The 2021 Lexus LC 500 receives key refinements and updates for the new model year to further cement the connection between driver and machine. It has lost 22 lbs. of unsprung weight thanks to aluminum lower suspension arms; lighter and hollow stabilizers for the suspension; and lighter 21-inch rear wheels. The LC’s Vehicle Stability Control system is also enhanced with Active Cornering Assist, a feature that provides brake control to the inner wheels when G-force demands are higher.
In other words, it works when you’re really driving the thing hard!
Elephant In The Room
I’ll just get the obvious out of the way right now: Lexus, you have to change that grille. Lexus has all sorts of justifications for it, but none of them hold up. If it wasn’t for that grille, the LC 500 would be a gorgeous car. So, please, re-style that grille, will ya!?
Everything else really works though, from the large glass panel and blacked-out rear pillars, to the jet-inspired taillamps and the triple-projector LED headlamps. Minus the grille, the 2021 Lexus LC 500 also performs as well as it looks.
2021 Lexus LC: New & Logical Changes
There have been “logic changes” (odd choice of words but we follow what Lexus means) to the 10-speed automatic. The “logical change” here makes for more refined daily driving at 50 to 70 percent throttle, according to Lexus. Downshifting patterns were altered for the 500h hybrid as well. Lexus says the 500h will downshift to second instead of third to allow for stronger acceleration.
As before, the LC 500 is powered by 5.0-liter, naturally-aspirated V8 cranking out of 471 horsepower and 398 lb-ft. of torque. 60 mph comes up in 4.4 seconds. While EPA numbers are forthcoming, Lexus estimates the LC 500 will return 25 mpg on the highway.
2021 Lexus LC 500h: How The Hybrid Works
If you’re more eco-conscious, then the 2021 LC 500h is the choice for you. The Lexus Multistage Hybrid system pairs the gasoline engine with two electric motor/generators. Said plant is an Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 with direct injection and Lexus’ VVT-i system for ample response across the engine speed range. The new four-speed automatic has two gearsets, altering output in four stages to maximize toque delivery for the V6.
The LC 500h has a combined system output of 354 horsepower. The 500h uses a compact lithium-ion battery pack with 84 cells (310.8 volts), fitted neatly between the rear seats and luggage compartment.
For 2021, the LC features a 10.3-inch, high-resolution and split-screen display. Every LC is compatible with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa. Other apps include Spotify and Pandora, along with messaging through WhatsApp and navigation via Google Maps. Each of the on-board apps are voice-controlled.
There is also Lexus Enform Service Connect so your LC 500 can receive maintenance and service notifications (it alerts your dealer too). Lexus Enform Remote lets you lock and unlock the doors, start the engine and climate controls, and check the fuel level through your smartphone, smartwatch, or Amazon Alexa–enabled devices at home.
Advanced Safety Features
The 2021 LC 500 is dripping in advanced safety and driver support features. The Lexus Safety System+ is standard and features Lane Departure Alert with Lane Keep Assist; Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection; Frontal Collision Warning; Automatic Emergency Braking; and Pedestrian Detection.
Related: Confused by all the fancy names for safety features today? You’re not alone.
Also standard is All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Intelligent High Beams, and Blind Spot Monitor. Lexus Enform Safety Connect comes with a three-year trial with access to Lexus Enform response centers 24/7/365.
2021 Lexus LC 500: Pricing & Availability
The 2021 Lexus LC 500 is available now and starts at $92,950. The LC 500h begins at $97,510. Depending on your preferences, you can opt for one of two new exterior paint colors for 2021: Cadmium Orange or Nori Green Pearl.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.