Lexus chops the roof of its halo car without disturbing what we already love about it
Does slicing the roof off any car make it instantly sexier? That 0.1% of enthusiasts will no doubt begin snorting about things like soured handling dynamics and weakened torsional rigidity but these moans don’t begin to answer the question. The answer might lie in the Lexus LC500 Convertible, the top-less brother of the already knee-weakening looker, the LC500.
The LC500 is everything we love about Lexus. It’s exclusive, shows off delightful craftsmanship, bucks the turbocharged trend and feels totally bespoke…perhaps idiosyncratic.
For the latest LC update, Lexus has made a few adjustments to the suspension settings – important when the Cabrio adds another 220lbs to the already chunky two tonnes– and new vibrant colors. However, the essence behind it hasn’t changed; it’s still powered by a 5.0-liter V8 and drives the rear wheels via a 10-speed gearbox. It’s therefore something of an amalgamation of muscle car and luxurious yacht bobbing gently around the Caribbean Islands. The adaptive variable suspension automatically adjusts through no fewer than 650 settings!
The LC500 doesn’t demand a lot of effort from its driver, so it errs on the side of supple. It simply refuses to fuss over each and every kilogram if it means adding luxuries like heated seats and neck warmers into seats that are already full of electric motors and generous swathes of leather.
This is the first time that Lexus has employed a soft top over the more complex folding hardtop. As a result of the lighter soft-top mechanism, it open in 15 seconds at speeds below 30mph. These fabric roofs have improved dramatically in the last decade or so – forget leaky and creaky, they’re now superbly insulated and latch into place with reassuring clicks. And with the roof down, that angelic V8 soundtrack pours into the cabin, through your ears and under your skin.
Ignoring the fact that it’s now available as a convertible, the Lexus LC500 range hasn’t changed much in the last four years. Yet despite these incremental changes, this is still an achingly beautiful thing that brings a level of sophistication to just about any backdrop or event. When all other modular platforms and superfluous performance comparisons orbiting Lexus begin to feel a bit unremarkable, the LC500 brings a breath of fresh air – now quite literally. Pawan Dhingara