2021 Lexus LC Convertible Review - Open It Up In Style

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
We’re committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using links in our articles. Learn more here
Fast Facts

2021 Lexus LC500 Convertible Fast Facts

5.0-liter V8 (471 horsepower @ 7,100 rpm; 398 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm)
10-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive
15 city / 25 highway / 18 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
16.0 city, 9.5 highway, 13.0 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price
$101,000 (U.S) / $122,500 (Canada)
As Tested
$112,420 (U.S.) / $124,742 (Canada)
Prices include $1,025 destination charge in the United States and $2,215 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can't be directly compared. A Monroney was not provided for this test unit, so we're
2021 lexus lc convertible review open it up in style

What if I told you one of the best old-school muscle-car convertible experiences available today came not from a Detroit 2.5 automaker but Lexus?

That may sound crazy, but it’s true.

The LC500 Convertible offers up an essential V8 drop-top experience that’s on par with any Mustang GT that goes topless.

The 5.0-liter V8 strikes the right notes – and with the top-down, provides a lovely aural experience – while also providing plenty of power. Four-hundred and seventy-one horsepower and 398 lb-ft of torque, to be precise. Power that gets to the ground via a 10-speed automatic.

Not only that but the LC’s lines aren’t ruined too much by the switch from coupe to convertible.

Nor is ride or handling or structural integrity tremendously compromised. It’s true that the coupe version of the LC feels a bit more tightly screwed together and a bit more responsive and sure-footed, but the LC ‘vert is still a delight to drive.

Suspension tweaks, including the reduction of unsprung weight from the front suspension and the movement, as well as the addition of structural braces, helps. So does a reshaped and relocated rear suspension brace tower. An aluminum rear suspension brace helps reduce weight, and a dampener helps with ride comfort.

Heavy, even with the weight reduction? Yes, to be sure. And like most Lexus’ models these days, including the performance cars, the steering is a tad heavy and artificial in feel. Yet, the car still feels spry in cornering.

So, yeah, Lexus has taken a performance coupe and chopped the top and done so in a manner that doesn’t detract too much from the car’s abilities. That’s nice. How’s the rest of the experience?

Well, predictably Lexus-like. That means the car rides comfortably if a bit stiffly sprung, when not being pushed, and the cabin is cozy. Unfortunately, Lexus’ infotainment system is still operated by a touchpad, and it is not easy to use, at least not when you’re in temporary possession of the car. Perhaps it’s easier for owners who acclimate to it.

The infotainment system itself looks a bit outdated, though the availability of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto provide a workaround.

Outside of the touchpad, the other big annoyance involving the interior is the hidden switch for the droptop. Though, again, owners will likely quickly know how to access it. I must admit to having to Google how to find the switch when the car was first delivered to me.

Once you do find the button, the top drops in 15 seconds. Add one second for the amount of time it takes to raise it. You can operate the top at speeds up to 31 mph, which makes for a neat party trick to show off for your neighbors on the road.

Most droptops look less sexy than their coupe brethren, especially with the top up, and that’s the case here, though it’s not too gawky. Top-down, the LC looks much better.

Standard or available features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, adaptive variable suspension, radar cruise control, lane-keep assist with steering assist, lane-departure alert, active roll bars, heated and cooled front seats, power tilt/telescope steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, navigation, satellite radio, Bluetooth, CD player, head-up display, 20- or 21-inch wheels, Torsen limited-slip differential, heated steering wheel, upper-body seat heat, and premium audio.

Lexus didn’t provide us with a Monroney for this car, but one similarly equipped to my loaner cost $112,420 including fees.

The LC isn’t perfect. It feels heavy and ponderous at times, the infotainment system is behind the times and has a difficult to use touchpad, and there are some odd interior design choices. That all fades with the top dropped and the V8 rumbling.

The six-figure luxury convertible class – and market – is pretty small. For fairly obvious reasons. If you’re one of the well-heeled who has intent on a top-down tourer for the summer (or year-round, should you live in one of the so-called “smile” states), you don’t have a ton of choice.

At least not if you want a luxury/sport balance. Most of the cars in this class are performance-oriented. And probably better suited to aggressive driving, though the Lexus is no slouch. What the LC does is combine style and speed.

Credit Lexus for not mailing it in with this car. Should the LC tickle your fancy, you’ll be quite pleased.

Those in search of ultimate performance might seek out the Jaguar F-Type or Porsche 911. But if balance is what you seek, don’t sleep on the LC.

[Images © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

More by Tim Healey

Join the conversation
2 of 18 comments
  • Kmars2009 Kmars2009 on May 04, 2021

    Some day... I will have one! I need my inheritance... Then I will get a used one. The price is still a bit high, even if I have millions. Why lose money?!?!? Still an awesome car regardless! Or maybe I should just marry money. LOL

  • The Invisible man The Invisible man on Mar 10, 2023

    Touchpad is no $ale.

  • Jeff Of all the EV trucks I like the Rivian the best but I am still years away if ever from buying an EV.
  • Kwik_Shift I definitely like the looks of the newest 300s over the Chargers.
  • SCE to AUX "Should car companies shack up with tech giants in order to produce legible infotainment systems and the like? Or should they go it alone?"Great question(s).The River Rouge days are gone, where Ford produced whole cars out of raw materials entering the plant at the other end. Nearly everything is outsourced these days - sometimes well, sometimes disastrously.But the problem with infotainment systems is that they are integrated with the car's operation. VW has delayed entire products for issues with infotainment.For me, the question boils down to a contractual arrangement - who owns and maintains the code forever? Since more and more of the car's function is tied to the infotainment system, I'd argue that the car mfr needs to own it - especially the larger ones.Do mfrs really want to share intellectual property with Huawei just to fast-track some code they've managed themselves in the past?
  • Kwi65728132 I always did like the styling of the 300C and it was on my short list for a new (to me) rear wheel drive, naturally aspirated V8 luxury sedan but I found a Hyundai Equus that was better optioned than any 300C I could find and for several grand less.
  • Redapple2 .....300S ....and Charger and Challenger, have been long overdue for an update, but still sell well. Thx EPA