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Lexus LC 500h:


With the signature of Governor Wes Moore, the state of Maryland joins California in its pursuit of cleaner air via cleaner cars. As a fan of clean air I completely understand Moore’s motivation, but the skeptic in me (it’s always there…) fails to see many similarities between Maryland, a sparsely populated state on this nation’s east coast, and California, a densely populated state in the west. An automotive population made up only of battery-electric vehicles is a big step, while the production of more hybrids is a logical step. And if more of those hybrids were to look like the Lexus LC 500h, it’d be a beautiful step.

Since its launch in 2017, the LC 500 – in V8 guise – and LC 500h have almost been outliers in the sports/GT category. Although Porsche, Ferrari and others have offered the tightly drawn 2+2 over the years, with room for two adults and a couple of kids (or, more likely, a couple of bags), there’s nothing ‘tightly drawn’ about the LC 500’s expansive footprint. This, kiddos, is a big ‘un, with an overall length of 187+ inches sitting on a wheelbase of 113 inches, and displacing over six feet of your garage stall’s width (without mirrors!). And you’d better give the garage floor a structural inspection, as the LC boasts a curb weight of 4,400+ pounds…empty.

To credit the designers, the LC has been artfully rendered; there’s nary a proportion or detail I can fault. While fully of this century in its profile and sculpting, it’s chock full of shiny bits, from its grille and roof accents to twin exhaust outlets and 21-inch rims. As I’ve written before, whether as a coupe or convertible the shape is – in this well-schooled view – drop-dead gorgeous (Lexus notes its GT represents ‘the most passionate expression of the brand), and easily worth the garage addition should you buy it.

Inside, the youngsters will undoubtedly fault the somewhat dated dash, whereas those that can actually afford the $100K outlay will enjoy the relatively intuitive controls and easy-to-control audio and ventilation. The press info also notes the instrument panel’s low height and the narrow A-pillars, giving the driver a commanding view of what’s in front of him or her, despite the car’s relatively low height and aggressively raked windscreen.

In front, that driver and passenger will be accommodated by comfortable, supportive buckets, while your 8-year-old should be comfortable in back. But when the kid hits ten he’ll probably hail Uber. Again, this is tightly drawn, and even if your rear seat passenger’s head will fit and butt is comfortable, the legs probably won’t fit…or be comfortable. Lexus describes it as a 4-passenger vehicle, and when insuring it I can only hope your State Farm contact concurs.

In Maryland, perhaps the biggest news is the hybrid drivetrain motivating the LC 500h. In lieu of the more traditional V8, early in its gestation Lexus introduced a hybrid variant. (Now, seemingly, every OEM is doing it in the high-performance sphere – or about to do it.) In combination with a 3.5 liter V6 developing, all by itself, 295 horsepower and 257 lb-ft of torque, Lexus adds to the mix two electric motors, transmitting the combined system’s 354 horsepower through both a CVT and (AND!) a 4-speed automatic. Put to the pavement, expect 60 to be reached in as little as 4.7 seconds, while the City/Hwy/Combined EPA estimate is 26/34/29. 

Obviously, no one spending six figures on a 2+2 needs to worry about the Exxon statement at the end of the month (although they might worry about Exxon’s share price…), it is nice to be somewhat in line with the clean air conversation. And the end result of this tech is a seamless, almost visceral experience – and, if you can believe the EPA, almost 30 miles per gallon!

Given its low volume, no one in Lexus marketing is pushing the LC 500 aggressively, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve your attention, whether in Annapolis or Anaheim. For those wishing Porsche still built a 928, or regard Ferrari’s $250K Roma a (financial) leap too far, the Lexus would serve as a credible substitute. And for those wishing Corvettes were still front-engined (or Chevy had ever offered a 2+2 ‘Vette), the Lexus is there for everything but track days. 

In sum, you might consider saying ‘hi’ to this Hyboy.

Boldt, a contributor to outlets such as, Kelley Blue Book and Autoblog, brings to his laptop some forty years of experience in automotive retail, journalism and public relations. He is a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, The Washington Automotive Press Association and L.A.'s Motor Press Guild. David is the Managing Editor of txGarage, a regular panelist on the AutoNetwork Reports webcast/podcast, and the automotive contributor to Dallas' Katy Trail Weekly.

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