2018 Lexus LC500h Makes You Truly Rethink Luxury Hybrids

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LC500h Lexus

We take the LC500h on a journey to find out just how good it is as a GT car, and whether you lose out on any fun compared to the V8.

Technology comes in a few different forms. There’s some tech that allows you to perform a particular task with lower effort, and the other form of tech that simply allows you to do more in a shorter amount of time. For the LC500h, that technology comes in the form of reduced work, as found out by a week-long stint with Lexus’ most attention-getting super coupe.

Some might think that the LC500h is the lesser version of the LC series, owing to that wonderful V8 in the naturally aspirated version, however, this is a car which owns and wears its identity well: it’s unashamedly a long-distance GT car with which, you are eager to spend time.

LC500h Lexus

Driving modes seem almost counter intuitive for a car like this, but respectfully adjust a bit of feel and response. Most of the time though, you’ll be spending time in the “ECO” mode which allows the suspension to smooth out road imperfections, but also allow more use of the car’s EV capabilities. We’ll speak more on that later, but the car’s other modes don’t turn this car into one that punishes you. In fact, the Lexus variable suspension doesn’t change to a ridiculously hard ride at all, making “sport+” enjoyable to use.

Driving in a spirited way exposes interesting points about the LC500h. Acceleration is acceptable, and the engine note is simply a note, rather than mechanical music. One surprising part comes from the brakes. Six-piston calipers clamp down on enormous 15.7 inch rotors up front, with four piston calipers acting on 14.1 inch rotors out back. Combined with regenerative braking technology, braking becomes an instant joy, with reliable stop after stop. There simply is no fade, in fact the only thing marring the deceleration portion is that some downshifts seem delayed by the unusually tall gearing, especially as some gears are simulated.

LC500h Lexus

So, what about the competition? Most of the German offerings would be more expensive, and some GT cars from England and Italy have a price tag significantly higher. Mercedes for example goes ultra-luxury with the SL, and sporty with the line of AMG GT series. BMW’s coming 8-series might end up being a closer competitor, however.

 

It’s fun to watch the needle dance between 0 and 1,000 RPM on the highway, especially while getting well over 30 mpg. In fact, 33.4 combined over a several-hundred-mile journey.

 

You can only imagine that the BMW 8-series and any of the GT cars from Mercedes would be overloaded with technology for handling and ride control. But the fact is, in a GT car you don’t need 400 different settings for your suspension. In the LC, eco mode makes things comfortable, and in Sport+, it makes them responsive. Engineers took the guesswork out of it and simply made it good and competent in those regards.

2018 Lexus LC500h Makes You Truly Rethink Luxury Hybrids continued…

Patrick Morgan is an instructor at Chicago's Autobahn Country Club and contributes to a number of Auto sites, including MB World and 6SpeedOnline.

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