The Lexus LC 500, like every vehicle in the Lexus family, is in a constant state of evolution. Engineers are consistently exploring ways to hone and enhance every detail. Headlining a complete lineup of Lexus sedans with a harmonious blend of emotional design and high performance, the LC coupe receives key refinements in 2021 to further cement the connection between driver and machine.
Key Evolutions for 2021
The 2021 LC 500 coupe is the sharpest, most evolved LC to date, and the story of its evolution is one of both addition and subtraction. What gets subtracted is a reduction of nearly 22 lbs. of unsprung weight, which engineers accomplish with changes highlighted by using aluminum lower suspension arms, lighter suspension stabilizers with a hollow design and revised diameter, new high-strength coil spring material, and lighter 21-inch rear wheels.
Once the unsprung weight was subtracted, engineers went to work updating the LC’s suspension to provide a smoother, softer stroke for enhanced connection to the road and overall feel for the driver. Engineers accomplished this with several key changes. For starters, the electronic absorber controls of the front suspension were adjusted to increase the length of the stroke. This was followed by optimization in the bound stopper rigidity to help create a smoother overall suspension stroke. Rigidity was then increased in the rear stabilizers to enhance front turn-in ability to provide more linear steering input so the driver feels more connected to the road.
To enhance vehicle controls at mid- to high-speed ranges the 2021 LC’s Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) is enhanced with Active Cornering Assist (ACA). This system helps control cornering by providing brake control to the inner wheels in accordance with lateral acceleration when G-force demands are greater during spirited driving.
Transmission, Hybrid System Updates
Logic changes to the 10-speed automatic Direct-Shift transmission on the V8-powered LC 500 help provide enhancement for daily driving in what engineers refer to as the “active zone,” or the area where most drivers find themselves at in the 50-70% throttle range. The Direct-Shift transmission allows the engine RPM to expand in this range to accentuate the feeling of acceleration before shifting into the next gear.
Engineers also updated the downshifting model on the 500h Multi-Stage Hybrid System, as it now will downshift into second gear instead of third to allow for smoother operation and more robust acceleration out of hairpin turns.
The Lexus LC 500 represents the most passionate expression of the Lexus brand. The eye-catching coupe displays a unique mesh grille that spreads across the front of the car. It has a large glass panel and blacked-out rear pillars that creates a floating roof appearance. Chrome-plated moldings along the edges echo the lines of a traditional Japanese sword. You can also order an optional carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof for an even more exotic look.
One of the most stunning aspects of the LC 500 is its unique light signature at night. The taillamps were inspired by the glow of a jet’s afterburners while the ultra-compact, triple-projector LED headlamps are not only striking, they’re half the size of conventional headlamps.
The LC emphasizes a balance between function and comfort, sporting intent and luxury. The low instrument panel position, hood line and narrow pillars give the driver a commanding view of the road. To build a sense of continuity, the flowing lines of the door panels serve as an extension of the exterior that flows from the hood and through the windshield. Available exterior colors for the LC 500 include Caviar, Obsidian, Smoky Granite Mica, Atomic Silver, Liquid Platinum, Ultra White, Infrared, Nightfall Mica, Flare Yellow, Nori Green Pearl and Cadmium Orange.
Lexus designers paid close attention to detail when creating the LC. The exclusive seats feel as good as they look. With a two-part construction technique, the seatback drapes over the shoulder area and then wraps around the seat back. Components in the shoulder area help hold the driver securely in cornering maneuvers.
In addition, the steering wheel cross section changes around its circumference to allow for variations in grip and twisting of the wrist. The front passenger also has not been ignored; the side of the center console rises to form an integrated grab handle.
The quality finish of the upholstery, trim materials and detailing reflect the Takumi craftsmanship and attention to detail for which Lexus is known. It can be seen and felt in the hand stitching of the leather-wrapped gearshift lever and the draping treatment of the Alcantara door panel trim, among numerous other details. Available interior color schemes for the LC include Black leather, Toasted Caramel leather, and new for 2021 is Circuit Red leather (which replaced Rioja Red). All interiors are complimented with exposed Satin Metallic ornamentation.
Upon startup, thundering through the variable Active Exhaust, the 5.0-liter, naturally aspirated V8 issues a full-throated engine note as a call to driving enthusiasts. The LC 500 has an output of 471 hp and 398 lb.-ft. of peak torque. The LC is also capable of delivering a 0-to-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds and up to a manufacturer estimated 25 mpg on the highway.
