Published on September 17th, 2020 | by Subhash Nair0
Lexus LC 500 Convertible is Truly Something to Behold
The Lexus LC 500 Coupé is one of the sexiest, most luxurious and well-packed cars in its class, and now it’s available as a Convertible model. The company has long teased this ‘drop-top’ variant of their flagship GT, first as a prototype at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed and then as a more production-ready preview at the 2019 Los Angeles International Auto Show. We got a few more teases over, with the production model being opened up for sale earlier this year. Now the LC 500 Convertible is being offered in more markets, so we thought we’d revisit this awesome looking vehicle.
The centrepiece of the LC 500 Convertible is, of course, the soft-top. It has four layers and its supporting frame is visible through the fabric. The top retains the roofline of the coupé, but the LC 500’s silhouette is a little different as the centre brake light has been moved into the trunk lid, which now kicks up slightly.
The roof can be dropped or redeployed at speeds of up to 31 mp/h (50km/h), and a digital animation on the instrument panel mirrors the progress of the mechanism for a touch of modernity. It only takes about 15 seconds to open and about 16 seconds to close. The soft-top can be optioned in either black or beige, but there’s a blue one on the very limited edition LC 500 Inspiration Series, which also come ‘Structural Blue’ with a few other aesthetic touches as well.
To retain the performance and safety of the coupé model, Lexus have taken great pains reengineer certain aspects of the LC 500. They’ve added and relocated several structural braces and retuned the suspension, reducing weight and swapping out components as needed. Here’s a look at those changes in detail:
Here’s a gallery of the new LC 500 Convertible for you to enjoy. The press release below contains additional information about the vehicle itself.
With a focus on providing the same dynamic and luxurious driving performance for which the flagship LC 500 coupe is known, the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible made its global debut at the 2019 Los Angeles International Auto Show. Expanding the aspirational two-door LC family, the LC 500 Convertible offers an additional way to stimulate the senses – with the top down. The exterior of the new LC Convertible stylishly blends the coupe’s unique roofline with the character of a convertible, achieving an exquisite profile with the top open or closed.
Designed from the Top, Down
The Lexus LC 500 Convertible echoes the coupe’s “Even Sharper, More Refined” driving characteristics, with a low center of gravity, optimal weight distribution, and a focus on performance-minded handling thanks to impressive structural rigidity. Lexus engineers relied on computer-aided engineering (CAE) analysis and real-world driving evaluation to match the driving qualities of its coupe counterpart, and the extensive research and development yielded impressive results.
Engineers aimed to retain similar handling dynamics to the LC 500 coupe while also improving chassis rigidity with the addition and relocation of various structural braces. The LC Convertible’s suspension is tuned specifically to complement the subtle changes in weight between the two platforms, as a reduction of un-sprung weight in the front suspension improves the overall stroke. In the rear, engineers were able to further enhance structural rigidity by reshaping and relocating the rear suspension brace tower. Weight was reduced in the rear of the vehicle by utilizing a lightweight die-cast aluminum suspension brace, while a performance dampener is employed to enhance ride comfort.
Drivers of the front engine, rear-wheel-drive LC Convertible can expect similar breath-taking performance to the coupe, thanks to the powerful drivetrain combination of the 5.0-liter V8 engine paired with the seamless Direct-Shift 10-speed automatic transmission. The naturally aspirated, direct-injection V8 is rated to produce 471 horsepower at 7,100 rpm and 398 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm.
Soft Top, Hard Demeanor
The LC Convertible’s soft-top design features an innovative folding mechanism that includes a tonneau cover for when it is stored. The design allowed engineers to focus on accentuating the sleek lines of the convertible without significant intrusions to the trunk and cabin space that can come with a heavier, bulkier hard top. The coupe’s curves are further highlighted with the silhouette of the convertible through a few key changes. At the rear, the trunk is accentuated with a “kicked up” design that lifts its profile slightly, while the surface of the spoiler is laterally broadened to emphasize the low, wide stance of the car. The center brake light is now integrated into the trunk lid, unlike the coupe where it rests on the top of the rear windshield. The four-layer soft top is designed to retain the flowing roofline of the coupe without the supporting frame visible through the fabric. The roof material itself was carefully selected and manufactured to ensure for optimal tension, to minimize wrinkling and improve sound insulation. The roof can be opened or closed at speeds up to 31 mph, while an animated display on the instrumentation panel shows the top’s progress. One of the most impressive aspects is the time it takes: approximately 15 seconds to open and approximately 16 seconds to close. The top is offered in two colors: black and beige. Exterior paint options on the convertible include Ultra White, Smoky Granite Mica, Liquid Platinum, Atomic Silver, Obsidian, Caviar, Infrared, Cadmium Orange, Flare Yellow, and Nightfall Mica. Depending upon the exterior color chosen, three interior colors are available: Black, Circuit Red and Toasted Caramel.
