2021 Lexus LC 500

Change year or car

Change year or car


starting MSRP

2021 Lexus LC 500
2021 Lexus LC 500

Key specs

Base trim shown


The good:

  • Head-turning looks (coupe)
  • Satisfying powertrain
  • Comfortable ride
  • Interior quality
  • Quick-acting powered soft top (convertible)

The bad:

  • Barely usable backseat
  • Grabby brakes
  • V-8 gas mileage
  • Touchpad controller
  • Convertible loses some of the coupe’s style
  • Small trunk is even smaller in convertible

1 trim

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2021 Lexus LC 500 trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • New convertible body style
  • Android Auto connectivity now standard
  • Four-seat luxury sports car
  • 471-hp V-8 engine (LC 500)
  • 354-hp hybrid drivetrain (LC 500h)
  • Rear-wheel drive

2021 Lexus LC 500 review: Our expert's take

By Joe Wiesenfelder

The verdict: The convertible version of Lexus’ 2021 LC 500 does an admirable job of avoiding the common pitfalls of coupes-turned-droptops, but it also loses some of the original’s star quality.

Versus the competition: Where many competitors have more of an emphasis on performance, the convertible more naturally suits the LC 500’s casual, grand-touring feel. A non-turbo V-8 pays off with throttle response, but owners will pay more at the pump.

The Lexus LC 500 coupe has been an unlikely favorite of ours since its debut as a 2019 model. I say unlikely because we aren’t fans of the touchpad that controls important functions in many of Lexus’ vehicles, and because at $93,975 (with destination charge) for the 2021 coupe, it’s rather expensive. It may look like a supercar that would be priced even higher, but it performs like a grand tourer.

So what made the LC coupe a favorite? It’s a gorgeous, distinctive car, and for many buyers that’s more than half the battle (or all of it). It also has a quality interior and is very comfortable — for two. The backseat is barely usable, but that’s not uncommon for this car type. Arguable competitors that already came in both coupe and convertible form include the Jaguar F-Type and Mercedes-AMG C63. Both have lower starting prices but broader lineups. A more expensive competitor is the BMW M850i xDrive, also available in both body styles (see all four coupes compared). A more affordable two-seater with performance credentials is the new Chevrolet Corvette, which is currently a coupe, but a convertible is on the way.

Related: Lexus LC 500 Keeps Fresh for 2021 With New Colors, Driving Dynamics, Android Auto

So, how similar is the new soft-top convertible LC 500 to the coupe?

It’s common to find that convertible versions of hard-top cars have robbed Peter to pay Paul — or perhaps I should say to pay Sol, where Sol is the sun. In this analogy, Peter can be any number of characteristics, but traditionally it starts with structural rigidity because a solid roof plays an important role in stiffening a car, specifically preventing longitudinal twist; losing that rigidity allows vibrations and noticeable shudder that can lead to squeaks, rattles and premature aging. Car design and manufacturing has improved over the decades, but convertibles in particular have aged poorly compared with coupes and sedans.

Even when new, droptop versions of coupes often exhibit compromised handling for the same reason: Suspension design is all about geometry, and geometry demands consistency. There’s nothing consistent about a platform that’s as rigid as cooked linguine.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible engine 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible | Cars.com photo by Joe Wiesenfelder

Automakers have gotten much better about this kind of thing, and thankfully, so has Lexus with the convertible LC 500. Though there was no guarantee a convertible would get the green light, engineers designed the coupe to account for the eventuality. Look under the hood and you’ll see the same braces as the coupe, tying each strut tower to both the cowl and the front of the frame above the radiator. Unrelated but fascinating, you also see components near the front of the engine compartment already used in the coupe: two of the pyrotechnic cylinders that pop up the hood for pedestrian protection in the event of a collision, providing several inches of crush space between the unlucky ped and the engine block. They look like spring-loaded asthma inhalers.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible pyrotechnic cylinders 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible | Cars.com photo by Joe Wiesenfelder

Back to structure: You can also see a cast-aluminum brace spanning the rear shock towers — if you stop the top operation halfway through to take a look. What you can’t see includes additional gusseting at the base of the A- and B-pillars and a new torsion box in the rear.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible rear aluminum brace 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible | Cars.com photo by Joe Wiesenfelder

Behind the Wheel

To me, the car feels much like the original, though a direct comparison isn’t possible yet because Lexus changed the suspension of the 2021 hardtop, which I haven’t driven, promising “enhanced connection to the road and overall feel for the driver,” according to press materials. This says “firmer ride” to me, fool’s gold Lexus has been chasing for most of its existence, ignoring the success of the cushy original LS 400. In my opinion, most roads are best left unfelt, and the LC 500 Convertible fortunately still seems to lean in that direction even when fitted with optional 21-inch forged-alloy wheels rather than the standard cast-alloy 20s.

