Lexus LC 500 reviews: Can it rival the GT giants?
Are a striking design and luxurious cabin enough to challenge the likes of Maserati?
Lexus LC500: Prices, specs and reviews
Lexus has had several attempts at creating sporty GT cars in the last few years with varying degrees of success.
It's last attempt, the RC F, received mixed reviews - Evo, for example, said its naturally aspirated V8 engine was "fantastic" but ultimately felt heavy and "slightly clumsy".
But now comes the LC500, a striking new grand tourer that looks to refine the driving experience of the RC F and deliver a design philosophy that debuted on the LF-LC concept at the Detroit Motor Show in 2012.
The design of the LC500 appears to be more of an evolution of the current Lexus range, incorporating some of the sharper edges of the GS saloon and RX SUV around the front grille and rear end. However, it has a much smoother surface along the wings and down to the side air-intakes, which are reminiscent of the LFA hypercar.
It also looks more poised than its predecessor. While the RC F featured large, rounded body panels around the wheel arches, the LC500 dramatically trims any excess bodywork to give it a more compact and streamlined shape.
Inside, the car features a large sweeping dashboard with a large LCD housed in the centre. Early images suggest the cabin will boast an abundance of leather on the seats and dashboard, although more options are expected to be announced closer to its launch.
Under the bonnet is a naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 engine producing 465bhp and 398lb-ft of torque, which is coupled to a ten-speed automatic gearbox. This helps launch the car from zero to 60mph in 4.4secs and on to an electronically limited top speed of 168mph.
There's also a hybrid version, which uses a 3.5-litre V6 engine partnered to an electric motor that can go from zero to 60 in 4.7secs. Adding a lithium-ion battery into the mix allows the hybrid LC500h to produce 354bhp and 257lb ft of torque.
Instead of using a conventional CVT gearbox, Lexus has installed a multistage transmission, which alters the power output over four stages to maximise acceleration and improve engine response. All this technology does make the LC500h quite heavy at 4376lbs, with the regular model a little lighter at 4266lbs.
Autocar says the LC500 feels sporty the moment you "drop farther than you might expect into the sports seats" which, along with the more central engine, "benefits the centre of gravity".
Sport+ models also feature a carbon fibre roof and rear-wheel steering, which helps the car handle "odd cambers, big, mid-corner bumps" and aggressive throttle applications with "remarkable composure".
The LC500h hybrid, meanwhile, is "a great grand tourer" that could also be considered as "a good sportscar", Auto Express says. The combination of the firm's great build quality and new technology acts an "exciting pointer to Lexus's future".
The hybrid's 3.5-litre V6 petrol electric engine and multi-stage gearbox will "surprise a few people" with its organic sound that is acoustically fed into the cockpit, it adds.
While the naturally aspirated V8 of the standard model and "striking design" set the LC500 apart, the chassis isn't particularly precise and its outright performance doesn't match rivals such as the 911 Carrera S, says Evo.
However, it's better at being a grand tourer than a 911 beater, the magazine says, as it features a cabin that is a "minimalist's delight" and is near-silent when causing along the road.
CarBuyer expects the LC500 to cost "around £80,000" and goes on sale in the middle of next year.