Shown at the 2019 Los Angeles International Auto Show was the Lexus LC 500 Convertible Inspiration Series. This special edition is limited to only 100 units, and it will be offered in Structural Blue with white semi-aniline leather interior trim, unique blue top, gray headlamp garnishes, side intake garnishes, and taillamp garnishes. Chrome/black 21-inch wheels come standard.
Top Down, Year ‘Round
With the new LC Convertible, even if the weather cools down that doesn’t mean the top has to stay on. In fact, the HVAC system is designed to adjust temperature automatically regardless of whether the top is raised or lowered, and if the top is down neck heaters are designed to help keep the upper body warm. The Lexus Climate Concierge with Upper Body Heating automatically manages the air conditioner, seat heaters, neck heaters and steering-wheel heater to ensure the cabin is at the ideal temperature even if the outside weather is not. The HVAC system has also been optimized to send warm or cold air to the back of the driver’s hands when gripping the steering wheel.
Engineers also took care to ensure the driving experience is ideal for all occupants. The cabin is designed to reduce wind noise thanks to the unique shape of the beltline and rear molding to suppress wind from entering. A transparent polycarbonate wind deflector helps restrict unwanted air from entering the cabin during city and freeway driving so occupants can enjoy comfortably conversing with the top down. There is also an available wind screen that further reduces wind buffeting at higher speeds. Active Noise Control (ANC) combines sound insulation and absorption techniques to help suppress unwanted harshness from entering the cabin.
While efforts are taken to keep certain sounds out, the powerful roar of the naturally-aspirated V8 engine of the LC family is a sound to savor. To make the engine’s throaty voice heard while the top is down, the engine’s intake pulses are naturally carried through a diaphragm into a sound pipe that carries the sounds, not the air itself, into the cabin to enhance the V8’s rumble (similar to the system employed in the Lexus LFA). There’s no electronic sound generation here! To further enhance the aggressive tone of the engine’s exhaust and augment performance, a computer-controlled valve balances the fine line between optimizing exhaust back-pressure and exhaust tone and volume at higher engine speeds.
Impressive Technology Top of Mind
Much like its coupe brethren, the Lexus LC 500 Convertible will come with an impressive 10.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multimedia display to provide immediate, simultaneous access to audio or climate controls and various systems, including the voice-activated navigation system.
For 2021, the LC Convertible will feature Android Auto, allowing you to seamlessly cast your device’s interface onto the vehicle’s multimedia display. Play your music via your favorite apps such as Spotify® and Pandora®, send messages through a range of commonly used apps like WhatsApp®, navigate with Google Maps™, and request information-all with just the sound of your voice-through the Google Assistant™. For added convenience, Android Auto can also deliver tailored information based on your calendar, usage activity and habits.
With Apple CarPlay® integration, you can access the familiar interface from your iPhone through the vehicle’s multimedia display. Simply connect an iPhone to get directions, make calls, send and receive message via Siri®, and access apps like Spotify™, Audible® and Apple® podcasts.
Bring all the convenience of Amazon Alexa on the road with the Lexus+Alexa app. Using only your voice, you can easily access thousands of the same functions you get with Alexa at home. Listen to audiobooks, stream Amazon Music, make lists, check the weather, get news briefings and much more. You can also use it to control compatible smart-home devices such as lighting, thermostat and security systems. Offering added in-vehicle convenience, Alexa even syncs to your Navigation System to provide on-the-go recommendations.
The Lexus Enform Remote service lets you lock and unlock doors, start the engine and climate control, check the fuel level and more all through your smartphone, smartwatch or devices enabled with the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. And it’s included for the first year of ownership.
Lexus Enform Destination Assist one-year trial is included and acts as an in-vehicle personal concierge, providing directions and destinations delivered by a live agent. The included Lexus Enform App Suite 2.0 app trial period offers access to favorite mobile applications through the vehicle’s center console display, including Amazon Alexa compatibility, NPR One, iHeartRadio®, Slacker® and Yelp®.
Safety Remains a Top Priority
The new 2021 LC Convertible will come standard with Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+). This includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Lane Keep Assist, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Intelligent High Beams. Also like the LC 500 coupe, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert come standard.
There are important safety features specific to convertible, though, such as the active roll bars that are designed to deploy upward when a rollover is detected. When not deployed, these roll bars are hidden from view to retain the convertible’s exquisite silhouette when the top is down.
Lexus Enform Safety Connect comes standard and is complimentary for the first 10 years of ownership with access to Lexus Enform response centers 24/7/365. With Lexus Enform Service Connect, also complimentary for the first 10 years, the vehicle can send alerts for specific factory recommended maintenance, simultaneously alerting a preferred Lexus retailer.