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When you look at a car like the Lexus LC 500, reposing at a dignified idle, you will likely be overcome by a confusing array of emotions. One thing you know for sure is that they are positive, assuredly so because of the curvaceous metal staring back at you.
Lexus has conceived the LC Convertible solely with a V8. The coupe can be had as a hybrid in other markets but a combination of the roof mechanism and battery pack would make a convertible too heavy. No loss. In fact on paper, this alfresco LC has all the right ingredients to be a proper grand tourer. Naturally aspirated, V8, rear-wheel drive. Tick, tick, tick.
In terms of what else you can get for the money, the traffic is thin up here – the S-Class Cabriolet and the BMW 8 Series Convertible are perhaps the closest competition, while slightly further up lies the Bentley Continental GT Convertible. With such names in the mix, a half measure is not going to stand out. And yes, the Lexus feels…different. In a good way.
Read on to find out why.
When a V8 sounds this good but doesn’t quite have the blatant performance behind it, you would think that the prevailing sense would be disappointment. You would be wrong. The LC Convertible sends no mixed signals, everything about it tells you that you should be enjoying the drive instead of hammering it for best results.
For example, when you arrive at a curve, you are highly encouraged to flow through it rather than attack the apex. Leave that to the performance GT ruffians. The steering is perfectly weighted for gentle cornering, and the more you adhere to this the more you will be rewarded. And even on the 21-inch rims specced here, art in themselves, the ride quality is impressive.
Drop the top, and let the V8 sing to you. You simply cannot enjoy this if you’re going full white knuckle. 0-100km/h is achieved in 4.9 seconds, and if this is an unacceptable figure, choose the coupe instead. It gets there in 4.4. Don’t bother trying to flick your way through the 10 gears trying to speed things up, the big LC knows what it’s doing and will shift appropriately.
This Lexus is not to be hurried, but it’s good enough that you don’t have to vacate a lane for most anyone. It may be the current flagship and most expensive model in the lineup, but that does not mean it has to be the fastest too.
In hot and humid Malaysia, an opportunity to drop the top is not a regular occurrence. The spirit is eager, but the weather is indifferent to your desires.
You find yourself wishing for clear skies to open it up and let the world waft by, while Lexus tech trickery keeps the 13-speaker system banging and the climate control effective.
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With regards to the cabin, the black of the interior trim simply does not do it justice. There are curves here that would endlessly please the eye as does the rich leather to the touch, but they are swallowed up in such a dark tone. Choose the Ochre or Red instead.
As for the exterior palette, let me be clear about this: you are going to be seen in a Lexus LC. Double takes will be your life on the road. So don’t bother blending in. This shade of Naples Yellow puts the Sun to shame, and Lexus has other primary colours on offer as well.
An innocuous-looking palm rest hides the controls to open the LC to the world, which can be done at up to 50km/h and takes about 15 seconds. Or the gap between the Penchala toll and the tunnel, to hear that V8 reverberating around you.
When you do want to appreciate the tunes coming from the Mark Levinson setup instead, the LC Convertible offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to stream through your favourite tunes. This writer recommends Yanni’s entire set from the Acropolis, digitally remastered of course.
The LC 500, as a coupe or as a convertible, is special. The twins, particularly the Convertible, should not be compared directly to another car, but the feeling you get cruising in a 50-foot yacht. That’s just the drive. What getting one says about you is that you have the ability and discernment to buck the trend, aggressively. For some people, this is just as important.
The unfortunate truth is that we are not going to be able to enjoy cars like this much longer. A V8 luxo-cruiser is rarely if ever present in anyone’s idea of the automotive landscape of the future. Once performance cars started going electric, the days of cars like these were numbered.
If these truths are beginning to upset you, even with all the gorgeous metal of the LC on view here, then you know this is your car. Get this as a third set of wheels, or fourth or fifth. The one you take out when the Sun is out and you’re not in a rush to get anywhere in particular. Because there is really nothing like it, and you can’t put a price on that feeling.
The Lexus LC 500 Convertible is available from RM1,350,000 on the road without insurance. Learn more at the official website here.
(Photos and GIFs: Subhash Nair)