Car buyers can be particular and manufacturers are willing to oblige. With various trims and optional equipment, some vehicles are available in several-dozen configurations and with widely varying prices. Lexus knows the game as well as any carmaker, which is why it offers the 2020 LC 500h.
It’s uniquely positioned in the marketplace as a large luxury coupe with sports car tendencies and impressive hybrid fuel efficiency.
Unlike its gas-only sibling, the hybrid trim features a 3.5-liter V6 engine and two electric motors. It’s called the Lexus Multi Hybrid system, combines 354 horsepower and is matched with a unique transmission. It’s a four-speed automatic transmission enclosed within a continuously variable transmission and it works like a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Lexus keeps trim options simple — there’s one. But available option packages as well as 21-inch wheels, upgraded leather seating and a top-line Mark Levinson surround-sound auto system with 13 speakers are custom choices. The latter is like listening to a mobile symphony of choice.
If the stereo isn’t blaring, the LC 500h is audibly quiet. Steering is tight at all speeds and with its large wheels, the coupe negotiates the open road or twisty terrain with equal savvy. It advances like it wants more, a spirited machine ready to challenge whatever the circumstances.
Like many carmakers, Lexus stretches the boundaries of its seating capacity specifications. The 2020 LC 500h, the third year of the coupe’s debut generation, is listed as a four-seater. But the back seats are scrunched because of the location of the battery pack. The space is only satisfactory for children or munchkins. If a driver is tall or just prefers an extended driving position, the corresponding rear seat is useless.
The tight interior space is further limiting. The rear seats don’t fold and the trunk is small. Rear storage is only five cubic feet and adequate only for a few grocery bags or two small, soft-sided carry-on bags. Storage bins are an afterthought, but the center console design is clever. Adjust the lid and a second cupholder appears.
With its launching price of $97,460, the luxury beast has plenty to show for itself. The standard features list includes ambient interior lighting to an adjustable suspension and heat auto-dimming side mirrors to ventilated front seats. The leather upholstery is top-notch and complements the overall modern interior design.
A crisp 10.3-inch central display for the navigation system highlights strong technology and safety offerings. Automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams and blind-spot monitoring are standard. Apply CarPlay, Amazon Alexa and in-car Wi-Fi are also included.
Lexus stand-alone options and upgrade packages aren’t bargains. Twenty-one-inch tires add $1,440. The sport package (glass roof, eight-way power front seats, and Alcantara inserts) adds $1,400. The previously mentioned superior sound system is $1,220. Mix in the head-up display ($900) and a few other odds and ends and taxes and the prideful coupe reaches $104,540.
Is it worth it? The LC 500h is head-turning handsome, particularly with Flare Yellow as an exterior paint choice. Craftsmanship and material quality are superior. The coupe is sufficiently fast, completing the 0-60 miles per hour standard in 4.7 seconds. Gas mileage estimates 27 miles per gallon in city driving, 35 mpg on the freeway.
The bold exterior is all sharp angles — unique teardrop-shaped front headlights to equally unusually designed taillights. The chassis is a low rider, with care needed not scrape the front end on even the slightest bumps. Overall, the LC 500h stylish enough to turn heads, which it does.
It’s also a six-figure car. The price point is steep enough to prompt a long pause, except for select buyers who know exactly what they want. For those purchasers, the 2020 Lexus LC 500h is a bargain. And who’s to argue?