Updated: Apr 1, 2022
Full confession, no excuses: I LOVE the Lexus LC 500. Have since the moment I saw one in the metal three years ago at the Silicon Valley Re-Invents the Wheel event. And I've made no secret about it, writing rhapsodically about the LC 500h hybrid and a Thanksgiving 2017 roadtrip to and from Los Angeles; about the musclebound LC 500 with the 471-horsepower V8 in the spring of 2019; and, just less than a year ago, enthusing about a second week in the hybrid (this time in yellow). I know this car, I love this car.
So, you can only imagine that I love it more now that it comes in convertible form for 2021.
This is a simply stunning automobile. I don't know that I've ever had a "dream car" (several, yes; one, no). But now, I think I'm there. The one vehicle that I could say---"Just that one. I'll be fine for the rest of my life."
The mechanicals are all the same as the LC 500 coupe: a 5.0-liter, 471 horsepower V8 engine, ten-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission with paddle shifters, active sport exhaust, 20-inch, ten-spoke cast alloy wheels with run-flat tires, performance brakes with aluminum calipers and an adaptive variable transmission.
The structural rigidity is impressive. There's not a hint of cowl shake once the top drops.
The convertible weighs about 200 pounds more than the coupe, so the 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds in the fixed-roof version drops to 4.6-4.9, depending on whether the top is up or down. Still, that's some prodigious power.
Speaking of the top, the LC 500 Convertible will not and cannot have a hybrid version---the top stows into the place where the hybrid battery pack lives in the 500h. It's one or the other. While I like the quieter nature of the hybrid (and its nod to eco-friendlieness), I could very easily simply surrender to the power. The convertible is a compelling machine.
On a 172-mile roundtrip to Hope Valley for some fall color, the top only went up once---for the urban freeway portion of our ride home. It had gotten dark by then anyway. The cockpit is designed to limit wind and wind noise---and a removable wind blocker that sets up in seconds in the back seat makes it so conversations at normal volume at backroad speeds of 50 or so miles an hour are totally realistic. And the top is so well-insulated that having it up is like being in any other fixed-roof car.
The interior is, as with the other LCs, just about perfect, save for Lexus' finicky trackpad for multimedia choices. And I'm a sucker for the Toasted Caramel leather. The other choice is black. There are 12 exterior colors, four of them, including our tester's Infrared, at extra cost.
The base price of the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible is $101,000. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see for yourself, but among the standard equipment highlights at that price are heated and ventilated leather-trimmed 10-way power-adjustable front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control with pollen filter, navigation and a 12-speaker premium audio system.
Our tester had extra-cost options beyond the Infrared paint ($595), including an upgrade to 21-inch forged alloy wheels with a polished finish and gloss black accents ($2,650), a head-up display ($900), a Torsen limited-slip differential and Yamaha performance damper ($460), carbon scuff plates ($600), the Touring Package, including semi-aniline leather-trimmed front seats, Climate Concierge with upper-body heating, heated steering wheel, windshield de-icer, embossed headrests and an upgraded Mark Levinson 13-speaker Reference surround sound audio system ($5,290), 3M paint protection film ($430), 3M door edge film ($90) and a trunk mat, cargo net, wheel locks and key gloves ($280).
With $1,025 delivery, processing and handling fee, the as-tested price of the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible is $113,320.
My dad had a rule of thumb that a car should never cost more than half your yearly salary.
If you'll excuse me, I need to go earn $226,640.