You don’t buy a 2023 Lexus LC 500 for the numbers

Instead, you buy the Lexus LC 500 for the gem of an engine, and the head-turning, concept-car styling
Instead, you buy the Lexus LC 500 for the gem of an engine, and the head-turning, concept-car styling

by Ben So and Nathan Leipsig | August 11, 2023


I like big coupes, especially ones with comfortable seats, decent practicality, and a big V8 up front. Of course, looks are important as well, and if it has the handling to match, it would be pretty much perfect. It’s the main reason why I own a C6 Corvette Z06, and adore the BMW M850i xDrive so much. But although there is still plenty of life in my C6, it probably won’t be around forever, so I’ve been itching to find out if the 2023 Lexus LC 500 — the poster child of everything I like in a big coupe — is the car for me. Eventually.

First off, the styling. Lexus absolutely killed it with this design. It is overstyled in many ways, but all comes together beautifully. It is a showpiece of what the company’s L-Finesse design philosophy represents — the signature LED daytime running lights, oversized spindle grille, the simple yet athletic body contours, and the striking rear end all come together beautifully for what is, in my humble opinion, one of the best exterior designs in the industry today. Our tester has the optional Performance Package that adds, among many other things, a carbon fibre roof and a power-retractable rear spoiler, for additional form and function.

Lexus has long carried the reputation of high-quality craftsmanship and uses some of the finest materials for their cars. The LC is the pinnacle of that, using a good mix of Alcantara and leather, cleverly placing the Alcantara in low-touch areas so it can stay looking fresh, longer. The driver-centric cockpit has every control well within arms-length reach and I love the pleasing and calming overall design of the LC’s cabin.

Unfortunately, when it came to living with the LC, the aesthetics did not translate well to usability. For example, there is only one cupholder located beside the shifter, in a location that is somewhat obscured by the dashboard. I also could not find a place to properly store my phone after connecting it through USB to use with Android Auto — no wireless connectivity here.

Then there is the Lexus’ outdated infotainment system. It requires you to input commands using a trackpad, which severely hampers the overall experience. Sliding your finger around while driving is distracting, to say the least. What makes it worse is that many of the frequently used functions, such as steering wheel heating and climate controls for the seats, are buried within the menus. We tried using voice commands as well, but found that the experience lags behind that of many other luxury automakers.

The good news, though, is is that the 13-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system is absolutely phenomenal, and that for 2024, Lexus will be updating the LC with its new 12.3-inch high-definition touchscreen infotainment, all but eradicating the LC’s biggest weakness.

Quirks aside, I enjoyed the comfort provided by the optional sport seats as part of the Performance Package, as well as the whisper-quiet ride. Most unwanted noises are well isolated, except for the road noise from the Michelin summer performance tires, which were louder than expected. Despite the larger 21-inch wheels, bumps are well-absorbed by the adaptive suspension system, and ride quality is exactly what we expect from Lexus. Cargo capacity measures in at 153 litres, but the opening is wide enough to accommodate my golf bag with no issues, though I wish the trunk lid was power-operated to better suit the LC’s luxury grand-tourer nature.

Underneath the long hood lies the tried-and-true 5.0-litre V8 engine. It deserves a lot of recognition for being one of the last remaining naturally aspirated V8s fitted onto a luxury sports car. Not only does it deliver all of its 471 horsepower in the silkiest way possible, but it also manages to do so in the best sounding way possible. The engine responds to early throttle inputs with a subtle and burly roar, and gradually ramps up its vocal cords as you keep your foot on the gas pedal. In the sportiest Sport+ mode, the LC responds to every shift through its 10-speed automatic transmission with a loud bark. The soundtrack is so good as it nears its 7,100 rpm redline, that its 4.4-second zero-to-100 km/h sprint time feels almost secondary. Fuel economy is rated at 15.2 L/100 km in the city, 9.7 on the highway and 12.7 combined. I achieved 13.9 L/100 km over my week-long, city-heavy commute, which is well within my expectations for any V8 sports car.

When it comes to driving dynamics, the LC 500 is a bit mellower than I expected. The electric power steering rack is more vague than I prefer, and its 4,300-plus pound curb weight is really evident when you throw it into a corner. The Performance Package tidies things up considerably over the standard LC, and I enjoyed feeling the optional limited-slip rear differential work its magic while exiting a corner. But overall, the LC 500 behaves more like a big luxury sedan than the exhilarating sports car I wanted it to be.

Standard drivers assists on the LC 500 includes Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beam, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. While these features work well together to keep me alert of my surroundings, they trail many of its main rivals. It’s also worth noting the 2024 LC gets a significant update here, too.

For 2023, the LC 500 starts at $105,200. The optional Performance Package adds $18,450 to the window sticker, bringing the as-tested total to $123,650. It is actually a bargain when you compared to other luxury four-seaters in the market, namely the M850i and the Porsche 911. The LC turns just as many heads as much more expensive cars, if not more.

At the end of the day, the 2023 Lexus LC 500 checks off almost every box on my automotive wish list. It is big, spacious, comfortable, and carries itself with an incredible amount of theatre. Yes, I would have preferred sharper reflexes, but I also know my demanding self would not have liked the sacrifice in comfort. So, do I want one? Yes, I do, but I will not be rushing to get one knowing next year’s model will bring on some much needed updates.

See Also

2021 Lexus RC F Track Edition

2022 Lexus IS 500 F-Sport Launch Edition

2023 Toyota GR Supra 3.0 MT

Vehicle Specs
Luxury sports coupe
Engine Size
5.0L normally aspirated V8
Horsepower (at RPM)
471 at 7,100
Torque (lb-ft.)
398 at 4,800
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
The Podcast

About Ben So


Ben has been living and breathing car magazines, spec sheets, and touring auto shows for his entire life. As proud member of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada, he keeps a close eye on the latest-and-greatest in the auto industry. When he isn't geeking out about the coolest new cars, he's probably heading to the next hidden-gem ice cream shop with his three quickly growing kids.

Current Toys: '97 Integra Type R, '07 LS 460 RWD, '08 Corvette Z06, '18 Odyssey Touring