The 2022 Lexus LC 500h, now in its seventh year, provides a superior example of one vehicle with complementary multiple personalities. The mesh of traits results in a car greater than its individual strengths combined.
A hybrid-electric coupe, the LC 500h features two electric motors with a 3.5-liter V6 producing 354 horsepower and a manufacturer-estimated 4.7-second effort from 0 to 60 miles per hour. It’s propelled with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The top speed is 155 miles per hour.
Combine the vehicle’s sports-car performance with its sculpted-like exterior and a top-line interior design created with equally upscale materials and the LC 500h gets honors. It’s the unheralded luxury car of the year.
The flagship Lexus (gas and hybrid) coupe hasn’t sold particularly well, but its national tally in 2021 (2,782) more than doubled the 2021 total (1,209). The numbers are part one of the few encouraging automotive trends during the current supply chain shortage.
National hybrid sales in 2021 increased 76 percent from 2020, with an end-of-the-year tally of 801,550. It represented five percent of the country’s car sales, the highest percentage to date.
As a luxury coupe, the LC 550h has an extensive list of standard equipment. The review vehicle featured several option packages, all pricey, all worthy, except for the spoiler.
Commonplace standard stuff includes LED headlights, leather-trimmed seats and heated and ventilated front seats. There’s adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and a lane-keeping assist function.
Leather 10-way leather seats with driver’s side memory, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a physically moving bezel, aluminum pedals, satin metallic trim and ambient lighting further embellish the
The navigation system features a 10.3-inch screen and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. There are two USB ports and one 12V outlet; the Mark Levinson 13-speaker, 915-watt sound system is available as a stand-alone option for $1,220.
There are also leather 10-way power seats with driver’s side memory, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an eight-inch digital gauge cluster with a physically moving bezel, aluminum pedals, satin metallic trim and ambient lighting.
Driving the LC 500h satisfies the joys of driving. Turning is tight, maneuverability nimble, ride quiet. Like a traditional sports car, the coupe rides low, with the driver and front seat passenger required to be active participants.
Entering and exiting the vehicle requires at least moderate flexibility. Once on the road, the coupe exudes fun on wheels. Its punchy personality is enhanced by top interior craftsmanship created with liberal use of top-notch Alcantara.
Beyond its driving attributes, the Lexus has head-turning good looks. 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 to scrape the front end on even the slightest bump. Overall, the Lexus LC 500h stylish enough to turn heads, which it constantly does.
The 2022 LC 500h also has a six-figure price tag. The MSRP is just under $100,000. Option packages and stand-alone extras, a fiberglass spoiler to upscale in-your-face rims, push the total to about $115,000.
Buyers of high-end coupes are likely concerned about fuel economy. But as a hybrid, the Lexus fares well, 26 miles per gallon in city driving, 34 mpg on the highway.
Except for a largely non-existent back seat and clumsy technology functionality, there’s little downside to luxury performance coupe. Lack of storage space is a misstep, but how much can be expected from a coupe?
Of course, there’s the same story about the Lexus’ front grille. It’s upside down, right? Never has a front end been any more off-putting. Is there a MadMax movie appearance in the future for Lexus?
Regardless, the top-line Lexus coupe remains in the shadows. Buyers won’t see many of the LC 500h siblings on the road, which is a shame. It’s a driver’s car, handsome and proud.
Article Last Updated: December 12, 2022.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.