April 01, 2020 By Kevin C. Limjoco Photos by Isabel N. Delos Reyes

2020 Lexus LC500h

Balanced Dynamics

If you thought the sultry curves of the Lexus LC500 was already hubristic, try driving it around for a week in the very flamboyant Flare Yellow special paint! That we did in what can be accurately described as the fastest hybrid that Toyota builds, the lovely Lexus LC500h. With the extra weight equivalent of more than the average adult Asian male combined with a significant top-end power loss close to 120 horsepower ( and 30 lb-ft less torque) channeled through two sets of transmissions, a eCVT melded with an Aisin 4-speed automatic, to closely mimic the V8-variant’s 10-speed gearbox, you would expect the dynamic performance of the LC500h to be severely compromised. In all real-world terms, the definitive result of the expertly engineered alternative powertrain actually drives better and more effortlessly with maximum peak blended torque arriving 1800 rpm sooner.

For buyers who have never driven the 471 bhp 5.0-liter V8 LC500 spiritedly as intended, and jumped into this techno-wonder, they would think the LC500h was a very fast GT that performs with a more subdued string orchestra instead of the wonderful notes of the full symphony aided by Yamaha at 7300 rpm! Past the aural sensations, the actual driving dynamics are very similar but you are rewarded with significantly better fuel economy by as much as 12 mpg more range while being kinder to the environment. Sure, it can be argued that a GT at this price point should have blistering performance but I prefer to look at the LC500h as a fabulously comfortable, elegant, and swift grand coupé that you can enjoy being on the road longer between fuel stops. Keep in mind that ultimately the acceleration difference between the V8 and V6-hybrid is .2-seconds from 0-100 km/h! In real terms, you won’t feel that difference. And at legal speeds, the LC500h is actually more effortless to get to speed thanks to having more torque available earlier in the powerband. It has its own unique character and personality.

Our test unit had a healthy dose of updated equipment installed on an already loaded GT, from the sensational 915-watt Mark Levinson 13-speaker audio (managed by the comprehensive Enform infotainment system that is only let down by its annoying touchpad control), HUD, mixed 21-inch alloys on generous Bridgestone Potenza S001L (245/40R21 96Y front & 275/35R21 99Y rear) run-flat tires, huge brakes, triple-beam LED headlights to the adaptive variable suspension, Torsen Limited Slip Differential, glass moonroof, and select Alcantara trim. It did not have the optional rear-wheel steering, active rear-wing, and variable steering, all of which that I did not miss at all. The LC500h was ultra-planted, smooth, and tactile.

Lexus made sure that the LC500h drives like it has gears thanks to its clever blending especially when on Sport+ mode and manually shifting using the magnesium steering wheel paddles. So, the LC500h does not behave like any other hybrid in the Toyota/Lexus stable. The Lexus LC500h is certainly not for everyone but for those who do will be rewarded with a really great high-performance GT with deep abilities that will keep its driver entertained in style for years to come.

Specifications

Engine

Engine V6, 3456 cc, dohc 24V, Dual VVT-i, Atkinson-cycle, 2 Permanent-magnet synchronous AC, 177 hp, 221 lb-ft, 44 kW & 1.1 kWh air-cooled lithium-ion battery packs, eCVT paired with 4-speed AT
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 295 hp @ 6600 rpm (354 bhp combined with EV)
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 260 lb-ft @ 5100 rpm (approximately 370 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm combined with EV)

Performance

Top Speed 250 km/h (155 mph) Governed
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 4.9 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 27 mpg City & 35 mpg Highway

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) US$ 104,540.00
What's Great Excellent grand touring coupé with extended range and more environmental responsibility. Toyota’s fastest highest performance Hybrid.
What's Not So V8 cacophony lost, weight gain of 145 pounds with 117 hp less power, only 6 kilometers of pure EV range.
C! Editors Rating 9.5/10
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