Lexus LC Convertible vs. BMW 8 Series? LC Drop-Top Lessons From Goodwood
Lexus needs the LC convertible in its lineup. While the popular RX crossover and ES sedan pay the bills, cars like the LC—and especially an indulgent convertible version—set the tone for how the brand is perceived. So with that context in mind, we joined Lexus at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the British celebration of everything automotive, for a roundtable with the team charged with bringing the LC from disguised Goodwood prototype to sexy production car.
Here’s what we learned.
Lexus is Going Soft
Lexus has a history with hard-top convertibles, from the SC of the 2000s to the IS C of the previous-generation IS compact sporty luxury entry. With its high decklid, the IS C wasn’t as attractive as its competitors, so we welcome the change. Although Lexus didn’t outright confirm that the LC convertible would be a softtop, the team did point out that the technology with such tops has improved over the years—likely making it more viable for Lexus’ flagship two-door.
If Lexus does go with a lighter-weight and less complex soft top, it’ll be in good company. The new BMW 8 Series uses a soft top, and we’ve heard rumors that the next-gen Mercedes-Benz SL will stop using a hard top at the end of this generation.
A Weighty Question
Convertibles aren’t usually the pure enthusiast choice because automakers must strengthen the car’s structure to compensate for chopping off a coupe’s roof. In the LC’s case, we hear the target is to keep the inevitable weight gain to below 80 kilograms (or about 176 pounds). Regardless of where the LC convertible’s curb weight ends up, keep in mind that the LC will be a poor choice for stoplight drag racers. When we tested the 2018 Lexus LC 500 and LC 500h, we called the two coupes “heavy cars” and noted that even though the cars’ 0-60 times are impressive on their own, they’ll likely pale in comparison to the BMW 8 Series and Mercedes-Benz SL once the Lexus arrives in production form.
Instead, think of the LC convertible as a likely extension of the coupe: We said that despite some flaws, the coupe “provides a luxury experience nobody else currently does.”
You Had Me At “Lexus Convertible.” When Can I Buy One?
Wouldn’t you like to know? Actually, so would we. Lexus says the LC convertible has no specific timeline for launch, instead noting that timing is driven by when they reach their internal performance targets—signed off by Akio Toyoda. So although it’s safe to say the variant is on the way, it’s not clear exactly when.
How About a Coupelike Four-Door?
Well, they didn’t say no, but we wouldn’t count on it just yet. BMW has its 8 Series Gran Coupe and Mercedes-AMG the GT 4-Door Coupe. As for the LC, Lexus expects the convertible to account for half of overall model sales volume, and we’d expect the eight-cylinder LC 500 and six-cylinder hybrid LC 500h models to both be offered.
Lexus would only offer that the LC convertible will make its debut with a more refined version of the same infotainment system the current car has. We’re not fans of the LC’s touchpad, so we’ll have to wait to see how well the convertible’s system works. Speaking of which, that’s where we leave the story with the LC convertible—for now, take another look at the covered-up prototype and white LC concept in our gallery.
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