NEW LEXUS LC500

The LC500 is pure, old-school indulgence with front-mounted V8 and shaped-by-samurai warrior looks.

Design: Ultra-imposing from the hallmark spindle grille back. Unquestionably a strong design statement, but not the last word in elegance. Mix of steel, aluminium and carbonfibre just manages to keep kerb weight under two tonnes. Built at same plant that crafted LFA, and by the same Takumi craftsmen. Chrome mouldings along the side of the roof mimic the lines of a Samurai sword.

Driver’s Seat: The last word in comfort featuring Alcantara and semi-aniline genuine leather. The Alcantara trim is continued on the doors, dashboard and window pillars. The elliptical steering wheel’s profile was designed and refined to create the best fit for a driver’s hands while cornering, and the same process was applied to the alu paddle shifters.

Interface: TFT display in instrument binnacle can slide on command, as it does in LFA while 10.3in central widescreen dominates the wraparound dash. It’s operated by physical buttons and touchpad by transmission tunnel. Plenty of technology at your fingertips, all presented with a different mindset from certain luxury rivals. Some will appreciate the point of difference; others will find it overly complex.

Start-up: Refreshingly non-turbo V8 means Lexus covers both ends of performance spectrum with LC500 and LC500h hybrid. V8 clears its throat by broadcasting its broad-chested ability.

Cruise: Plenty of fluidity but not the delicacy some will have hoped for in flagship GT. Blame the weight and runflats? Tightly packed ratios of 10-speed Direct Shift auto mean plenty of imperceptible cog-swapping.

Overtake: Adaptive damping boasts five switchable drive modes via rotary control beside instrument binnacle. Transmission is notably less busy in Sport or Sport+ settings. Peak torque arrives at 4800rpm; push hard from here for maximum punch and glorious V8 wail.

Unleash: Sublime chassis balance is a highlight and LC500 cuts a rakish, streaking profile as it scythes its way down the road, the soulful V8 wailing its way to 7300rpm. Thrusting acceleration out of slow corners feels – and sounds – savage. It stops too, thanks to two-piece front ventilated discs, six-piston front brake calipers and four-piston rear callipers.

Configure: Carbon roof models get the Lexus dynamic handling system with active rear spoiler, active variable-ratio steering rack, and dynamic rear wheel steering.

Buy one: Intoxicating V8 is a wildly different proposition from 264kW hybrid option (with its new 3.5-litre V6 and lithium-ion battery). Potential buyers will probably lean heavily in either direction.

And another thing: The LC 500 was voted the 2016 Production Car Design of the Year, an honour bestowed by a 20-strong judging panel of some of the world’s top car designers.

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LEXUS LC500 COUPE

ENGINE 4969cc quad-cam V8

POWER 351kW (471bhp)

TORQUE 540Nm from 4800rpm

TRANSMISSION 10-spd auto

DRIVETRAIN rear-wheel drive

WEIGHT 1970kg

LENGTH 4.77m

WHEELS 21-inch alloy

TYRES 245/40 (f) 275/35 (r)

0-100km/h 5.0 secs

FUEL CLAIM 11.6L/100km

PRICE from $215,000

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