A Haiku of beautiful proportion
Note to self, hide the Lexus LC 500 Convertible before the contractor gets to your house to give you a bid.
Most of my neighbors know that I drive new cars and review them, so they are used to seeing a new car in my driveway. But silly me, I didn’t think to hide the $113,000 cute little Lexus convertible when a contractor drove up to give me a bid for some work on my house.
Everything was going fine until we started talking about the project’s cost, and I expressed surprise about the price. It was just a quip as he put his left hand around the bar on the driver’s side of his truck and hoisted himself up, “well, it’s not like I can afford that Lexus.” Ouch.
The contractor is right. This Lexus is a delight and worth every penny if you can afford it.
- Convertible Top Opens in Approx. 15 seconds
- 471-horsepower Naturally Aspirated V8 Engine
- Performance Luxury Convertible Expands Flagship LC Family
- Robust Structural Rigidity Delivers Performance Handling
- 10.3-inch Multimedia Screen with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa Compatibility
After its global debut at the 2019 Los Angeles International Auto Show was met with rave reviews, the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible landed in my driveway for a beautiful summer week.
The LC 500 Convertible extends the LC family with a stunning, eye-catching design and luxurious handling characteristics designed to take top-down driving to the next level.
The build of an athlete
Considerable driving evaluation and analysis went into crafting unique driving qualities that give the vehicle its own athletic identity that kept the convertible from being a mere crop-topped coupe.
Engineers went to work crafting an all-new torsion box at the rear, which, when paired with a new suspension tower brace and V-brace, help provide structural rigidity, handling stability, and linear responsiveness.
Laser Screw Welding and the use of high-tensile-strength steel through the structure also aids in chassis reinforcement.
Careful attention was given to the LC Convertible’s suspension, which is tuned specifically to complement the subtle changes in weight between the coupe and convertible.
The tuning of the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) is optimized to complement the convertible as well. The AVS system continually adjusts damping control in response to driving operation and road surface conditions, with the ability to adjust to an impressive 650 different levels of damping force.
The LC 500 Convertible comes standard with 20-inch cast alloy wheels, and 20-inch forged wheels are also available. The option to upgrade to large-diameter 21-inch forged wheels is available as well. Run-flat tires are employed at all four corners to eliminate the need for a spare tire, which, in turn, allows engineers to shorten the rear overhang and save additional weight without a spare tire.
Life is better with a convertible
The LC Convertible’s soft-top design allowed engineers to focus on accentuating the convertible’s sleek lines without significant intrusions to the trunk and cabin space that can come with a more massive, bulkier hardtop. It features an innovative folding mechanism that includes a tonneau cover for when it is stored.
The smooth roof movement that takes only fifteen seconds is a haiku to Japanese calligraphy’s three-step movement: ink brush to paper; movement to the right; the stopping of the ink brush. It is reminiscent of the famous Haiku Old Pond, by the poet Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) from the Edo period;
A frog jumps in
The sound of water
brought forth to the 21st century, Haiku sounds like this;
The top goes down
The car starts
The roof can be opened or closed at speeds up to 31 mph. An animated display on the instrumentation panel shows the top’s progress, and it also provides warning messages to confirm the status of the soft-top roof. One of the most impressive aspects is the time it takes: approximately 15 seconds to open and around 16 seconds to close.
A hydraulic system is responsible for opening and closing the convertible’s roof in an elegant, seamless motion. Three times the number of typical durability tests show the reliability and quietness of operation.
The LC 500 Convertible top comes in two colors:
Exterior color options include
Smoky Granite Mica
Infrared (the car I tested)
Nori Green Pearl
Depending upon the exterior color chosen, three interior colors are available:
Some colors require a premium paint charge of $595
Endless Summers in California
The LC 500 Convertible comes with an HVAC system that adjusts the temperature whether the top is raised or lowered. The Lexus Climate Concierge with Upper Body Heating automatically manages the air conditioner, seat heaters, neck heaters, and steering wheel heater to ensure the cabin is comfortable. Best of all, the HVAC system is even optimized to send warm or cold air to the back of the driver’s hands when gripping the steering wheel.
