2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible
Miles driven: 68
Fuel used: 4.4 gallons
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||C+|
|Power and Performance||A-|
|Fit and Finish||A|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||471-hp 5.0-liter|
Real-world fuel economy: 15.5 mpg
Driving mix: 40% city, 60% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 15/25/18 (city, highway, combined)
Fuel type: Premium gas recommended
Base price: $101,000 (not including $1025 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: 21-inch forged wheels ($2650), head-up display ($1100), limited-slip differential ($460), Touring Package ($5290)
Price as tested: $111,325
The great: Dramatic, exotic-car styling; beautifully trimmed cabin; robust acceleration
The good: Quick-operating convertible top; throaty exhaust note
The not so good: Steep pricing; rear visibility; some finicky controls
Maybe you’re wondering what’s new with the Lexus LC 500 these days. Well, how about a convertible?
Lexus gives its V8-powered high-style grand touring coupe an open-air companion for 2021. Priced at $102,025 (with delivery) to start—an $8050 premium over the LC 500 coupe—it essentially replicates the closed car’s luxury and driving experience with a breezier ambience.
If you like the looks of the LC coupe—and we at Consumer Guide generally do—then you’ll probably go for the convertible as well. Both have the same muscular front fenders, flaring haunches, and dramatic “T-bone” taillight bezels. In place of the severely sloped fixed roof that compromises over-the-shoulder driver vision is a fabric top that has a more-close-coupled notchback profile when raised—and even less of a view. (Looking out the rear window is a little like being the neighborhood busybody peeping through venetian blinds to keep tabs on everybody’s business.) At least that top, which stows under a power-operated deck panel, does its thing in a hurry—it can be raised in 16 seconds at speeds of up to 31 mph.
The convertible clocks in at approximately 200 pounds heavier than the coupe, and with a slight change in weight distribution. In an effort to make the convertible’s driving behavior as close to the coupe’s dynamics as possible, Lexus engineers added structural bracing to preserve chassis rigidity lost with the removal of the steel top. The result is commendably effective, with just minimal flutter felt through the body over medium to large bumps.
Any LC rides on a fully independent “Adaptive Variable Suspension” with double-joint multi-link control arms and alloy wheels of at least 20 inches in diameter (CG’s test car had optional 21s) wrapped in staggered-width run-flat performance tires. Ride is always firm, yet not punishing, particularly in the “Comfort” drive mode, but no one will be beaten up over long distances by the “Sport” and “Sport S+” modes with damping that’s even more buttoned down. If the steering lacks actual sports-car reflexes it’s still quite responsive, and there’s fine control of cornering lean. A Torsen limited-slip differential can be ordered to assist traction in the rear-drive-only LC. Meaty 4-wheel disc brakes provide effective and predictable stopping power.
With its extra bulk, the convertible likely won’t match the coupe’s 4.4-second (per Lexus) 0-60-mph time, but the smooth 5.0-liter V8 of 471 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque is swift away from a stop and able to eat up highway miles without a sweat. Twist into Sport S+ via the dial projecting out the right side of the instrument cluster and throttle response gets more aggressive while shifts from the 10-speed automatic transmission are delayed to let power build—and announce itself through a sportier full-throated exhaust blare. The trans is capable of quick kickdown in highway passing and merging.
EPA fuel-economy estimates for the LC convertible—15 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, 18 mpg combined—are a little shy of the coupe’s ratings, which are 1 mpg higher in city and combined use. In an uncommonly brief stint with the car, we averaged 15.5 mpg from 68 test miles, 40 percent of which came in city-type operation.
The ’21 LC family (which also includes the hybrid 500h coupe) gains Android Auto smartphone compatibility to go with the existing Apple CarPlay functionality and Amazon Alexa integration. Other standard technology features of note are Lexus Enform telematics (including a smartphone app for remote-control capability), Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth connectivity, Lexus Safety System + suite (forward-collision and pedestrian detection, radar cruise control, automatic high-beam headlamps, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist with steering assist), blind-spot monitoring, and front and rear parking sensors. The convertible comes with active roll bars that are poised to deploy should sensors detect a rollover.
There’s plenty of luxury and convenience built in to the LC 500 convertible, and more can be added through options. Standard equipment includes keyless entry and starting, heated and ventilated 10-way-adjustable leather front seats, leather-wrapped power tilt/telescoping steering wheel with magnesium paddle shifters, aluminum pedal trim and door scuff plates, automatic dual-zone climate system, interior-air filter, 12-speaker audio system, HD and satellite radio, navigation, heated electrochromic memory mirrors, and puddle lamps. CG’s $111,325 test car added things like a head-up display and the Touring Package with a heated steering wheel, semi-aniline leather front seats, embossed headrests, “Climate Concierge” with upper-body heating (handy for top-down driving when there’s a nip in the air), and Mark Levinson 13-speaker surround-sound audio system.
Front seats are comfortable with fine support. Legroom is generous, but top-up headroom is limited. Technically it is a 4-passenger car. There are seatbelts in back—just no legroom. Soft, padded surfaces cover the doors and console sides. Virtual gauges are configurable—the large speedometer display switches to a tachometer in the Sport modes—and include a g-force meter. Infotainment functions appear on a 10.3-inch screen, but they are operated via remote controls on the console, a pad for pinch, swipe, or “written” capability. In our experience, the pad can be too sensitive for accuracy while moving, and it diverts driver attention from where it ought to be. The bank of climate controls uses repetitive-press switches for all functions. The power-top switch is hidden under a door in the console.
The glove box and door pockets are small. A small net pouch rests on the passenger side of the floor tunnel. Two covered cup holders fit where they can in the console; one is hidden under the adjustable armrest that is also the lid of the modest console box. Lexus picked a fabric top over a retractable hard top to save weight and preserve trunk space, but it’s still mighty stingy: just 3.4 cubic feet, compared to 5.4 cubic feet in the LC 500 coupe. All LCs load from above through a hatchlike lid, and fixed rear seat backs don’t permit any direct expansion of cargo capacity.
What’s new with the Lexus LC 500? Now you know.
2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible Gallery
2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible