Lexus has long realised that it needs to do something different if it's to effectively take on the premium German brands. Well, that's certainly what's it's done with this car, the LC Coupe. It's come equipped to take on the luxury coupe segment's very top contenders, with drive dynamics that work on the track as well as on the highway. Plus, there's styling that'll cause a stir in the High Street, a gorgeous cabin and hi-tech hybrid power if you want it.
There are two engines on offer. The LC 500h variant gets a 3.5-litre V6 hybrid unit. Alternatively, there's a LC 500 derivative under the bonnet of which beats a 5.0-litre V8, a modified version of the powerplant Lexus uses in its RC F and GS F models. In this form, it produces 467bhp at 7,100rpm, so the LC doesn't want for pace. 62mph is reached in just 4.4s and if you've a stretch of unrestricted autobahn handy, the top speed is 168mph. As usual with a Lexus, there's a range of selectable driving settings - six in total - and of these, the one you're going to want to try most is 'Sport S'. This should be ideal for your favourite back road, delivered crisp, sharp responses from the adaptive suspension and the sophisticated 10-speed direct-shift auto paddle shift gearbox.
We'll need a lengthy drive to fully brief you on the drive dynamics but early reports suggest that they achieve a good balance of what segment buyers will be looking for. That means something sharper than you'd get in, say, a Mercedes' SL and BMW's 6 Series but a little more comfort-orientated than you'd find in, say, a Porsche 911 or a Jaguar's F-TYPE.
This large, luxury 2+2 coupe offers a much edgier look from Lexus than we've seen in any of the company's previous models. The aesthetics have been based on the marque's 'LF-LC' concept car, first shown at motor shows back in 2012 and under the sharply-creased bodywork lies a completely new GA-L ('Global Architecture - Luxury') platform we'll soon see in other luxury Lexus models.
Inside, as you'd expect, the materials and finishing are faultless, as is the gadget count. The driver's cockpit has been ergonomically designed to instil confidence and invite spirited driving, with an intuitive layout of the controls and a well-judged seating position. The driver's hip point has been located as close as possible to the coupe's centre of gravity, maximising direct feedback of the vehicle's dynamic performance.
As with any 2+2 sports coupe, space is tight for four, even if two of them are children, but Lexus has worked hard to make rearward access easy.
The LC is a showcase for everything the Lexus brand is now capable of. On that basis, it looks like there's a great deal for us to look forward to. The fact that we can even mention a large luxury Lexus coupe in the same breath as a Porsche 911 is progress of a sort; this car has been developed by enthusiasts. It's way more than just another lottery-winner's luxury GT in the BMW 6 Series / Mercedes SL mould.
If you're lucky enough to be hopping in this segment, we urge you to give the LC a try. It's probably not the car you were thinking of. But it may very well weave its spell on you very effectively.Click here to find out more about our Lexus LC range