“You have money, my boy, I like it,” YouTube told me, a camera mounted on a frame as he drove past me to get into the sea of a Mazda RX-7 parked near the New York Highway on the West Side. . It was the 7th day of New York, a giant festival of cars with rotary engines and their friends, held annually on July 7, and once again a crowd of Mazda owners and their friends gathered in Times Square, this time despite the pandemic – and maybe and because on this occasion, as most of these enthusiasts were stuck inside for months and desperately wanted to arrange themselves.
I, of course, felt the same way. And while the car I was in ̵1; the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible, one of the few in America at the time – was neither a Mazda nor a turntable, and was a bone marrow, unlike almost any other car. in the west, he still received a lot of attention. Thumbs up. Looks. Smiles of approval. Questions about the engine and the price of the sticker.
This is not the car you want if the word “thin” is somewhere in your vocabulary.
“It’s not mine,” I shouted to my new friend, reluctant to explain the logistics of the machines to the press, but not wanting to demand any stolen Lexus Valor. Unfortunately, I don’t think he heard me through my mask or over the roar of tuned engines as they raced off the highway. The LC 500 stood out among the widely modified RX-7, R32 Skylines, S2000s, Integras, NSXes and unexpected strange balls, such as the Toyota Starlet GT Turbo, which all appeared at the party. So did the LC 500’s $ 112,000 price, which was far from the rest.
It didn’t matter. The Lexus was accepted immediately. Beloved, equal. Covered by the JDM crowd of the 1980s and 90s. It’s too rare, too weird and too appealing not to do. And if you are lucky enough to invest in it, the focus is on what you are looking for.
In some ways, it looks like the modern equivalent of the Japanese Bubble Era – expensive, luxurious, focused on a very, very small niche of the buyer, and has no real business. I think that’s why all the people liked the FD RX-7 so much. The game recognizes the game and all that. This is a Japanese who takes the Aston Martin Volante or Mercedes SL, except for the fresher and unique ones. And you have to applaud Lexus for releasing it when SUVs dominate everything.
Convertible 2021 Lexus LC 500, by numbers
- Base price (as tested): $ 101,000 ($ 111,920)
- Power unit: 5.0-liter V8 engine with ambient air | 10-speed automatic transmission Rear-wheel drive
- Horsepower: 471 horsepower
- Torque: 398 lb-ft
- Weight: 4280 pounds.
- EPA fuel economy: 15 mpg city | 25 highway | 18 combined
- Seat capacity: Four (technically speaking; the rear seats are only for small children or people you don’t like)
- Promise: A grand V8 convertible that is different from the rest.
- Delivery: Several shortcomings in the implementation can not recognize how special and interesting it is.
A V8 Stunner
Even with traffic and parking, and the streets are cleared by a pandemic, and the worst savings anyone has seen in decades, New York is still a haven for very nice cars. Cayenne and Makana have a lot. Some neighborhoods have a class G on every second block. Aston Martin and Lamborghinis convertibles are not uncommon on the BQE. Of course, the TLC-coated Camrys dominates the landscape, but the city’s money is evident in its cars.
Despite this, the LC 500 kept turning its head for a week when I had it. The fall, the long long hood, the shiny red paint ($ 595 option) and the roar of the V8 attracted more attention than anything I’ve checked in a while. if for any reason other than that you don’t see much of it, periodically. The amazing Lexus even makes them – only about 1,200 sold in America last year, period, and I’m surprised the number is so high.
But Lexus considers it appropriate not only to continue this, but also to make a convertible version for 2021. I know Toyota has caught the hell of outsourcing the new Supra to BMW, but the man, the largest car company in the world, can be sure to throw bones at us whenever he wants to. Even if you lose money on a project that it can do very well – I think you can go with some things when you move so many RAV4s on a regular basis.
By the way, at least a few quasi-smart car people asked if it was an LFA or asked me to rotate the V10 engine they thought. If you look at both sides, this confusion is somewhat understandable. But the LC 500 doesn’t have the famous high-revving 10-cylinder engine from Japan’s largest supercar, and it can’t fit that howl signature. (Few cars can.) Instead, it has a gem under the hood: a 5.0-liter V8 Lexus with a V8 atmosphere, the same one found in the RC F, GS F and the old IS F.
As visually stunning as the LC 500, for me, the V8 is a real show star, as it was on the RC FI, and I found myself deeply fascinated by last year. Aspiration V8s are usually not enough at this time, and this engine has a character that is often lacking in turbocharged engines. It sounds great, it’s free-revolving, it’s great on cruises and highways, and it’s an impatient partner in the Schenagigans. For me, the twin-turbo V6 is simply not a replacement for this thing. A word from zero to 60 mph takes just under five seconds; this is understandable given the 4,280-pound weight, but in real motion it turned out to be quite fast.
