Since my test drive last year of the Lexus LC500, a vehicle I completely loved and enjoyed for its velvety yet devilish V8, it’s solid refined handling and its good looks – they have now rolled out an even sexier topless version.
Taking off the top of the LC500 really changes the game for this car. The look with the top up is almost exotic if not slightly awkward. That means exotic in some places. Putting the four-layer cloth top down can be done quickly even on the go at speeds up to 31 mph. Once down it stows neatly under a hard tonneau cover with a built-in wind deflector.
The best part about having the top down aside the open air wind in your hair experience is that the sound of the 5.0-liter V8 is a lot louder and a lot more a part of your driving experience. As this is one of the best sounding V8s I know right now, this makes a top-down drive pure heaven. Fire it up, mash the pedal and its 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque just sing baby. They sing. And 0-60? That happens in about 4.6 seconds.
Wind noise and buffeting at speed is minimal, hardly overpowering the sound of the V8 pumping through your soul like liquid God or the sound of the Mark Levinson audio system. The latter automatically adjusts for different acoustics when the top goes down.
The interior is much the same as the LC500 coupe though the rear seat is less roomy as if that were possible. One other key difference is the material changes of the door panels and dash, a few other spots where sueded trims exist in the coupe, here are a more water resistant variety. Bummer, as I like the brief-case like feel of the coupe in that way.
Driving the LC500 Convertible is just as solid and refined and experience as the coupe I’m glad to say. Lexus went to great lengths to stiffen up the chassis on the bottom side to make up for the lack of structural top side.
Significant bracing has been added throughout the structure, particularly at the bulkheads and floor areas and around the rear where the pop-up roll bars are located. The result is a car that feels genuinely as stiff on rough roads and at parking lot entrances as the coupe. Even with the optioned 21-inch wheels, no harshness, no twisting, creaking or shuddering here son.
The suspension has been retuned to make up for the increased 4540 pound curb weight and the re-proportioning of it. For the extra 200 pounds, various bushing and spring rate tweaks were made along with a retune of its adaptive variable suspension.
In all I felt the car in general rides slightly softer than the coupe whether you set the drive mode to the comfort-normal or sport and sport+ settings. It tends to offer up a lot of floaty boaty on the lower settings and even on sport isn’t as taut as you might expect a car with this much power to have. Softer yes, but refined it still is.
As tested my LC500 Convertible rang in at $113,320 with its healthy stack of options actually not a great premium over the LC500h and LC500 coupes I have tested before. I think that while its missing some of the lavish trims and features you might get from Mercedes and BMW, it is definitely the smart value play in this arena given its quality and reliability baked in from the start.