Lexus LC 500 Named a Best Driver’s Car. Motor Trend recently released its list of Best Driver’s Cars and named the Lexus LC 500 to its lists. When the model debuted at the Detroit Auto Show we originally reported, “The V8 will most likely carry over unchanged, but Lexus is expected to use a 10-speed Aisin gearbox, which would be a first for a production car. The hybrid, meanwhile, should be a significant performance upgrade over the GS 450h, making a combined output of more than 450 horsepower. If that’s not enough power for you, Lexus has also apparently hinted that an F-version is coming. It’s rumored to be powered by a 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 making around 600 horsepower.” Check out what the experts have to say below:
“Despite the isolation, it’s surprisingly fast and very difficult to upset with Trac/VSC off (when on, it’s maddening). It does have the most understeer of any of the vehicles on 198, but like a good BMW, at least the understeer is clear and distinct. Lexus hasn’t tried to mask it with weird EPS or rear steer inputs.” – Ed Loh
“Most shocking. I was expecting nothing. In fact, I argued against even bringing the LC 500 along because it’s just so big and heavy. I was wrong. Folks, we have an athlete on our hands. It’s a bit heavy, sure, but the fundamentals are all there. Gorgeous sounds from the V-8, a gearbox that loves shifting, reflexes that hide the size, and fairly stout brakes. Great body control, too. Not a car you’d think you can push, but— surprise!—you totally can. Amazing job, Lexus.” – Jonny Lieberman
“How can this car have 10 gears and never ever be in the right one? There were at least a dozen rejected requests for a downshift, so I had to learn to slow the car on the brakes before requesting a downshift. On the way up it was fourth gear almost all the time, which doesn’t give it any snap. The soundtrack is good, but the response is not there. I’m not a fan of the rear-steer. There were several corners where I didn’t know where the steering was going to point me. The brakes were fine, except not a lot of feel through the pedal, similarly not a lot of feel through the steering with a tendency for understeer that just doesn’t say sports car but grand tourer.” – Chris Walton
“The exhaust notes on the LC are intoxicating and so unexpected coming out of a Lexus that you check the rear mirror to make sure that a race car is not coming up behind you. The engine sound builds; you hear it ratchet up with each gearshift with an almost unnatural precision. But the highlight is the amazing downshift burbles. I am a sucker for a downshift burble. It makes me go weak in the knees.
It doesn’t carry the speed as well, and I found myself gripping the steering wheel and trying to muscle it while also braking more than I should entering the corners, which contributed to a disjointed drive—ironic coming from Lexus, the king of the smooth ride.” – Alisa Priddle
“Part of the driving experience is tailoring all the vehicle settings to your liking. Whoever designed the infotainment system should be stripped naked, covered in honey, and tied to the top of an anthill. Everything is buried under layers of menus, and the only way to access it is by using a hilariously inaccurate touchpad. It took me five minutes to figure out the seat coolers on the first day, and it stayed on throughout the week of testing because it was too much of an effort to turn it back off. Good luck changing channels on the satellite radio.” – Derek Powell
“Mostly I was waiting on understeer. Then by the time I could finally get to some power it was much nicer. I like the steering, I thought it was really accurate, reasonably quick, and I thought it was a fun car on track except for that entry understeer. It was like this one characteristic that just doesn’t fit right. Go into the corner, and it was just, ‘Ah! I want to go that way.’ Then, on power, it’s beautiful, and it was a really fun car to drift on my cooldown. Even though it doesn’t want to turn under hot-lap driving, it’s really easy to drift it if you’re not.
“It was beautiful, smooth car accelerating, and you hear that engine note and go ‘Wow, where is that coming from?’ I look around to see who’s coming by, and I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s me.’ I just love that.
“Even in Sport+ mode, it’s still a little soft on the racetrack. Damping is pretty soft. I actually think the spring bars are in a really good place, and I kept pushing Lexus on that, too. I consulted on that car three and a half times, and every time I told them it’s too soft, too soft, too soft.
“The brakes are very reactive—you get a lot. So they don’t need an aggressive application. Don’t be stabby. I did once, and it just wouldn’t stop. It wasn’t making the brake gs that I knew it was capable of. So from then on I would just, you know, apply the pedal gently, and then it stopped great. Stopped really well for a street tire.”