2018 Lexus LC 500
As a luxury high-performance flagshgip coupe, the Lexus LC 500 must not only feature enough style to attract attention to the brand; but it also needs to back that up with impressive performance. Both keep buyers happy, and get the automotive press like us excited. So, let’s find out if this all-new luxury missile delivers.
Well, this 2018 Lexus LC 500 certainly has the level of refinement you expect in a top-tier automobile. And remarkably, Lexus was able to keep most of the LF-LC concept’s dynamic lines in place; as the LC looks better in person than we ever imagined.
And that includes the ultra-slim LED headlights, and the best interpretation yet, of Lexus’ controversial spindle grille. From the rear, there are hints of the LFA supercar. But from any angle, it’s one slick, ultra-modern looking piece of automotive sculpture, that holds its own against the best in sheet-metal benders like Aston Martin.
Standard wheels are 20-inches, but you’ve come this far, so why not opt for the 21s?
But as modern as the exterior is, the interior is spiced with retro flavor. Lexus designers were allowed to have some fun here, and it shows; as they’ve managed to infuse it with a mishmash of mid-century automotive Detroit clichés. It’s way cool!
The very linear dash has a flowing design highlighted by chrome-trimmed controls, horizontal vents, sharp angles, grab handles, and well-integrated infotainment.
There are mini-stalks behind the wheel for some controls, while audio inputs reside on the console; unfortunately, so does Lexus’ not terrific touchpad controller. It all combines for a beautiful, modern space, with a time warp sense of a bygone era.
Front seats are very luxurious and comfortable, though there’s not much space in the rear for taking along friends. It’s clearly at 2+2. Which makes it perfect for using the space packing for weekend getaways with your significant other, as there’s just 5.4 cubic-ft. of room in the trunk.
Fire up the engine, and there’s a nice powerful burble coming through the dual exhaust tips.
That audio comes from a 471-horsepower 5.0-liter normally-aspirated V8 with 398 lb-ft. of torque. A 10-speed Sport Direct Shift transmission channels all of the goodness to the rear wheels. A 3.5-liter V6-based hybrid is coming as well.
But the V8 goes like a rocket, and even feels like one blasting off the line. We leapt to 60 in 5.0-seconds flat, with just a touch of wheel-spin at launch.
The transmission rifles through gears with CVT-like smoothness, and you hear virtually nothing in the cabin except for some fantastic V8 exhaust notes that sound more like a 60’s muscle car than an Asian luxury coupe. The ¼-mile run was 13.3 seconds of utter smoothness at 110 miles-per-hour.
As for handling, well, there’s a lot to love; but there’s no getting around the fact that the LC is a heavy beast. Curb weight is 4,280-lbs.
You have to engage Sport+ for it to feel really serious, and even then you mostly notice it in throttle response and steering, as handling stays amazingly flat no matter what mode you’re in.
Steering feel is awesome, something we don’t say often, and certainly not in reference to a big Lexus. It is very quick and direct. There is a slight understeer tendency, but plenty of mid-range torque to overcome it with just a quick stab of the throttle.
We averaged very consistently short 105-foot stops from 60. However, brake pedal feel was very inconsistent. Yet, it didn’t affect the numbers.
Away from the track, Comfort mode keeps thing pleasant and inoffensive in every way, for that true Lexus experience; with barely any noise seeping into the cabin, and all of the serenity of floating through outer space.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 16-City, 26-Highway, and 19-Combined; which we almost matched exactly at 18.9 miles-per-gallon of Premium.
A $92,995 base price will keep sales limited, but it’s a relative bargain for those who are able to enjoy the finer things in life; fully competitive with cars costing 50-grand more.
So the 2018 LC 500 does indeed deliver; it’s quite the personal-luxury 2+2 euro-styled grand-touring flagship coupe, that fully encapsulates all that Lexus is about, yet at the same time points to where they’re undoubtedly headed.
- Engine: 5.0 liter
- Horsepower: 471
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 5.0 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 13.3 seconds @ 110 mph
- EPA: 16 mpg city / 26 mpg highway
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined