Lexus LC500: the LFA that you can take on vacations.IN ENGLISH
There are few brave people in today’s realm. Brave enough, to say – I’ll do it different than others. We succumb to influence and hype, we want to live safe, we sacrifice our inner “self” for sake of conformism.
Castle. To get in common with LC500 we’ve traveled to Opole’s soil, Poland. Our destination was castle in Moszna, formerly owned by Tiele – Wincler family. It’s prominent estate, overwhelming with vastness and magical in its majesty. Gives you the illusion of a world possible only in something like Disney princess’ story, where everything is possible, nothing is permited. Castle was built with extreme spirit, contains of 365 rooms – same as number of days in calendar, as well as 99 towers – same as number of villages that its founder, Franz Hubert Tiele – Wincler, had in possession. Count was an industrialist, magnate of mining branch in land of Prussian Silesia, and was one of the wealthiest people in this region. But what for? Who would’ve wanted so tremendous building with number of rooms that were virtually never to be used? Just, and only just to exclaim to everyone surrounding him that, he, The Count wasn’t one to be messed with.
Show. Why do I mention this? Because I dislike writing about contemporary cars. More and more they lack of some passion, real love for machine making, there are only cold calculation and expression of an empty form. Nowadays everything is made to be neutral, to guarantee sell of an item. Matter of feelings and emotions goes to the background. Lexus though, made something utterly different. Unveiling LC500 Japanese manufacturer gave clear sign to everyone surrounding, same as Franz Hubert couple of decades ago with his castle – look at us, we are not to bow before anyone! Eccentric design combined with top tier finishes, 5 litre V8 pushing 467 horsepower married with 10-speed automatic gearbox (never before seen in passenger vehicles). Nowadays no one dares to make mass produced vehicles this way, this is the way of creating passion in modern automotive world.
Genes. I had the pleasure of driving Lexus LFA which was a remarkable adventure. After meeting with the LFA I fell in love with Japanese philosophy of car making and I was captured in long await for something that would grasp me same as LFA did. LC500 is without a doubt the car that deep in its DNA has elements of legendary V10 supercar hidden. It is especially visible in design flow of exterior of both cars. There is yet another link between LFA and LC500, the latter is manufactured and assembled in the same building that LFA had been, just couple years ago, in factory called Toyota Motomachi. Some of Takumi (highly skilled Toyota mentors) that were involved in production process of Japanese super gt found their place at the assembly line of brand new LC500. Last but not least, chief designer for Lexus – Tadao Mori, responsible for conversion of LF-LC concept into road going LC has said, that in process of creating V8 grand tourer’s interior his design team got to drove LFA, to see how real sports car behave, and even what optimal cup holder placement is.
LF-LC. Why is LC such unique piece? Simple. Responsible for the LF-LC concept was young, at the time ex-Audi designer, Edward Lee. In one of his interviews Lee explained Ingolstadt’s design language. He used a straightforward words to describe it, “Audi design is looking for something that is new two percent of the time and 98 percent of the time it’s about brand identity and refinement, whereas Lexus is the complete opposite of that. We are looking for something new, fresh new ideas and we don’t try to hammer it so much to the point where we are losing the emotional aspect of our design”. What’s there to add? Simply bravery and flexibility.
Prestige. I treasure people’s opinion , I’ve observed that whoever is giving their comment on LC’s styling is at least intrigued by it. Prestige is very noticeable in whole of Lexus’ presence, but you only really feel it wrapped around in LC500’s exquisite interior. Everything is well-constructed, there’s no place for cheap materials or unpolished finishes. Two dials, on opposite sides of instrument cluster are in my opinion the best design que of the car, in fact they came straight from oldschool LFA. Very similar as well are displays in both of the Lexus’ sport cars. Remember manner of LFA’s digital display in which it lit when the driving mode has been switched? Same thing happens in LC, colours change, rev counter moves. In LC500 even AC switches look and feel expensive.
