The Lexus LC 500 is an important car. It’s neither the fastest nor the sharpest luxury coupe money can buy, but it’s likely the last naturally-aspirated V8 GT car the world will ever see. I think it’s just about perfect, so it’s surprising that Lexus has seen the need to make changes to its suspension for 2023. Here’s what Lexus has to say.
For 2023, the LC 500 embraces Lexus Driving Signature through the vehicle’s dynamic handling characteristics. Front and rear suspension settings have been optimized to enhance ground contact feel, linear steering response, and steering effectiveness in the high cornering G range. With nimbler vehicle handling, Lexus Driving Signature creates a sharper connection between driver and vehicle.
That’s a great bundle of buzzwords, but what does it actually mean? Likely a range of software tweaks, although we’ll wait for official word from Lexus before ruling out any hardware changes. Speaking of software, Lexus is giving LC owners ten full years of telematics, as should be included with any car costing the better part of $100,000.
Otherwise, the LC 500’s updates for 2023 simply consist of minor trim tweaks. Cloudburst Gray joins the options list for people devoid of joy, but a whole raft of good colors return for 2023. Nori Green Pearl, Cadmium Orange, Flare Yellow, and Infrared are all superb and all on offer. Nori Green is particularly lovely because not only does it glimmer like a billion stars in the sunlight, it can be paired with a phenomenal caramel interior. Tick the box on the coupe for the sport package with the glass roof and you’ll now gain 21-inch alloy wheels, a nice perk for knowing the value in a proper helical limited-slip differential. Really, that’s about it for changes.
Still, the Lexus LC 500 doesn’t need a ton of updates to be worth talking about. It’s pretty in an unconventional way, from the high cowl to the daytime running lights like spoiled eyeliner. It’s crafted with incredible love, every stitch is placed perfectly, every leather offers a slightly sweet aroma, the mirrored tail lights are still jaw-dropping, and the powertrain is still absolutely ace.
Lexus says that the 471-horsepower naturally-aspirated five-liter V8 in the LC 500 can propel the coupe variant from zero-to-sixty in 4.4 seconds. While quick, that figure really doesn’t matter. The zero-to-sixty time could be 5.2 or 3.9, it genuinely wouldn’t matter. This is a car that drives by soul rather than calculation, it ebbs and flows and crescendos with a hollow, yearning wail. Drive one, and you’ll live by thwacks of the paddle shifts. Mat the loud pedal and let the 2UR-GSE pour its heart out to 7,300 rpm, then grab the satisfyingly positive right paddle and start the opera all over again.
That’s the beauty of the LC 500. Electric performance cars are much quicker, and some turbocharged rivals are much sharper, but your soul will just want more of this. It’s a shame that naturally-aspirated engines are going the way of the compact disc. Savor this one like the first spoonful of ice cream in summer while you still have the chance.
Lead photo credit: Lexus
I was lucky enough to benchmark one of these cars. Beautiful in a way that doesn’t translate well to photos. The rear tails are really special, surprising noone else has tried the infinity mirror trick (hey torch, maybe give these a shoutout!). The interior feels special in a hand made way but with that lexus quality, the door handle is a solid metal sculpture that feels great in hand.
And that V8 sound! Thomas is absolutely correct in that it doesn’t matter how quick it actually is, the experience of that engine delivers.
Unfortunately I spent most of the time in the sorry excuse of a back seat trying to keep our software happy on a laptop. My feet had to be at 180 degree angles from eachother, I think the rear floormats are 4 inches long. Either way the time I got to spend driving made it worth it.