In the full spectrum of the automotive market, there aren’t many luxury sport convertibles. However, within the smallish segment, the Lexus LC 500 Convertible tends to hold its own for being a classy grand tourer with a unique design that paves its own path. The Lexus LC convertible tends to stay in its lane instead of attempting to run with the performance kings of the luxury convertible world, and that’s just fine.
Having a second go at the LC 500 Convertible after two years ago when Lexus first brought a convertible version to life, there hasn’t been any notable changes apart from some slight suspension tuning. Otherwise, you still get the solid 5.0-liter V8 engine that emits a delightful harmony followed up by a decent punch in the higher RPM rev range. The 471 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque sent to the rear wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission and Torsen limited-slip differential play nicely to get the LC 500 Convertible up to 60 mph in just under 5 seconds.
Run through the rev range and you’ll welcome the aged but kept-fresh digital gauge cluster, which was inspired by the Lexus LFA supercar, cleverly and temporarily mark your peak RPM. The 10-speed automatic fires off shifts rather snappy, and the sound emitted during each shift titillates your hearing sense, followed up by the pitching and pulsating growl of the V8’s intake manifold. There’s something special about how the LC 500 Convertible sounds, which is enhanced with the top down.
Fold the top down, which can be done in 16 seconds while driving up to 31 mph, and the LC 500 Convertible looks the fitting part of an elegant luxury cruiser worth its price of admission. Leave the top up, and there’s a welcomed sense of serenity where the top is nicely insulated to keep road noises to a minimum. The plush interior exudes an inviting level of luxury with seats that are surprisingly supportive despite how they initially look. You feel as if you sink into the seat, and it molds to your body. Just about every surface that you touch is soft touch, except for the small amount of delicately placed plastic that never feels cheap. In fact, nothing about the LC 500 Convertible feels cheap – it feels as if it will nearly last a lifetime with impeccable fit and finish.
The one downfall of the LC that remains is its infotainment unit, which should receive an update in the next year or two of production to catch up to its stablemates. The current touchpad for controlling the infotainment unit remains clumsy and often frustrating. The limited amount of physical automatic dual-zone climate control buttons are welcomed, but they have their limitations where you have to utilize the touchpad controller to interact with simple functions like the heated and ventilated seats. There is a neat concierge feature that automatically turns those features on depending on temperature, but I find that I want to have control over such features myself.
The ride quality is an excellent balance of sport and luxury with its adaptive dampers. The suspension feels as if it has been retuned to be more compliant and provide added stability at higher speeds versus older model years. To fit the Lexus way, the suspension remains mostly soft even when you select the Sport+ drive mode, which will mostly utilize the lower gears of the transmission. If you want to have more control over the drive mode parameters apart from the six drive modes (Eco, Comfort, Normal, Customize, Sport, and Sport+), there’s a customization drive mode to adjust the powertrain and chassis/suspension’s aggressiveness separately.
Lexus continues to impress with the LC 500 Convertible, even if it’s just the styling alone that captivates an audience instead of it being a thrashing performance vehicle. The price of the Lexus LC 500 Convertible is on par for getting a well-engineered luxury sports drop-top, starting at $101,500. My test vehicle loaded up with a color head-up display, Torsen limited-slip differential, premium paint, carbon fiber scuff plates, and a touring package that adds on 21-inch wheels, semi-aniline leather-trimmed seats, upper body seat heating, heated steering wheel, windshield de-icer, and a 13-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, the price comes to $113,145.