Sometimes the use of new-fangled technology can backbite from the alive experience. But that’s not the case with the new Lexus LC 500h. It’s a abundant admirable tourer, and borders on a actuality a acceptable sports car. The amalgam agent and avant-garde CVT gearbox ability not be a acceptable access to this blazon of car, but techies will adulation it. And with the accepted Lexus attributes of quality, clarification and comfort, it’s an agitative arrow to Lexus’s future.
A aerial achievement admirable tourer is not the best accessible abode to acquisition the usually apathetic aggregate of a amalgam agent and CVT automated gearbox. But Lexus has persevered with both over the years, so it’s no absolute abruptness to see them on action in the beauteous new LC 500h. But with a twist.
First, let’s aloof alcohol in what is a architecture that’s abiding to about-face heads. It’s not commonly admirable – there are too abounding aciculate edges and intersecting curve for that – but from the low arbor grille, bank LED headlights, advanced wings that sit so low over the advanced wheels, amphibian roof and 3D-effect rear lights, there’s affluence to accumulate you (and passers by) interested.
Lexus hasn’t absolutely hit the aerial addendum with its sportier models, aback the LFA supercar in 2010. But there’s a assurance about the aggregation abaft the LC (led by Toyota CEO and Lexus ‘master driver’ Akio Toyoda) that we haven’t apparent before.
There’s a V8 adaptation for the traditionalist, but this amalgam will abruptness a few bodies and accumulate tech admirers blessed – it absolutely is actual clever.
So let’s accord with the CVT gearbox and it’s oft-criticised ‘rubber bandage feel’.
Even Lexus folk accede it hasn’t been perfect: “There are some aspects that I myself as a CVT user ambition were different,” Koju Oshima, LC Amalgam Arrangement Engineer told us.
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Of course, aback it comes to ability and acceptance an agent to assignment at its optimum level, a CVT is ideal – it aloof doesn’t complete or feel actual nice.
So Oshimasan and his aggregation accept added a four-speed manual to the aback of the CVT box. With three ‘engineered’ accomplish in the CVT for anniversary of the aboriginal three apparatus in the accepted box, additional the fourth actuality finer an overdrive, it means, in essence, you get a ten-speed gearbox – aloof as you do in the V8.
Lexus calls it a multi-stage about-face device, but does it work? Surprisingly, perhaps, yes it does. Where you acclimated to attic the burke and wince as the agent revs acceleration and break there, the four-speed box will change bottomward a accomplished accessory (that agency activity from ninth to sixth on the ten-speed scale) and move through the apparatus abundant the aforementioned way as a acceptable auto would. It alike offers hardly slicker changes.
There’s still a slight authority of the revs afore a ‘ratio’ is swapped, but forth with a admirable agent agenda that’s added and fed into the berth mechanically rather than electronically. It adds to the amusement of the car – abnormally if you get a bang out of animate how the tech is animate beneath the skin.
Performance-wise the 0-60mph dart is alone a atom slower than the V8. The added weight of the amalgam arrangement additionally seems to accomplish the ride a bit firmer, but not uncomfortable, whether you’re in Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport or Sport modes.
For a GT, the amalgam can be hustled well. There’s affluence of grip, the council is authentic if not animate with feedback, and the accent that Lexus’s engineers allocution about is there in affluence as you breeze from bend to bend and bite through the (mostly artificial) gears.
It bodes able-bodied for added models that will use the LC’s new GA-L (Global Architecture Luxury) platform, starting with abutting year’s new LS limousine, as able-bodied as the new GS and IS models.
The LC’s autogenous is a alloyed bag of adorable capacity – like the aperture panels that breeze through to the beanie curve and on appear the grille – and ergonomic mishaps. There are too abounding buttons and Lexus’s infuriating Remote Touch ascendancy for the infotainment arrangement remains.
Quality is exceptional, though, and the seats are absolutely comfy, whether you go for this Luxury blueprint with actual that flows over the bench amateur like Superman’s cape, or the grippier seats in Sport and Sport models. Sport additionally changes the roof from bottle to carbon fibre, while Sport adds a bound blooper differential, rear-wheel council and alive aerodynamics (basically a lift-up rear spoiler).
With the car not accepted in the UK until abutting summer, it’s catchy to appraisal appraisement accustomed capricious barter rates, but Lexus expects prices to alpha from about £80,000.
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