It’s a ride more mood than this pig weight. The steering is light and neat, the steering wheel is minimal, and driving on the harder side is comfortable. Even in Sport + mode, it’s not enough to light your hair on fire, but the whole package is enough to move with force, have fun in the corners and not punish you too much when you do. Some may say that he does not have a level of cruelty in AMG, but I believe that he has a right to the athleticism that he is trying to be. This is balanced, and the balance is hard to upset these days.
Something special inside, with some disappointments
Of course, appearance and speed tell only part of the story with a proper grand journey. The idea is to make you comfortable in your wealth. What’s the point of spending so much money on a convertible if it’s going to hit your ass every day?
True, the LC 500 is something to see inside and when you enter it. So many unique touches throughout, from the pop-up handles to the “waves” on the inside of the door to the Lexus “L” badges on the headrests and adorned with a leather steering wheel. This is a slice above anything else that Lexus does; everything feels truly silenced inside, not what one would expect from a mass market manufacturer who has made his bones on the distribution of parts and platforms. The boys on the 7th day often noticed how much skin was inside this car. And all this is compensated by delicious pure aluminum and high-quality plastic.
Nice inside, simply put. One of the nicest interiors that you can get right now, at any cost.
Although trade-offs are endemic to many Lexus models now. Expect a lot of ergonomic quirks, especially for the entertainment system. First of all, at first I couldn’t even find a switch to lower the top – it’s buried in a leather panel under the trackpad, which folds when you need it. I think it was good after I realized it.
What I’ve had more trouble figuring out is the Lexus trackpad system, which I always hate and continue to hate here. The car deviates from the touch screen for an inaccurate mousetrap and cursor system, which is incredibly frustrating when you’re parked and downright dangerous when you’re trying to control very basic functions while driving. I’ve found that I just use my phone for navigation features, and that’s not what I have to do on a six-digit luxury car in 2020.
Slide your finger across the trackpad to move the cursor on the screen to pre-set the menu in the interface, and then click when you find what you want. That’s the idea, at least. I was constantly having trouble getting the cursor to the menu I wanted, following my finger commands correctly, and staying where I wanted to say it. It is cumbersome to use for basic functions, such as working with navigation addresses or adjusting car settings. Automakers need to stop trying to rethink the tablet and smartphones that everyone in the world is used to.
Lexus is finally moving away from this system and returning to touch screens. They must have realized how annoying the old installations are. Good move, but not enough to keep the interface on the LC 500, I’m afraid.
Another minor disappointment was the automatic gear selection scheme, which feels aped by the Prius because that’s what you want in your fancy, expensive grand trip. You press it left and up or down to reverse and then down again for manual shift mode. In practice, using it more awkwardly than this sentence seems to slow down your attempts at fast three-point turns more than you would like.
After all, I think about it. On the one hand, if you are lucky enough to consider ownership of the LC 500 Convertible in this economy, you need to think long and hard about whether you can live with this trackpad and infotainment system on a day-to-day basis. On the other hand, it was almost certainly destined to be someone’s second (or third, or fourth) car, a cruiser for weekends and evenings, a road train – not their daily driver.
If so, you may be ready to ignore the technological problems of LCD and just accept its many other good qualities. It has at least Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Then again the price was better.
The LC 500 convertible starts at $ 101,000. My tester had $ 10,000 on options, including the $ 2,990 Touring Package, which boasted even better leather front seats, Mark Levinson’s 13-dynamic sound system, a top-heated “climate concierge” and others. Siri Eyes Free, main display, adaptive dampers, limited slip Torsen and automatic near traffic lights rounded out the list of specifications. Yes, it is expensive. Yes, you feel like you are getting a lot.
Problems with the infotainment system aside, the LC 500 is the winner in my book. In many ways, we find ourselves in the most boring car landscape in history. Cars are faster, safer, cleaner and more efficient than ever, but so many of them are expensive pickups or crossovers that all look and feel the same. So many really interesting cars have been deleted so that carmakers can focus on profits and the inevitable transition to electricity.
The LC 500, especially in convertible form, is awesome. It’s different. It’s also comfortable, powerful and so impressive that people can’t take their eyes off it. This is not at all what you expected from Toyota or its luxury division, and not something you can often see even on the road. I’m just glad this thing exists, period, but I also really enjoyed being behind the wheel. For the few shoppers who stay on grand trips who really want to stand out, this is a solid way to do it.
A bunch of tuned RX-7 drivers think it’s cool. What else do you want?