This is the stuff dreams are made of; a day at the Texas Motor Speedway in Denton, Texas driving a Lexus LC 500, Lexus LC 500 h, Toyota Camry and a Toyota Camry hybrid.
The car is beautiful, inside and out. Ian Cartabiano, Exterior designer, runs his hand from the Spindle grille all the way up to the roof where the grille begins. Cartabiano shows a great respect for the art of design with the LC 500, from the head lights to the tail lights.
William Chergosky, interior designer, for the LC 500 has complimented the technology in the car with a human touch, a contrast of layers. As the door opens, I see a fan of fabric on the inside of the door. I sit in the cockpit, and the simplicity of design hides the intensity of technology available to the driver.
Paul Williamsen, Global Manager, Lexus Strategic Communications at Lexus International, explained the luxury coupe had two electric motors in the hybrid. To mimic the 10-speed automatic (with paddle shifters) transmission in the V8, there is a continuously variable transmission and a conventional four-speed automatic transmission in the hybrid.
An exceptional piece of technology is the Bridgestone Turanza run-flat tires that have fins on it that keep the tires cooled. There is another fin in the apex of the corner where the side mirror is usually located to reduce wind noise. Amazingly, the LC 500 is half the weight of an early Lexus coupe.
Let’s face it, I will never be able to afford a $96,000 Lexus LC 500h, but man was it fun to drive! I will never get tired of the sound of the burble and the squeal of tires going around a corner. Anyone who knows me knows that I love hybrids and plug-in hybrids. And, when I looked at the gasoline versus gasoline hybrid pricing the numbers, and the amount of fun, were pretty equal;
2018 Lexus LC 500 pricing, performance and mpg
LC 500 $92,000 optioned up is $117,000
Horsepower (SAE) 471 HP @ 7,100 rpm
Torque 540 Nm / 398 lb.-ft. @ 4800 rpm
0-60 mph Acceleration (mfr. results) 4.4 sec.
Top Track Speed (mfg. estimates – electronically limited) 270 km/h / 168 mph
EPA Estimated Fuel Economy* (city/highway/combined mpg) 16/26/19
Coefficient of Drag (Cd) 0.33
2018 Lexus LC 500h pricing, performance and mpg
LC 500h $96,510 optioned up is $115,890
Horsepower (SAE) 295 HP @ 6,600 rpm
Torque 348 Nm / 256.7 lb.-ft. @ 4,900 rpm
0-60 mph Acceleration (mfr. results) 4.7 sec
Top Track Speed (mfr. Results – electronically 250 km/h / 155 mph limited)
Manufacturer-Estimated Fuel Economy* (city/highway/combined mpg) 26/35/30 mpg
Coefficient of Drag (Cd) 0.33
If I were able to afford a LC 500 h I would get it in Structural Blue, a new vehicle paint technology to emulate the blue Morpho butterfly’s wings. Native to North and South America, the Morpho butterfly is renowned for the intense shimmering blue of its wings. But in reality, the wings are colorless. The blue seen by the naked eye is created by light interference on their microscopic lattice surface structure.
According to Lexus, The pigment is used to produce a new paint in a production process taking 8 months, including 12 production steps and 20 quality inspections. The paint is applied to the LC’s bodywork in a 15-micrometre layer between the primer and clear coats. Nano-structures – super-small flakes – in the paint generate iridescence, giving the impression of the colour constantly changing with the light. Conventional pigment paints reflect less than 50 per cent of incoming light as a visible blue colour, but with Structural Blue the level is nearly 100 per cent. In total, 300g pigment with 300 billion pigment flakes are used for one LC.
Such is the fine quality of the process, only two Structural Blue cars can be produced in a working day at Lexus’ Motomachi factory, the high-technology home of the LC.
I came back down to earth when I drove the Toyota Camry around the track. Now mind you, I don’t know anyone that will drive a Camry the way I was driving it around the Texas Motor Speedway, but it was a good test to ring it out.
I drove the Toyota Camry SE 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder, 203 hp @ 6,600 rpm and 184 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm that gets 28/39/32mpg.
I didn’t get to drive the XLE 3.5-liter, V6 gasoline only that produces 301 hp @ 6,600 rpm and 267 lb.-ft. @ 4,700 rpm and gets 22/33/26 mpg
I did drive the XLE hybrid 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder with a Hybrid System Net Horsepower 208 horsepower and (SAE Net) 176 hp @ 5,700 rpm
Torque 163 lb-ft @ 3,600-5,200 rpm. Now here’s the best part; the fuel efficiency on the Toyota Camry is amazing – 44/47/46 mpg.
The 2018 Toyota Camry hybrid is a compliment of pricing and mpg that is only met by the Toyota Prius. IF you compare the 2018 Honda Accord pricing and mpg versus the 2018 Toyota Camry hybrid the 2018 Toyota Camry hybrid wins;
2018 Toyota Camry hybrid pricing and mpg
2018 Toyota Camry HV LE $27,800 51/53/52 mpg
2018 Toyota Camry HV SE $29,500 44/47/46 mpg
2018 Toyota Camry HV XLE $32,250 44/47/46 mpg
2018 Honda Accord pricing and mpg
2018 Honda Accord EX CVT $27,470 30/38/33 mpg
2018 Honda Accord EX-L CVT $29,970 30/38/33 mpg
2018 Honda Accord EX-L CVT w/ Navi $30,970 30/38/33 mpg
Toyota’s Bob Carter has his favorite, the two-tone 2018 Toyota Camry XSE Sports Edition, and he is right, it is almost like Toyota introduced two Camrys, one for the sports enthusiast, the other for pricing and fuel efficiency.
It was a good day.