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
2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT
It’s An SUV On A Track, Deal With It
When we started testing cars 43-years ago, hot rod SUVs like this Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT were not on our radar. Back in those days, utility vehicles were trucks and Porsches were cars. But times have changed, and the only place to make sense of it all is at a racetrack, so hop in and join us for some high-performance haulin’.
Now, most would say the high-performance SUV is a relatively new phenomenon, but we’ve been testing them for over 30-years now, going back to the GMC Typhoon. If you don’t remember that one, we’d suggest Googling it, purely for the nostalgia of it, as this 2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT is on a totally different level.
This SUV is an SUV in shape only, as a lot of its hardware as well as the driving experience are much more akin to a pure sports car… ah la the 911.
Starting with the Coupe version of Porsche’s largest SUV, which benefits from a mid-cycle styling refresh for ’24, the Turbo GT adds a carbon-fiber roof, big wing with side planes, rear diffuser, and a sport exhaust system with titanium tailpipes.
Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control is also included, making body-roll almost non-existent; and with the help of a new two-valve air suspension setup it was all traction all the time through the high-speed turns of Savannah’s Roebling Road Raceway. Though unlike last gen, if you’re aggressive enough with the throttle, you can get the rear to step out on you a little. Rear-axle steering is also included and the best praise we could heap on steering feel and feedback through corners is that it feels like a Porsche.
Tires are also wider than before: 315/35 Pirelli P Zeros in back, mounted on 22-inch GT Design wheels. The brakes behind are comprised of enormous carbon-ceramic composite discs with monster yellow calipers…
…and they truly were impressive on track, hauling this 5,000-pound, luxury-minded performance utility down from triple-digit speeds lap after lap without wavering.
This SUV is an SUV in shape only, as a lot of its hardware as well as the driving experience are much more akin to a pure sports car... ah la the 911.
Equally impressive is the powerplant that initiates those high speeds, Porsche’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 which cranks out 19 horsepower over last year for a total of 650; torque output remains the same, at 626 lb-ft. All-wheel drive is standard, as is an 8-speed automatic trans, which helps the Turbo GT get up to speed in a hurry; 3.1-seconds to 60, to be exact. That’s a couple of tenths slower than the first-gen Turbo GT we tested 2 years ago, but we’ll chalk that up to testing that one on a well-prepped drag strip versus this trip down Roebling Road’s slippery front straightaway on a 40-degree day. And it gained time back quickly, as our 11.3-second quarter-mile time was only a tenth slower, finishing at 124 mph.
Other notable changes for ’24 include a new dash and control layout for the interior. The highlight is a new 12.6-inch curved digital gauge display; it’s joined by a central touchscreen that sits higher up and is nestled into the dash more than before.
No more actual shifter in the console, as it’s been replaced with Porsche’s toggle switch gear sector which resides on the dash to the left of the touchscreen. That means a new console layout with additional storage space and new controls. While none of that helps lower lap times, it all provides a much more useful and better overall environment than before, for that time spent behind the wheel commuting or just sitting in traffic.
Front and rear seats are comfortable yet sporty feeling; and while it does do a lot of SUV-like things pretty well, the coupe body shape does limit rear cargo capacity to 20.3 cubic feet, expanding to 52.4 with rear seatbacks folded; and the central-mounted exhaust does negate adding a tow hitch.
No matter how you look at it, the Cayenne Turbo GT is an insane vehicle, but it also comes with an insane price tag, starting at $197,950. So essentially, that’s six-figures worth of high-performance hardware jammed into an already impressively capable standard Cayenne… an SUV made much better with comprehensive updates front to back for all ’24 Porsche Cayennes.
It easily remains the standard bearer for luxury-minded utility vehicles, evidenced by recently earning our Drivers’ Choice Award for Best Luxury Utility. But it’s this 2024 Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT that really impresses the most as the ultimate track-focused SUV money can buy. You may not need it, but you know you want it!
- Engine: 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8
- Horsepower: 650
- 0-60 mph: 3.1-seconds
- Starting Price: $197,950
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 625 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 11.3-seconds at 124 mph