear when the computer says so. To engage ‘manual’ mode on the transmission you pull the leather accented shift lever down and to the left and can then take control of the gear changes with the metal steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.

Drive modes are selected via stalk on the left-hand side of the driver’s dash with Eco, Normal, Sport S, Sport S+, and Custom mode available with Adaptive Variable Suspension. I found Comfort mode to be perfectly suited for long drives in the country, where the LC500 can stretch its legs. Sport+ is firmer but still comfortable, although the rear-wheel-drive LC500 does loose traction in the dry under hard accelerations and can get a bit squirrelly in the wet.

The review from my children was “it’s teeny tiny in the back with space really only suitable for the coats you would hang on the hooks behind the front seats, but looks good on the outside.” Sounds to me a bit like that favourite pair of shoes that you are willing to put up with some discomfort in because they look so good on your feet.

The rear seats are not suitable for adults due to a lack of head and leg room and even though there are two ISOFIX/two rear tether child seat restraint points, care would need to be taken with regards to the style of car seat that you used due to the sloping roof line. There are also no rear air vents or storage cubbies in the back and only small mats on either side of the transmission tunnel.

There is no external boot release button and the boot can only be opened via the button on the key fob or in the cabin. The lid opens just a small amount so you have to put your fingers between the gap that to lift the boot lid up and then manually close it using the handle inside the boot lid. The boot is small and only suitable for enough soft luggage for a weekend away or a small weekly shop. It has for tie down points and my LC500 had no spare tyre or tyre repair kit.

The Lexus LC500 does not have an ANCAP safety rating, but does come with eight airbags and the Lexus Safety System+. This includes Pre-Collision Safety System, Active Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, Automatic High Beam, and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Amusingly after driving the LC500 for about 15 minutes, dodging the many pot holes in our roads at present, the Lexus told me that I should stop for a rest, as I had crossed the centre line too many times. For convenience you get a standard reversing camera with front and rear sensors, auto lights, auto high beam and rain sensing wipers.

All new Lexus vehicles now come with a 5 Year/Unlimited Kilometre warranty and you also have access to the Lexus Encore program for three years when you purchase a LC500. The service interval for the LC500 is every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever occurs first, and under the Lexus Capped Price Servicing the first three services will cost $595 each.

Age should not be measured in years, but rather in our experiences instead; experiences like the pleasure you have when driving the Lexus LC500. Prices for the Lexus LC500 start at $168,096.69 before on-roads costs and as tested with the Enhancement Pack 1 ($11,538.46) and including on-road costs the LC500 I drove was $231,979. Visit your preferred Lexus dealer to experience the amazing LC500 coupe for yourself.

The glorious, naturally aspirated V8 engineFiddly touch pad used to navigate infotainment
The distinctive exterior stylingLimited space in rear seats
It has a CD playerNo external boot release or powered boot lid

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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