The 2020 Lexus LC500h is one of the most beautiful vehicles on the road today. From every angle, the LC500h looks like it would be just as at home in an art gallery as it would on a racetrack or even as a brand new concept car at an auto show. Combine jaw-dropping good looks with a long feature list, an extremely smooth ride, and a unique interior, and the LC500h makes for one compelling package.
The Lexus LC500h replaces the standard LC500’s V8 and replaces it with a Multi-Stage Hybrid powertrain consisting of a 295-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 mated to dual permanent-magnet synchronous AC electric motors, which produce 177-horsepower. The battery is a 1.1-kWh lithium-ion unit.
The combined output of the hybrid powertrain is 354 horsepower and is mated to a CVT automatic transmission with 4 fixed ratios. The CVT transmission gives the sensation of having discrete gears while under hybrid power and is programmed to mimic the feeling of a traditional 10-speed automatic.
While the V8 LC500 is built for spirited driving, the LC500h is better suited for grand touring duty. Even in Sport+ mode, the LC500h is reluctant to provide the driver with the same rush of exhilaration and engagement found in the V8.
Despite feeling less engaging and weighing 143 pounds more than the V8 version, the LC500h still does zero-to-60 under 5-seconds and isn’t that much slower in real-world performance than its V8 sibling.
The good news is that the hybrid system’s added weight isn’t as noticeable when the Lexus LC500h starts to get pushed into corners. The steering is tight and changed directions quickly on Austin’s famous Hill Country backroads. The car feels rigid without being overly stiff in the cabin.
Optional 21″ Forged Wheels Fill Out The Lexus LC500h Fenders Beautifully
The 21″ forged wheels ($1400 option) on our test LC500h were wrapped in Dunlop Sport Maxx D50 DSST run-flat tires. While some of the best run-flats I’ve ever experienced, I can’t help but wonder how much better the LC500h would be on Michelin Pilot Sport 4Ss.
Fuel economy is rated by the EPA at 30/26/35 combined/city/highway, and the LC500h averaged a very respectable 29.5mpg during a 300 mile trip from Houston to Austin and back with speeds averaging 74mph.
Despite not being as engaging as the V8, the LC500h is a fantastic grand tourer once you get used to how the Multi-Stage Hybrid system likes to be driven. This is a fantastic Grand Touring coupe as long as expectations are set accordingly.
Interior & Comfort
The journey to the interior of the LC500h begins with a tug of the hidden door handles that are flush to the body and pop out once unlocked. Inside, the 2020 Lexus LC500 looks stunningly beautiful, and a high level of Lexus craftsmanship is found throughout. The entire interior feels like it is from the future, even if the Toasted Caramel leather feels like it might be better suited to the late 1970s.
Having spent nearly 6 hours in the driver’s seat of the LC500h on the aforementioned trip to Austin, I can attest to how excellent the seats are. The seats have heating and cooling functionality, along with just about every kind of power adjustment to get the seating position just right.
Switchgear is as retro-modern as the color. These silver buttons control the dual-zone HVAC system with ease. A little more troubling is the fussy touchpad and mouse-style controller needed to navigate the infotainment system. It’s just not intuitive and takes getting used to. Even then, the frustration of accidentally clicking off a screen or setting is something that happens more often than it should.
The Lexus LC500h has a 10.25″ infotainment screen, which can split the views between two discreet areas of information, like a trip computer and the standard Apple CarPlay views. Speaking of retro, the LC500h actually has a DVD/CD player tucked just below the HVAC controls. When was the last time you used an actual CD? Remember, Lexus was one of the last manufacturers to get rid of the tape deck, too.
The optional $1,220 Mark Levinson 13-speaker premium audio system in our LC500h tester sounds great and provides plenty of adjustment through the EQ range to play loud and clear. With the Hybrid system taking a back seat to the driving experience from an aural standpoint, you’ll want to load up on plenty of your favorite music to listen to.
The 2020 Lexus LC500h is nothing short of spectacular to look at from every angle, inside and out. This car turns as many heads as exotics that cost twice as much and looks twice as expensive as some of those exotics do. While the V6-Hybrid system isn’t the most engaging driving experience, it is one of the best Hybrid systems we’ve ever tested. Add the comfort of the beautifully master-crafted interior and the LC500h sounds like the perfect vehicle, right? Well, yes and no.
On the one hand, the tech frustrations within the LC500h are extremely prevalent with nearly every infotainment system operation. The competition has figured it out, and Lexus needs to play catchup. The hybrid also feels like it doesn’t quite fit a car of this nature. The LC500h wants to be driven hard by the driver and wants to respond with a playful nature in kind. The hybrid doesn’t quite deliver there.
That said, the LC500h in any flavor is as close to a concept car as you can buy today. It’s gorgeous and one of the most stunning vehicles on sale today, at any price. It lends itself to long sessions on the highway and nights out on the town. It’s that perfect watch that can be worn on any occasion and never wants to be taken off. This is a car that you’ll never get tired of being in or looking at. Just choose your LC500’s powertrain wisely.
2020 Lexus LC 500h
Base Price – $97,480 + $1,025 dest. charge.
Price as-Tested – $103,920
Warranty – 4 Year/50,000 Miles Bumper-To-Bumper with roadside assistance, complimentary first-year maintenance.
EPA Fuel Economy Rating: 30 combined/26 city/35 highway
Observed Fuel Economy over 370 miles mixed driving – 26.7 miles per gallon
Vehicle provided to Speed:Sport:Life with a full tank of gas by Lexus for review