The conditions were perfect.
Partly cloudy, a balmy 19 degrees Celsius, a quiet, winding, rural backroad, and a 2022 Lexus LC 500 Convertible primed to its loudest, sportiest, most white-gauged setting. Appropriately, perhaps, “I Got Mine” by The Black Keys started blasting from the car’s top-shelf audio system. No responsibilities, no traffic, no cops, no fear. Just me and one fabulous motor vehicle with nothing but time and fuel to burn.
Leaning on the gas and letting that metallic V8 cry reverberate off the trees and back into my eardrums with nothing but the crisp, spring Saturday afternoon air getting in the way, “This is it,” I thought to myself. “This is living.”
Is there a car more visually appealing than the Lexus LC under, say, $200,000? I genuinely don’t think so. The proportions, the details, the build quality – it’s all top notch, and this is one of those cars that I could spend (and have spent) many minutes just standing around ogling. In person, there’s a concept car-like presence and three-dimensional bulbousness to its proportions that doesn’t always translate in pictures. It really is magnificent.
The interior is a treat, too, but it arguably looks even better in the available Toasted Caramel tan colour. Build quality is appropriately solid for a Lexus flagship, with controls that move with a satisfying weight, click, or oily glide. The brightwork is all slightly burnt-looking and brushed that folds into soft stitched leather.
As easy as the LC is on the eyes, its voice might be even more enjoyable to behold. It’s the same 5.0L V8 found in the company’s RC F coupe and brutish IS 500 sedan, but because the LC 500 has a different exhaust setup from those cars, it sounds best here. It’s musical and animal-like – growly at low revs and able to scream like the world’s coolest trumpet at high ones. Run it up against the rev limiter and it emits the most gloriously obnoxious machine gun noises, almost as if it was specifically designed to do so – ridiculous considering this is Toyota we’re ultimately talking about.
Not only does the LC sound better than its RC F and IS 500 brethren but, in my view, it also sounds better than the more gravelly Jaguar F-Type. It sounds better than the whiningly supercharged Hellcats from Dodge, it sounds better than the race car Acura NSX Type S, and – I may need to whisper this part – I genuinely think it sounds better than Lamborghini’s manic V10. (That’s better. Not louder or more aggro. Better.) Engine audio truly is the marvellous centrepiece of the LC 500, and it’s all amplified with this open-air convertible version.
Acceleration, by the way, isn’t exactly lousy either, with 471 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque on tap, while the 10-speed automatic transmission and “active rear sport” differential do a decent job of putting power to the ground. That gearbox’s magnesium manual paddles feel serious and expensive in the hand, and the shifts carried out are sufficiently snappy.
Driving Feel: 9/10
This being a grand tourer (GT) rather than an all-out sports car or supercar, the LC admittedly isn’t the absolute sharpest, lightest, or most feelsome vehicle to toss into a corner. But it’s far from cumbersome, exhibiting a substantial, deliberate, and luxurious feel that’s competently endearing in its own way. The dynamic differences between the convertible and the more rigid performance pack-equipped coupe, by the way, are marginal at most.
Long-distance highway cruising, on the other hand, is near-perfect no-asterisks-needed, while in-town manoeuvrability is remarkably manageable for a car like this.
Fun fact: Lexus Canada imposes a 500-km mileage limit for press loans, and since I refused to hand any of those kms over to any sort of semi-autonomous driving system, your guess is as good as mine as to how well the LC 500’s all-speed range adaptive cruise control performs. Other onboard safety features include automatic high-beam headlights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, lane-departure alert with steering assist, a pre-collision system, and an active roll bar that keeps occupants’ heads from hitting the ground in the event of a rollover.
The LC Convertible is surprisingly easy to see out of, all things considered, but the presence of blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert helps for sure.
Lexus doesn’t offer any option packages that would hike up the price or, of course, complicate manufacturing. Instead, all LC convertibles come standard with a 10.3-inch touchpad infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 13-speaker premium audio system, dual-zone automatic climate control, a head-up display, Lexus’s enduringly neat digital gauge display that physically moves to one side, and, of course, that retractable top.
Said top takes about 15 seconds to open or close and can be operated at speeds of up to 50 km/h. In typical Lexus fashion, the stereo system sounds stellar but, likely due to different acoustics, not quite as amazing as I remember it sounding in the coupe.