The cabin has less wind noise thanks to the beltline’s unique shape and rear molding to help suppress wind from entering. A standard transparent polycarbonate wind deflector helps restrict unwanted air from entering the cabin during low-speed travel, such as driving in the city. In contrast, the standard windscreen provides an improved cabin experience during your high-speed journey, such as freeway driving, for comfortable conversing with the top down. Active Noise Control (ANC) combines sound insulation and absorption techniques to suppress unwanted harshness from entering the cabin.
The naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 elicits an intoxicating note that beckons the driver to bring the engine to life. The front-engine, rear-wheel-drive LC Convertible shares the same direct-injected V8 powerplant as the LC Coupe. The engine is rated to produce 471 horsepower at 7,100 rpm and 398 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm. For the LC Convertible, the engine is paired with a Direct-Shift 10-speed automatic transmission. The Convertible posts an impressive 0-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds and its maximum track speed is electronically limited to 168 mph.
The naturally-aspirated V8 engine’s powerful roar is heard inside and out of the convertible. Engine intake pulses carry through a diaphragm into a sound pipe that carries the sounds of the V8, not the air itself, into the cabin to enhance its rumble (similar to the system employed in the Lexus LFA). A computer-controlled valve balances the fine line between optimizing exhaust back-pressure and exhaust tone and volume at higher engine speeds.
Inside, the LC 500 Convertible is equipped with an impressive 10.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multimedia display to provide immediate access to audio or climate controls and various systems, including the voice-activated navigation system.
The multimedia system features Android Auto compatibility, allowing you to seamlessly cast your device’s interface onto the vehicle’s multimedia display. Play your music via your favorite apps such as Spotify or send messages through a range of commonly used apps like WhatsApp, navigate with Google Maps, and request information all with just the sound of your voice through the Google Assistant.
With Apple CarPlay integration, you can access the familiar interface from your iPhone through the vehicle’s multimedia display. Connect an iPhone to get directions, make calls, send and receive a message via Siri, and access apps like Spotify, Audible, and Appl podcasts.
Bring all the convenience of Amazon Alexa compatibility on the road with the Lexus+Alexa app. Using only your voice, you can easily access thousands of the same functions you get with Alexa at home. Listen to audiobooks, stream Amazon Music, make lists, check the weather, get news briefings, and much more. You can also use it to control compatible smart-home devices such as lighting, thermostat, and security systems. Offering added in-vehicle convenience, Alexa even syncs to your Navigation System to provide on-the-go recommendations.
The Lexus Enform Remote service lets you lock and unlock doors, start the engine and climate control, check the fuel level, and more all through your smartphone, smartwatch, or devices enabled with the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. And it’s included for the first year of ownership.
Lexus Enform Destination Assist three-year trial is also included and acts as an in-vehicle personal concierge, providing directions and destinations delivered by a live agent.
Lexus Safety System plus
The new 2021 LC Convertible will come standard with Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+). This includes the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Lane Keep Assist, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Intelligent High Beams. Also, like the LC 500 coupe, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert comes standard.
There are important safety features specific to convertible, such as the active roll bars designed to deploy upward when a rollover is detected. When not deployed, these roll bars are hidden from view to retaining the convertible’s exquisite silhouette when the top is down.
2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible pricing and specs
V8, aluminum block and cylinder heads
Valvetrain DOHC, 32-valve, Dual VVT- I (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence
Horsepower 471 HP @ 7,100 rpm / 351 kW
Torque 398 lb. -ft @ 4,800 rpm / 540 Nm
Turning Circle (curb to curb) 5.4 m / 17.7 ft.
0-60 mph Acceleration (mfg. results) – 4.6 seconds
Estimated Fuel Economy (City/Hwy/Combined mpg) – 15/25/18
Coefficient of Drag (Cd) 0.33 (top-up), 0.34 (top-down)
2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible Pricing
2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible $101,000 ($113,320 as tested)
2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible Inspiration Series $119,800
The 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible is as much fun to drive as it is beautiful now if I can remember to hide it when the bidding starts. The Lexus LC 500 Convertible is expected to be on Sale in Summer 2020.