Lexus LC 500h 2018 Review

Versus the competition
The LC 500h’s electric gadgetry boosts fuel economy but not acceleration or handling like some sporty hybrids do.
The V-8-powered 2018 Lexus LC 500 has the sensual styling of a $200,000 concourse beauty and is a coupe that teeters on the edge of greatness. Its striking good looks make the $92,995 starting price (all prices cited include destination charges) a bargain. It's also available in a hybrid version, the $97,505 LC 500h I drove for this review, which is a more perplexing proposition.
How It Drives
Though Toyota and Lexus hybrids have never used the belt and pulleys we've come to know as a continuously variable automatic transmission, the innovative power-split gearing and functionality have historically had the same properties and sensation — gear ratios that change continuously rather than stepping up and down like a conventional transmission. It would be difficult to guess what kind of transmission(s) are driving the LC 500h if you didn't know the trickery it incorporates. I certainly didn't expect the gear changes to be so immediate and responsive when using the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters to manually select gears in M mode.
Should You Care About the LC's Fuel Economy?
Maybe you should care that the LC 500h's only trick is a mileage boost, because it's a huge 11-mpg jump from the V-8's 19 mpg combined rating, and that saves an estimated $1,000 a year in fuel costs. But I question if the LC 500h is the kind of car that needs a frugal alternative. Buyers can certainly make up the extra cost in 4.5 years based on EPA averages and current fuel costs even with the required premium gasoline, but I don't think that's the point of the LC 500.

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