Look and Living
Walking up to the Lexus LC500h you cannot be impressed by its striking looks, its a low angular aggressive looking coupe. I wasn’t sure at first but soon warmed to it. Taking a look around the outside the rear is equally as angular as the front with a raked rear window. Opening the boot reveals a smallish boot, no room for golf clubs here I fear. The electric motor between the rear wheels and the battery help give a balanced weight distribution but take away from boot space, resulting in a high floor.
Inside the Lexus LC500h
You can see that it is well equipped and finished in high quality materials, a leather dash and centre console. Alcantara headlining and door finishes also comes as standard. The rear seats are small with little legroom, suitable for small children or short journeys if the front passengers are not too tall! Its a classic 2+2 coupe.
Most impressive though is the figure hugging seats, they are extremely comfortable and hold you in place as you drive the car, even cornering hard.
The car has two cup holders in the centre console in case you was wondering, a usb and jack plug socket in the centre armrest.
The steering wheel has a lovely feel and controls for the phone and cruise control. Other levers behind the wheel control indicators and windscreen wipers. There is an additional control on the dashboard above the driver instruments to select driving mode, more on that later. The driver instrumentation is digital and clear, with different dials depending which drive mode is selected.
Storage is average with a smallish glove box and centre console locker, which opens very smoothly. There is some storage in the door pockets which I always appreciate.
I was very impressed with the beautiful finish and materials of the car, although some of its functionality was a little quirky.
The Lexus LC500h controls are managed through a 10.3 touch pad in the centre console, you can split the screen so the navigation remains on half of it whilst you adjust car settings. It was the first time I have used one in a car. Similar to a touch pad on a laptop you soon get used to using it. Its a little fiddly and I’m not sure I would want to use it when driving. That said, it seems to be the new norm. I’ve seen an alternative to touch screen, a control knob in the new e-Golf where you scroll and click, also a bit fiddly so not sure which I prefer.
The heated seats are also controlled through the touch pad and screen. This is a little strange as it takes about 3 or 4 clicks to get this, a simple button is much easier and more effective on a cold morning! The seats can also be cooled, which is a nice feature on a warm day. This particular model is the top of the range Sport Plus which is very well equipped. It includes adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitor, advanced lane keeping assist, reversing camera, hill assist and traffic sign recognition.
I found the optional head up display one of the better examples of this technology and very good to use, keeping your eyes on the road and being able to monitor your speed and see the speed limit at the same time.
The car also comes equipped with pre-crash safety technology that will brake and tension the seat belts if the car thinks there is an unavoidable collision occurring. Should the car collide with a pedestrian it will activate its ‘pop-up hood’, this slightly raises the bonnet of the car to reduce injuries to the pedestrian.
In summary, the car has lots of great technology and driver aids but nothing that gives it a leap forward in terms of EV technology.
Performance and Drive
There is no doubt that this is a quick car, 0-60 in 4.7 seconds, it combines a 3.5 litre v6 petrol engine and a 132kw electric motor, both powering the rear wheels only. Uniquely the car combines a mechanical 4 speed gearbox with a CVT resulting in an equivalent 10 speed box. Gear changes are smooth and unnoticeable, there are manual paddles if you prefer, however there seems little point.
There are 4 driving modes, economy, normal, sport and sport plus. All alter the suspension stiffness and gearbox settings depending on the mood you are in. With adaptive variable multi-link suspension the car rides and handles very well with little body roll. It absorbs lumps and bumps well, even in the very pot-holed roads we have at this time of year.
The car uses the combination of electric motor and performance petrol engine well. One problem I have always had with performance petrol engines is the need to work them, keeping the revs high to maintain the power zone. With the electric motor though this is not the case, the power is always there, even at low revs, which allows for instant pick up at low revs when you are motorway cruising.
The most annoying feature of this car is the false exhaust note that is played through the hi-fi speakers in sport mode! Its terrible, no-doubt someone thought it was a great idea, its not. Fortunately this feature can be turned off.
There is no doubt that this is a great 2+2 luxury coupe which handles beautifully.
Range, Charging and Greenness
The LC500h is more of a sports coupe with added performance through an electric motor than an EV with pretensions of being a ‘green car’. The car does have an EV only setting but this will only take you up to 5 miles, which is no distance at all compared to its competition. This and a higher than class average Co2 output of 145 (combined) means that the car is not eligible for any of the current government grants. A combined mpg of 44mpg in the official figures, real world though is likely to be lower.
As a normal hybrid there is no EV range, the petrol engine charges the battery when it needs it. The brakes and heat from the engine is also utilised to charge the battery.
For a hybrid the CO2 emissions are very high and the range very low. Anyone buying this car buys it for the performance, not for its green credentials.
Specifications and Extras
The specifications of all the cars in the LC500 range are high, this model the Sport Plus being the highest. There is very little to add only the head up display and improved stereo. The safety and driver support features are standard across the range
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An aggressive looking 2+2 sports coupe that is a pleasure to drive, however it make little pretense to be a 'green car'.
- Great Quality
- Short Electric Range
- Boot space
- Rear seat room
- Green credentials