Words: Yousef Alvi Photographer: Jonathan Walker Model: Oana Dimulescu Stylist: Anastasia Adelita
TL;DR: It’s as pretty as Mike Sanders and performs just as well. Buy it.
Let’s just say you developed an ingenious hybrid system that gives you V8 levels of power with 4 cylinder like gas efficiency. Would you put in a massive 3 row SUV and sell trillions of them per month? Or put it in a gorgeous 2 door sports car and instead sell hundreds per month? Well if you’re greedy you would the former…if you care about performance you would do the latter. Lexus did the latter. Welcome to the LC500h.
Now I can write an entire novel on the styling of this car but in person it is jaw dropping. It is gorgeous. If you haven’t had the opportunity to see one in real life. I beg…I implore you to do it. It’s utterly breathtaking. It will stop traffic, people will pace you on the highway, people will stop you in the street, and hell the most attractive people on the planet will literally descend upon you like a zombie horde to view this car. I kid you not because ALL of that happened to me while driving this for a week.
Lexus’s dedication to blend both hybrid efficiency with sport clearly pays off in this car. Let’s go ahead and flashback about 5 years back or so. The word Hybrid was synonymous with boring, ugly and painfully slow cars that oozed pretentiousness. Now we have the LC500h. Yes it is still expensive at $100,000 but you can see that ‘trickle down’ technology here from the Porsche 918/McLaren P1 and the LaFerrari. In a few short years you will see hybrid technology helping boost performance in more affordable cars but its application today is surreal.
The multistage hybrid system in the LC500h is pure genius. It starts off with your ToMoCo standard 3.5 Liter V6 and then it bolts on an electric motor and that power is routed through a 4 speed automatic housed inside a CVT. Don’t expect me to explain how that actually works because well….I can’t. Mainly because my brain melted a bit when I typed ‘4 speed automatic housed inside a CVT’.
But here is a high level overview: Don’t think of it as a hybrid. Think of it as the world’s best turbo/supercharger. It boosts the performance of the gas motor to V8 levels but returns 4 cylinder like gas mileage. Regardless how it works…it performs unbelievably. The power comes on at full bore at any given speed and you ride on a surge of torque all the way to redline. The transition from electric to the ICE motor is imperceptible…the shifts are seamless and you kinda just hold on until you get arrested.
Here is the most brilliant part about this car. Getting off the line with any car burns a crap ton of fuel and uses up most of your engine’s energy. To resolve that problem the LC500h uses the instantaneous torque of the DC motor to jump you off the line and then the ICE motor kicks in once your momentum builds up. That little bit of assistance around town makes for huge gains at the pump. As I got 21 mpg in the city and over 35 mpg on the highway!
Let’s push aside the econeess for a second though. When you put the LC500h in Sport+. The combination of powertrains works like an orchestra from the heavens. It’s perfect and it’s the future. Where the Internal Combustion Engine still exists but instead of being supplanted by electric motors they are boosted by them.
Future is here…and the future is bright, gleaning and stunning. Welcome to it via the LC500h by Lexus.