Lexus LC 500: Risk Rewarded
Soft tan leather and Alcantara everywhere. Beautiful sculpted trim and surfaces. Ordinary elements made eye-catching. Our judges find so much to love about Lexus’s bold new coupe.
LC 500 boldly uses color, materials.
For years we found Lexus interiors to be uninspired spaces.
But inspiration struck the luxury brand’s designers big time for the LC 500 sports car.
The all-new luxury coupe is a winner of a 2017 Wards 10 Best Interiors award for its progressive beauty, bold use of color and materials, and making what typically are ho-hum elements of an interior exciting.
“So Lexus designers finally ripped off their clothes and went crazy in the studio,” says judge Drew Winter, calling the LC 500’s interior if not the best of the year, certainly the most interesting and different. “The whole car looks like a concept that just got pulled off an auto show turntable!” Judge Winter remarks.
Indeed. There’s so much to point at in the LC 500 and say, “Wow, they really did that?”
Our $103,000 test vehicle could have won on its doors alone, thanks to their swooping metal trim and unique carved creases, all covered with Alcantara faux suede. That material also wraps the entirety of the headliner and pillars.
Upper and lower portions of the doors are swathed in silky smooth leather, and when you open the door you see carbon-fiber scuff plates, part of our tester’s performance package.
At night, a hidden light glows beneath the door’s metal trim, further emphasizing curvature.
Tan, tan and more tan was the color scheme inside our test vehicle. Not only does it bring back a retro interior hue, it’s a nice change from the orange-y saddle color so trendy right now. And there are more bold, beautiful and risky interior colors available, namely Rioja Red and Bespoke White.
Bridging the center stack and center console is an artful leather-and-aluminum grab handle. In a place where you would expect one only in a coupe intended for hard driving, it works and is stylish to boot.
Another ordinary item made compelling is the hard-plastic trim on the cliff-like instrument panel, adjacent to the LC’s huge 12.3-in. (31-cm) display screen. The trim is textured with a cool pattern that is illuminated at night; drivers can choose either violet or gold ambient lighting.
“Stunning, with incredible attention to matching colors across the materials,” says Judge Bob Gritzinger.
But the LC doesn’t score highly on looks alone. It also is – despite its limited interior space – a comfortable, ergonomic environment. Seats are fashioned to look good and feel good as well, with Judge Gritzinger saying they fit him “to a T.”
Yours truly liked the just-right height of the center armrest.
And the LC’s displays have clear resolution and a crisp font, plus menus are logically organized with icons easy to understand.
“Right on par with Bentley,” says Judge Dave Zoia, with Judge Winter deeming the LC 500 just as nice as a $200,000-$300,000 Bentley but costing “a mere $100,000.”