The powerful 5.0-liter is paired with a 10-speed Direct-Shift automatic transmission. The updated 10-speed is refinement to further evoke the performance of the V8 engine and provide an even more direct connection of driver to machine.
Hybrid Power: Impressive and Efficient
Fifteen years ago, Lexus introduced the world’s first luxury hybrid. Now, the LC 500h carries on that innovative tradition as the first-ever Lexus Multistage Hybrid. Like other Lexus hybrid configurations, the LC 500h Multi-stage Hybrid System teams the gasoline engine with two electric motor/generators.
An Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine utilizes D-4S direct fuel injection for optimum efficiency while the lightweight valvetrain with Dual VVT-i ensures ample torque across the engine speed range. Moreover, the system keeps the planetary-type continuously variable transmission from Lexus Hybrid Synergy Drive and adds a unique four-speed automatic transmission. Working in concert, the two gearsets alter output in four stages to utilize the V6 engine across the entire speed range.
In M mode, the two gearsets act together to provide the effect of 10 ratios, giving the LC 500h a highly engaging driving feel and allowing the driver to shift through the ratios with paddle shifters. In automatic mode, AI shift control matches gear selection to driving conditions and driver inputs. The Multistage Hybrid System allows for more electric assist at lower vehicle speeds, and it enables the LC 500h to operate with the gasoline engine off at speeds of up to 87 mph.
The combined system output of the LC 500h is 354 horsepower. With the Multistage Hybrid System, the power from the V6 engine and the electric motor can be amplified by the 4-speed automatic transmission, generating much greater drive power when accelerating. The LC 500h uses a compact, lightweight lithium-ion battery. The battery pack fits neatly between the rear seats and the luggage compartment and has a high-power density, with its 84 cells producing 310.8 volts.
Updated Multimedia for 2021
The LC features an impressive 10.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multimedia display that provides immediate, simultaneous access to audio or climate controls and various systems.
For 2021, all LCs are now equipped with Android Auto™ compatibility, allowing Android users to seamlessly cast their device’s interface onto the vehicle’s multimedia display. Play music via apps such as Spotify®* and Pandora®, send messages through a range of commonly used apps like WhatsApp®, navigate with Google Maps™, and request information—all with just the sound of your voice—through the Google Assistant™. For added convenience, Android Auto can also deliver tailored information based on your calendar, usage activity and habits.
The LC 500 and 500h still feature Apple CarPlay® compatibility and Amazon Alexa integration. With Apple CarPlay compatibility, customers can access the familiar interface from their iPhone® through the vehicle’s multimedia display. Simply connect an iPhone to get directions, make calls, send and receive message via Siri®, and get access to favorite apps like Spotify, Audible® and Apple® podcasts. With Alexa integration, you can bring all the convenience of Amazon Alexa on the road. Just ask Alexa for the same access to information and the thousands of skills available with Alexa at home. Listen to audiobooks, play favorite music, make lists, check the weather, get news briefings, and much more. Users can also control compatible smart-home devices such as lighting, thermostat and security systems. Offering added in-vehicle convenience, Alexa even syncs to the navigation system to provide on-the-go recommendations.
Lexus Enform for Safety and Convenience
Lexus Enform Safety Connect comes with a three-year trial with access to Lexus Enform response centers 24/7/365. With Lexus Enform Service Connect, complimentary for the first 10 years, the vehicle can send alerts for specific factory recommended maintenance, simultaneously alerting a preferred Lexus dealer. The Lexus App can be used to set push-reminders and alerts for maintenance and service issues. Lexus Enform Remote (three-year trial subscription included) mobile app lets you lock and unlock doors, start the engine and climate controls, check the fuel level, and more all through your smartphone, smartwatch or Amazon Alexa–enabled devices at home.
Advanced Safety Features and Driver Support
The Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+) comes standard on every LC 500 and LC 500h for 2021. LSS+ features Lane Departure Alert with Lane Keep Assist (LKA). Pre-Collision System (PCS) with Pedestrian Detection is standard and includes features such as Frontal Collision Warning (FCW), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Pedestrian Detection. All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) is also included, as is Intelligent High Beam that will default to high-beam mode when the road ahead is clear but will temporarily switch to low beams when headlamps or taillamps are detected.
Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) and Side Mirrors with BSM Indicator is standard on every LC 500 and LC 500h.