Call me an optimist or maybe just observant, but when Lexus launched the much anticipated LC500, in a crowded hot room at the Detroit Auto Show, I was curious about the name. First of all, it’s the same time they used the “500” designation. After all, it’s the 5.0 Liter V8 found in the now extinct IS F and current RC F and GS F. However, For the RC and GS models, there are 200 and 350 model number options referring to the 2.0-Liter Turbo 4 and 3.5-Liter V6. They didn’t call the high-performance GS a GS500, they called it a GS F. Hmmm.
My thought is that Lexus isn’t done with the LC. The LC500 is the base model and by 2019, we should see an LC F. After all, 467 horsepower (by today’s standards) is quite meek for a high-performance, 6-figure luxury GT. Use your imagination for a moment. What if Lexus supercharged or added town-turbos to that engine? Now they can push 600 or 700 horsepower, as long as they add All-Wheel Drive. Let’s not get crazy, Lexus will NOT build a Hellcat. They won’t push over 500 hp to a rear-wheel driven car. It’s not in their DNA or in the boundaries of their legal department.
Coupes don’t sell, they entice. And the LC500 is designed to entice younger buyers, different buyers and new buyers. Those not just looking for power, but for power with reliability. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but as much as I find excitement in a powerful car, I also find excitement in a reliable car. I’d love to own an Aston-Martin or Mercedes-Benz S63 Coupe, but I’d make sure I stayed close to a Benz dealer. Lexus has proven to be a rock star brand for reliability and resale value. However, those buyers also want to be front and center at the valet of the latest trendy chop house. The LC500 gives them both.
What we were told at the press conference in Detroit is basically this – the principal, the owner of Toyota/lexus has made this brand his mission. He was not happy with the feedback that his brand was boring. Thing about it. A man who has more resources (i.e. money) than any other car company has a goal and I have a feeling he’s going to accomplish it.
For now, ponder the possibilities. I can’t wait to drive it, but I’m sure it will meet or exceed expectations. I always try to look beyond the one-week test drive and think about the end-user. At the end of the day, I’m going to make a recommendation based on my experience and knowledge, but the buyer will make his or hers based on how they want to be perceived. This isn’t a Camry appliance, it’s a head-turning status symbol.