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It’s preposterous, wildly excessive, unaffordable, somewhat overt, impractical, and it just says to the boss’s secretary: Get in, lube up, Palazzo Versace. That’s just the top five reasons why I love the LC500.

These strut towers are works of art. Hand carved by Takumi ninjas from unobtainium alloy. When I take over the world and move into Dr Evil’s office – I’m going to have a stack of these just to the left of the big trapdoor over the shark tank. [LOOKS AT ENGINE] And the 5.0-litre V8’s not bad either…

So – if you ever get the chance to test drive the LC – head for a tunnel, crank down the windows and give it a real squirt. It’s just brilliant. There are three drive modes – dominatrix, De Sade and Gitmo. Do it in ‘Gitmo’ – for the full aural rush.

Lexus actually calls those modes ‘comfort’ (counterintuitively) ‘Sport’ and ‘Sport+’. I’m sure they had a meeting about that.

To me, this is how a Mustang or a Camaro would feel if Ford and GM allowed its engineers to build them properly. This car feels rock-solid – and I’m quietly confident it’s going to feel that way in 100,000 kays, too. Squeaks and rattles would be such a big ‘no-no’ at strut-tower carving ninja head office back in Motomachi…

Of course, let us not forget the LC500 is twice the price of the Aussie-converted right-hand drive Camaro 2SS, and three times the price of a Mustang GT – so there’s that to consider. They are emphatically not direct financial competitors…

…but they are all members of a threatened species (the rear-drive atmo-V8 club). I know it’s heresy: Using the word ‘Lexus’ in the same breath as ‘Mustang’ or ‘Camaro’. I know the Lexus badge doesn’t have the tyre-shredding pedigree, but there’s no arguing this is built better…

… in fact, I’ll have a proper engineering assessment (meaning a ‘beer-garden physics’ assessment) of one aspect of that a little later in this report. [GoPro 7] And the drive is … it’s a precision, high-performance device. So, in that context it’s a luxury 2+2. But it’s not luxurious like an LS.

It’s harsh, on the spectrum of luxury, and in Sport+ it’s ever so slightly ‘yes, drill sergeant’. The primary driving ergonomics are terrific for a performance car. Really nice wheel, you’ve got great lateral restraint, so you don’t have to expend all that much effort keeping your delicate three-axis accelerometer oriented upright during heavy cornering – and that’s always nice.

This car is built on the GA-L platform. It stands for ‘Global Architecture – Luxury’. Lexus says it has the highest torsional stiffness of any Lexus ever made.

It certainly feels that way, too. Unlike a muscle car, this thing wants to turn – it’s gagging for it. And it’s glued to the road. Near perfect weight distribution (54:46). That’s something of an achievement for a front-engine car with a V8. Low polar moment of inertia too. It really wants to change direction. Admittedly this car has the $15,000 handling enhancement package with the carbon roof, four-wheel steering and variable ratio steering.

The 10-speed auto – also brilliant. Perfectly integrated with the engine. Knows exactly when to shift, using what Lexus says is kooky AI logic …

…which is not really the same thing as ‘paperclip maximiser’ AI, thankfully (you might have to look that up)…

…but it’s pretty good at picking what gear to be in, whenever. And the spacing between every gear and those adjacent is equal – and you hardly ever see that.

The paradox of cars like this (and don’t get me wrong; I do love it. It’s impossible not to) but the paradox is: If you own a car like this the chances are you can never even get close to the limit (unless of course you crash). It’s safe to assume you’re pretty close to the limit if you manage that…

Two reasons, right: One (obviously) – its limits are insanely high, meaning insanely higher than the driving ability of most people who ever own cars like this.

So you might be driving fast for you – but the car’s thinking ‘yawn – six out of 10, again’. And, reason two – driving near the limit of a car like this on a public road is unsafe, antisocial and a great way to put your licence in the shredder. And this is a pretty expensive (albeit enjoyable and aurally exciting) way to shred one’s licence.


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32 thoughts on “2019 Lexus LC 500 review and road test | Auto Expert John Cadogan”

  • Funny i thought it was a Higgins wondering if had time to catch Shoprite before closing time…..and pick up some breakfast kippers …will need to push on a bit get the "Ben" on the steam racket .

  • Concerned Citizen says:

    What a smart audience in the comments! I have a question for everyone. After this science lesson, wouldn’t a vintage Datsun 510 be the best car ever made?

  • Thankyou John for thrusting a red gagging piece of torsional stiffness with great throbbingness into our eroticly engined world. Big giggle and informative mate.

  • Great except no one is buying the LC! It’s sales numbers are terrible. The depreciation is huge. It’s another example of Lexus failing to make a sports car.

  • Andrew Bristow says:

    John, after seeing this review, and other vids of your channel, I really really really would love to see you review an Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio. (19.96 BS units – I know turbo doesn’t compare with atmo, but still 375kw from 2.9L is astounding). How ‘bout it??? Love to see how the LC 500 compares with the significantly cheaper and more practical Alfa….

  • John, I would like to see you do a report on how much electricity production would have to increase to electrify the entire automotive fleet. I suspect it's entirely unfeasible or, at the very least, would take decades to achieve. Perhaps some numbers for Australia, Europe and North America would be in order.

  • The difference between an average joe a pro driver both Camerys would be a lot more than you suggest, how you take corners make such a big difference. I think the point your missing with a car like this LC is control and braking. The grip level is so much higher than a normal car. In normal driving situations when things get a little crazy its a lot easier to keep the car under control, like being able to swerve around an obstacle and not loose control. Then the brakes, the stopping distance is much shorter than the average car. This can and will get you out of trouble. On both points picked this up from experience. I have done track days and seen what good drivers can do with very modest cars. For the second first hand driving personal cars with similar performance as the lc albeit less hp but slightly more lateral grip and shorter braking than it by a little bit. In the end you get left with why aren't all cars this good, I had no idea before driving them.

  • Gary LeLacheur says:

    The Palazzo Versace? AHHH you got me all excited with that french accent. I immediately thought you were referencing the cult video C'etait un Rendezvous in which a crazy Ferrari driver races across Paris in the dawn light to rendezvous with a bird at a lookout. Now I find that the Palazzo Versace is some poxy flee ridden dive in, as you said, Sodom and Gomorrah.
    The film is by Claude Lelouch. The publisher is Spirit Level film. Do you know it? You're the right vintage.
    I used Google Earth to follow the route and record the streets of Paris driven down.
    The engine noise of the Ferrari is awesome.

  • John: This Lexus looks like its crying, probably the price, that reminds me I need to get my prostate checked very important even to think I could win the Lotto.

  • Had the privilege to review one of these myself, stunning machine but its not as hard edged as you'd think, Lexus struck a well balanced compromise to make it an athletic grand tourer rather than a raring to go track monster.

  • What kind of car reviews if I didn't expect a physics lesson John sort it out mate get back to the car in its features more camera angles tell us the switches etc a bit like Brian Cooley of seen it sorry have to switch this one off still love your channel.

  • Exhaust Sports Auto says:

    Really enjoy your reviews and your real world perspectives with a unique humor added on top. The LC is one of my all time favorite cars, even with the C8 Corvette out

  • Congrats man, this is the type of review that puts you above the rest. It has your humor, a very very cool car,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and I even learned something.

  • Sir Ian Treloar says:

    So that left me with the conclusion that what I want is the greater ability of the Lexus that leads to the larger blue circle, but still want the multiple fuzzy warnings that I am approaching the crossing of the line.

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