The 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible is the flagship of the Lexus lineup. Because it is rare, I was constantly stopped by neighbors admiring the beautiful car. No denying it is beautiful. Even though it is not a folding hardtop (and Lexus engineers have the capability to make that happen), the LC 500 Convertible’s soft-top design allowed engineers to focus on accentuating the sleek lines of the convertible without significant intrusions to the trunk. Also, the contrast between the color of the bodywork and the top really helps to set off the body lines. Additionally, cabin and trunk space would be compromised with a heavier, bulkier hard top. The convertible features an innovative folding mechanism that includes a motorized tonneau cover that tucks the soft top away. According to Lexus, even the smooth roof movement is inspired by the three-step movement of Japanese calligraphy: ink brush to paper; movement to the right; the stopping of the ink brush. The entire process of opening or closing the top takes about 15 seconds and can even be done at speeds up to 31 mph!
A Powerful Touring Car
Moving onto the powerplant, the 5.0-liter (sorry, Vanilla Ice fans) V-8 is smooth and linear. The LC 500 gets up and goes but falls short of the three-second zero-to-60 run now commonplace in supercars. However, the LC powerplant is perfect for its duties as a grand tourer. Lexus rates the powerplant at 471 horsepower. For the LC Convertible, the engine is paired with a Direct-Shift 10-speed automatic transmission. According to Lexus, the new convertible posts a 0-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds, and its maximum track speed is electronically limited to 168 mph.
One thing Lexus really concentrated on was the ability to use the LC with the top down deep into cold weather. Our bodies are adjusting to outdoor dining in falling temperatures, so we might as well be able to enjoy the trip to dinner with the top down! The Lexus HVAC system automatically 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 that the cabin is comfortable. 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 neck heaters worked very well. Their intensity can be adjusted via the infotainment screen. Might as well be able to extend the top-down driving season, just like outdoor dining season. The Lexus HVAC provides the ultimate “outdoor tent” set-up.
Technology Allows Smartphone Integration
The LC features a 10.3-inch split-screen multimedia display. The only drawback is that you must use a touchpad to navigate the features. Although the HVAC system is awesome, having hard buttons for the heated seats, cooled seats, steering wheel and amazing neck heaters would be more convenient. We love to recommend aftermarket solutions that can make life better for the customer, but unfortunately the expense to reengineer hard buttons into the Lexus HVAC isn’t like adding fog lights to a Jeep. You’ll just have to deal with it.
Luckily, the infotainment system is crammed with the latest technology. There is Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. If you are an Amazon-phile, you’ll dig the new Lexus+Alexa app. It delivers the same functions that Alexa gives you at home. It makes it easy to ask your car to control compatible smart-home devices such as lighting, thermostat and security systems. If you like, Alexa even syncs to the navigation system to provide on-the-go recommendations.
Safety Nannies Keep You in Check When Pushing the Limits
All the traditional Lexus safety goodies are on board, including Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Lane Keep Assist, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Intelligent High Beams, and Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. Your local mobile electronics specialist can integrate these technologies into your older ride if you aren’t purchasing a Lexus today. The convertible additionally features active roll bars that deploy upward in case of a rollover. They otherwise remain hidden from view to maintain the sleek Lexus shape.
I really enjoyed the time I spent with the LC 500 Convertible. While everyone else is clamoring for the new Chevrolet Corvette convertible, the understated elegance and beautiful trimwork of the Lexus allows it to fit in with the Aston Martin and Bentley crowd. Of course, you’ll get better technology and save a lot of money. Why not check out the flagship Lexus?