If you want to talk about a scene-stealing sports car look no further than the 2018 Lexus LC 500 and its sibling the 500h. The automaker’s new flagship performance coupe fits the bill.
The LC 500 is rooted in the LF-LC concept car shown in Detroit in 2012. It comes as a gas and as the 500h hybrid version — the latter being the one that took home the Texas Performance Coupe award at month’s Texas Auto Roundup.
The LC 500 is based on Lexus’ all-new front-engine, rear-drive platform. Wide and low to the ground, its extra-long hood and “Polaris Ellipsoid System” (PES) 3-projector headlights immediately get your attention. In fact, this may be the one Lexus where the front end isn’t dominated by the massive spindle grille Lexus has become so fond of in its recent redesigns.
But the back-end is where things really get interesting. You just don’t see taillights like these. They have an internal reflector that creates glow and depth.
The LC 500h is also the first to benefit from Lexus’ new Multi-Stage Hybrid system. It includes a CVT that incorporates two electric motors and adds a conventional four-speed automatic transmission to the mix. Car and Driver compares it to the similar Hybrid Synergy Drive in a Prius.
The LC 500h is also the first Lexus hybrid to use compact, lightweight lithium-ion batteries so it can operate in EV mode at speeds of up to 87 mph. But don’t expect a lot of trunk space because the battery pack fits between the rear seats and the trunk.
In terms of speed, the hybrid isn’t as powerful as its sibling. The LC 500h, powered by 3.5-liter, V6 full hybrid powertrain, delivers a total system output of 354-horsepower, which is significantly less than the gas version’s 471 ponies. A big reason for this is that the 4,435-pound LC 500h weighs slightly more than the standard LC 500.
The LC 500h and its non-hybrid sibling arrive in dealers this month. The 500h starts from $97,505 including destination. The company’s said it hopes to sell 400 LC 500s a month, with 15 to 20 percent of those being the hybrid.