This is the LC500, a naturally aspirated 5-litre V8 GT. It’s rear wheel driven, takes 4 adults, and comes from a maker that originally set out to crush cars like the S Class or 7 Series. Calfskin, floaty suspension and 22-way electric seating are still Lexus hallmarks, but so is their willingness to take big gambles on high-power, high-tech cars. Remember the LFA supercar? Lexus Toyota screwed together 20 hand-built units per month for two years and sold each at a loss just to prove they could take on the best Italians.
This partially related sibling is nowhere near as hardcore, preferring to be a remarkable compromise between touring luxury and sporty motoring. Good for 471 horsepowers and 540 Nm at 4,800 rpm, the LC500 will push you all the way to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds, give or take road conditions and your waist size.
Concepts were displayed in 2012, and the encouraging news is Toyota leaving design promises pretty much as is. Plus Akio Toyoda was personally involved in fine-tuning driving dynamics. With retracting door handles for improved aero and an active spoiler at 80 km/h, this eye-catching auto is yours for the princely sum of RM 940,000 on the road, without insurance.
Early reports say it’s a hoot on flowing roads, thanks to Sport+ mode and rear wheel steering, which must go a long way in managing its 1,935 kg kerb weight. And for the little boy in all big boys, Lexus have inserted a resonance tube to generate engine noise ahead of the driver, while the active exhaust system uses valves to vary tenor.
The interior looks and feels proper sports car, with low seats and critical instruments wrapping round the driver. Stills, it’s festooned with buttons, especially on the steering wheel. Build quality is Lexus solid, and everyone gushes at the moving, virtual, binnacle.
This is a good looking car, and I can very objectively say it looks like nothing else on the road. While buyers will gripe about boot space and rear seating, especially against an M6, the LC500 is still a seductive option. Watch out for a test drive in the coming months.