Lexus doesn’t have to reinvent its lineup every year to prove a point to buyers or the industry. Seemingly with that notion benchmarked, the 2020 Lexus LC 500h arrives as a near-replica of the previous year’s model.
What few tweaks the 2020 model offers are on the interior, and we are talking very subtle tweaks: A fuel gauge light and a reverse tone that flips from intermittent to single. Apart from these, a new exterior color, Flare Yellow – which our tester came in – and newly standard safety tech, blind-spot monitoring, are what differentiates the 2020 from the 2019 model.
Lexus didn’t just leave its super-fans high and dry. A limited-edition model called LC Inspiration Series, painted in the exclusive Nori Green exterior, was introduced; its production run was capped to 100 cars. If you’re unable to get your hands on one of these, don’t worry – a convertible LC 500h is slated for later this year, so you’ll have more options to choose from.
Let’s take a look at what this year’s model has to offer in the meantime.
The language of luxury-meet-sports-performance is fluently spoken at Lexus. The LC is grandiose but refined, boasting its definitive spindle grille with pride. After spending an awful amount of time gazing at it, we made our way to the rest of its exterior. Polish and exquisite detail are the hallmarks through-and-through, from shapes of the windows to headlights and taillights.
The inside’s quite well put-together, with practical luxury at every touch. The dashboard, unsurprisingly for a sport coupe, is situated low and anchored by a screen that’s accessible through a touchpad on the center console. It’s a bit of a clumsy arrangement, but hey, it’s well-integrated.
On the upholstery side, softer leather and premium features are available as extras. In fact, all of the extras are desirable: 21-inch forged wheels ($1,440), head up display ($900), a Mark Levinson 13-speaker premium surround sound audio system ($1,220), intuitive parking assist ($500), premium paint ($595), and a Sport Package with glass roof, 8-way power front seats with Alcantara inserts ($1,400).
The trade-off with a luxury sports coupe like this Lexus is inevitably fuel efficiency. The 500h, which weighs as much as a SUV, improves on its gas-only sibling significantly. The EPA numbers are 27 mpg city, 35 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg combined.
Power and luxury are expressed supremely well in the LC 500h in no small part to its 354-hp gas-electric drivetrain. This powerhouse blends a 3.5-liter V-6 with a pair of electric motors powered by a 1.1-kWh lithium-ion battery. Power’s distributed to the wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that performs like a 10-speed automatic.
Considering that our tester sat on 21-inch wheels, there was very little body roll and the car handled very deftly, with the steering about as commanding and sharp as we’ve experienced in any Toyota-made car. Our performance package also heightened our senses, with a variable-steering and adaptive rear-wheel-steering systems that optimize the performance. The LC 500h gets to 60 mph from zero in 4.7 seconds, a .3 second lag compared to the LC 500.
And speaking of performance, it’s not fun without drive modes. These are a button away and produce a stiffer or more relaxed powertrain to cater to the driver’s proclivity. There’s also a customizable mode.
The 2020 Lexus LC 500h carries an MSRP of $97,460, although equipped with the options that our tester came in, the price is $104,540.
For Lexus to abbreviate Luxury Coupe in the car’s title, it’s a no-brainer about where on the luxury performance spectrum Lexus checks in. Amongst a competitive segment, the 500h fares well thanks more to its looks than its brawn.
Other entrants in the segment are Mercedes-Benz SL, which is agile and sporty but has a simpleton look as a convertible. The BMW 8-Series is a refined machine with an exorbitant price. Down the line of rivals, the Jaguar F-Type could be the bargain of the bunch, while the Porsche 911 is the torchbearer that can’t be denied. Also, on the periphery of conversation is the Nissan GT-R, which makes a valiant attempt at blending luxury and performance.
Photo Credit: Copyright 2020 Victor Mosqueda / Car Fanatics Blog