User Friendliness: 6.5/10
Arguably the biggest and only real blemish with this car, the LC Convertible uses Lexus’s much-maligned touchpad infotainment controller. It’s hard to use and, unfortunately, the only way to interact with the centre screen. All of the LC’s other controls, however, are much easier to get around. The steering wheel controls, shifter, and HVAC switches (sized and spaced out in a way that reminds me of piano keys) are all very intuitive. A big hifi-style volume knob is weighty, smooth, and extremely satisfying to operate.
The switch to operate the soft top, meanwhile, is hidden underneath a flip-up panel located aft the touchpad and is likely a puzzle to find if you don’t already know where it is. This top toggle is accompanied by a switch that lets you open or close all of the windows simultaneously.
The level of practicality on board with the Lexus LC is probably best described as “appropriate.” Keep expectations realistic and it can be a viable daily driver for couples, bachelors or bachelorettes, or adventurous empty nesters. Up front, there’s a decent-sized armrest cubby, a single closeable cupholder, a glovebox, and cubbies in the doors. The 96-L trunk should be good for reasonable grocery runs – that’s 48 2L cartons of milk, if we’re going to be scientific – or a couple of small carry-ons. For comparison, the LC coupe, which doesn’t have a soft top to store, has a trunk measuring 153 L.
Use of the two rear seats requires the removal of the wind deflector and is really only recommended for children or very accommodating adults.
Despite its powertrain’s gloriously rowdy personality, the LC is actually very comfortable to live with. Quiet on the road regardless of whether the top is up or down thanks to the aforementioned wind deflector, as well as an acoustic windshield, Lexus’s droptop GT in normal or comfort mode doesn’t ride significantly more rough than, say, a middle-of-the-road sport sedan. With that wind deflector and all the windows up, top-down highway cruising is very serene.
The front seats are immaculately plush and supportive, too, and feature heating, cooling, and neck heaters for colder weather top-down action. The steering wheel is heated as well.
Fuel Economy: 6/10
Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has rated the 2022 LC 500 Convertible for 16.0 L/100 km in the city, 9.5 on the highway, and 13.0 combined. Driven like it was born to be driven, however, and I observed a frankly laughable 16.8 L/100 km after precisely 484 test km. Premium gasoline is, of course, required.
As long as you can afford the fuel bills, however, the Lexus LC isn’t actually that expensive to buy given what you get and the other cars in this arena. Lexus charges $124,300 as a base price, but add $650 for the orange paint and $2,175 for destination, and this tester came out to $127,095 before taxes. For the fun and thrills I had in it, this honestly feels completely reasonable. For comparison, $127,000 won’t even pay for a base, no-options-ticked Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet. Or an options-free BMW M850i cabriolet.
“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them. Someone should write a song about that,” Andy Bernard tearfully laments in the closing minutes of The Office. Well, on that lazy, raucous Saturday afternoon, I knew. And there is absolutely a song about it. It was coming straight out of the LC 500 Convertible’s exhaust tips.
Whenever new people learn about what I do for a living, one of the most common questions I get is, “What’s your favourite car?” It’s admittedly a difficult one to answer earnestly but the Lexus LC 500 – performance pack coupe in Atomic Silver with the Caramel interior for me, please – may be the ticket. It’s not even technically the “best” car I’ve ever driven, nor is it the fastest or the most expensive. But it is my favourite and, with the requisite funds, I would buy one immediately.
I adore how it looks, I’m obsessed over how it sounds, and I love how it drives. I love how it makes me feel and I love the fact that it came from Toyota, a company typically known for engineering (and arguably pioneering) automotive quality and durability.
In short, the 2022 Lexus LC 500 Convertible’s existence feels like proof that there probably is a god, and all he wants is for us to be happy. If our prayers for a proper high-performance LC F are ever answered, then there will no longer be any doubt.
|Peak Horsepower||471 hp @ 7,100 rpm|
|Peak Torque||398 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm|
|Fuel Economy||16.0 / 9.5 / 13.0 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb|
|Cargo Space||96 L|
|Model Tested||2022 Lexus LC 500 Convertible|
|Price as Tested||$127,195|
$650 – Cadmium Orange paint, $650