At most auto shows, there’s one car that steals the show and runs away with most of the journalist jibber-jabber, whether published or just murmured on the convention floor. At NAIAS 2016, that car is far and away the new 2017 Lexus LC 500.
This rear wheel drive, V8-powered, 467 horsepower grand tourer boasts gorgeous styling bred from the popular Lexus concept, the LF-LC. While it doesn’t use the experimental, alternative fuel power train of that concept vehicle, it’s ever bit the aesthetic match of that car. It’s a beautiful machine and one of those few, glorious incidents when an automaker more or less built the concept car.
While the LC 500 keeps the blessed V8 alive and well within the Lexus line, don’t call this a sports car under penalty of a good smack in the face from Lexus. It’s still a luxury performance car first, built for comfort, stability and driving pleasure.
Yes, it’s fast with a 0-60 time of 0-4.5 seconds and designed to corner like a cheetah. Still, this is a classy ride for men of means. We do mean “men” because the bloodless turnips of the world should stick to their hybrid e-boxes and leave the living alone to enjoy V8 beasts like this. And, we do mean “of means” because the LC-50 will run north of $100,000 when it arrives in a year or so.
During the car’s big debit on the first Press Day of NAIAS 2016, Lexus debuted a car that kept much of the LF-LC’s sweeping, aggressive exterior design. The LC 500 includes a carbon-fiber roof and wide, deep, gleaming version of Lexus’ signature spindle, honeycomb grill. A rear diffuser and active rear spoiler manages airflow and creates downforce during high speed driving. Finally, it speeds along on machined cast aluminum 20 or 21 inch forged aluminum wheels.
But, again, doubt call this is a sports care. We don’t want the hottest car at NAIAS 2016 to get anybody hurt.
Lexus has been transitioning away from “stately, stuffy” luxury to much more engaging passion and sportiness. If anyone doubted the automaker was all-in on that redesign, the LC 500 should drive over that doubt, back up, drive over it again and bury it in a ditch outside Torrance, Calif.
Of course, that doubt will be dug up and moved to a shallow grave near Plano, Texas. But that’s a story for another, much warmer day away from Detroit.