Ferrari. LC500 ain’t only the design, thanks to very close cooperation between designers and engineers it also drives well. Body lowered to the limits, big, but not too big 21 inch wheels fitted in its wheel archers, whole front of the car designed to give as much of a driving feel as there is to be. Nothing lacks, that’s what’s most important in this class, considering hefty competition. You demand comfort, peace, quietness in its interior? You got it. Getting in LC made me remember the feeling of wearing casual blazer in outstanding colour, tailored for my exact size which gives me feel of independence. The dashboard in its entirety is very intuitive, except for the utterly ununderstandable in use user interface and a navigation system filled with gibberish. Thanks to low mounted seat driving LC500 instantly becomes your second nature. Back in the day, when writing about Ferrari 550 I stated that it is ideal car for someone from London’s City, vehicle that is for someone who desires class and elegance, but with a bit of eccentricity. Individual that wants their daily commute to humorless job to be easy, but coming back home desires to slide around every possible corner with loose tie over his shirt. LC500 is exactly like that.
RWD. Lexus gives their customers option of two engines for LC, V8 and hybrid V6. Both of them offered exclusively with rear wheels driven. This choice makes LC500 bipolar. Generally it is meant to be comfortable, but whenever driver wants to hoon around you are flooded with the automotive passion that everyone strives for. Don’t get me wrong, LC isn’t really serious sports car, dedicated for track days and all that, but it won’t stall when it comes to driving fast on curvy parts of the road. You’ll play with gearbox paddles, make some downshifts, rev it up, V8 comes to live with usual rumble, precise steering rack will allow you to do some tight corners, and you won’t event notice it’s weight of almost 2 metric tons.
V8. What’s under the bonnet is a piece of Japanese engineering that can only be disrobed with “we will do it like no others” and in itself deserves standalone section of this article. Because what manufacturer other than Lexus would base it’s profit on vehicle with 5 liter V8 with no force induction? Only one that has balls the size of a moon. V8 sounds good, linear, just right. Even though I think that first thing you should modify after picking up your brand new LC is an exhaust system. Engine work flow is very flexible. Worth mentioning is a gearbox, at first I was not sold on it. Single clutch, hydraulic auto in sporty grand tourer? In the age of double clutch gearboxes sounds like something that should never happen. Nothing could be further from the truth. Direct Shift is all you need, very quick feeder of one after another gears. 10 speed, sounds unusual, but they are necessary for lush of luxury in long distance travel and allow powertrain to achieve fuel consumption of 10 liters per 100 kilometers, and all that with 5 litre V8!
Admiration. You may get an impression that I hail this vehicle in excess, I’m to kind for it, it has to have some drawbacks, you may think. There are obviously some weaknesses, but they don’t play strong enough role for me to dislike it. LC500 meets its expectations as textbook example of grand tourer. Same goes for women, you may chase long haired blondes, but in the end you’ll meet some short haired brunette at some party, and just like that, you’re out of the game. Brunette got you in hers trap. You don’t event concern about color of her hair, she ignites completely different emotions in you. What’s more, I would risk a statement that LC500 is in my opinion, one of the best design in automotive world that was introduced to the market in 2017.
LC500 stole my heart. When I saw LF-LC for the first time I thought “huh! They’re actually making LFA that you can go on vacations in”, that’s the truth. LC500 is a bold car, for people who know that they want to achieve in life. They don’t want to bow before anyone. It certainly isn’t for everyone, but that’s ok too. Why? Because when you see it on the street or at the car park, you’re certain that it belongs to someone who was in search of something with soul for months, and finally found it in the Lexus LC500, in the status statement of a car which under elegant blazer hides real driving pleasure.
Original story by Slawomir Poros tejsted.pl
Translated and adopted by Wojciech Wolczynski
Photo by Jedrzej Solinski
Lexus LC500 & LFA from collection KIMBEX DREAM CARS