Speaking of leaning, it doesn’t do much of that; body roll is minimal. An adaptive suspension is standard, but to be honest, there’s so little difference in the ride quality when you switch among Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus modes that I incorrectly thought Lexus had decided to make the adaptive variable suspension optional on the convertible, leaving these modes to vary only the powertrain behavior. Many automakers have wisely begun to program their adaptive suspensions to keep their vehicle’s ride softer when traveling straight — even in sport modes — but to firm up in turns. If that’s what Lexus has done, it’s taken it to a new extreme.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible drive mode control 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible | Cars.com photo by Joe Wiesenfelder

As in the coupe, the dynamics are pretty good but far from the level of a Corvette or even the F-Type. Roadholding is mostly good, though the tail is a bit squirrelly if you get on the gas, a trademark of Lexus’ rear-wheel-drive performance cars. Prudent accelerator use and the electronic stability system keep things safe and in line.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible engine 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible | Cars.com photo by Joe Wiesenfelder

The powertrain remains a high point thanks to a 5.0-liter V-8 engine rated at 471 horsepower and 398 pounds-feet of torque, the same as the coupe. There’s no turbocharger, which is increasingly rare even among V-8s and is exclusive among the competitors mentioned above apart from the Vette. As a result, the throttle response is immediate and the sound is fulfilling and natural because there’s no turbo blocking the exhaust. There’s even a pipe that brings induction sound from the intake manifold into the cabin, sealed off by a diaphragm — what’s called a passive radiator in loudspeaker terms. The LC  also uses the audio system’s actual speakers to augment the sound, though the degree isn’t as great as what’s required in many turbocharged cars (including some Lexuses) nowadays. Standard active sport exhaust also lets the organic sounds loose in sport modes and at high revs by opening bypass valves in the mufflers.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible gearshift 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible | Cars.com photo by Joe Wiesenfelder

The 10-speed automatic transmission suits the car well. Though automatics with high gear counts tend to hunt and introduce lag, this one isn’t bad for the purpose at hand, which is not at-the-limits track driving. It does a good job of reading the needs in normal or spirited driving. If you choose to shift for yourself using the steering-wheel paddles, you’ll find that the reaction time is reasonably fast but that the transmission stair-steps through gears rather than jumping like the best automatics, including the Corvette’s.

Having 10 gears helps keep the EPA-estimated gas mileage semi-reasonable at 15/25/18 mpg city/highway/combined, which is 1 mpg combined lower than the coupe. Not surprisingly, the turbo competitors all rate at least a couple of mpg higher in their most efficient form, even though one comes with all-wheel drive rather than the LC’s rear-wheel drive. The naturally aspirated 2020 Corvette coupe rates slightly better at 15/27/19 mpg (the convertible wasn’t rated as of publication). All of these cars require premium gasoline.

At 4,540 pounds, the convertible weighs 200 pounds more than the coupe, which explains the mileage difference as well as a slight increase in the 0-60-mph time from 4.4 to 4.6 seconds.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible wheel and brake caliper 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible | Cars.com photo by Joe Wiesenfelder

For stopping power, the LC has impressive-looking six-piston front and four-piston rear brake calipers. I found the brakes strong but grabby, a common characteristic of by-wire brakes that use electric rather than vacuum assist.

The Top

Lexus was an early purveyor of retractable hardtop convertibles, but the company went with a simple powered soft top in the LC — and for that, we should all be grateful. The coordinated ballet of a retractable hardtop opening or closing had a great gee-whiz factor for a while, but the roof design proved to have plenty of shortcomings in most applications we’ve seen: Typically, they’re heavy, they take up a lot of trunk space, they’re relatively slow and often they require the car to be stationary to operate. Some models have needed clearance behind the car or the trunk lid would tilt back and bash into something. And perhaps worst, despite the best efforts of designers, they’ve often looked awkward. The retractable hardtop is starting to look like a passing fad, though there are exceptions that strive to avoid all of the pitfalls above, including the coming Corvette convertible.

Side view of a 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible | Cars.com photo by Joe Wiesenfelder

Lexus says the main reasons it avoided the retractable hardtop approach were to give the convertible a different profile than the coupe and to keep the car’s center of gravity low. In contrast to what we’ve seen from so many retractable hardtops, the LC 500 Convertible’s soft top doesn’t intrude into the trunk at all when lowered, which it achieves in a scant 15 seconds and while traveling up to 31 mph. Raising it takes 16 seconds. It’s quick enough that you don’t need the animation that appears on the instrument panel display, but it’s pretty neat.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible roof control 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible | Cars.com photo by Joe Wiesenfelder

Driving with the top down is pretty comfortable. There’s some wind buffeting, but the standard wind screen you can install behind the front seats helps keep it at bay. Unfortunately the screen is rather large and hard to store, but given how nearly useless the backseat is, you might as well leave it in place all the time. You can easily tilt either front seat forward and place items underneath it on the rear seats, which is their primary purpose given that the trunk is only 3.4 cubic feet — 2 cubic feet smaller than the coupe’s and embarrassingly smaller than the competitors, according to their provided specs: 7.3 for the F-Type convertible, 8.8 for the C63 cabriolet and 12.4 cubic feet for the M850 convertible, though cargo specs don’t always tell the whole story.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible rear mesh 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible | Cars.com photo by Joe Wiesenfelder

Top-down visibility isn’t bad either. The screen is just that — a mesh material — and a small glass wind deflector on the rear deck is, of course, transparent.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible rear visibility 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible | Cars.com photo by Joe Wiesenfelder

With the top up, visibility isn’t as good. The cloth forms a relatively wide C-pillar, as soft tops typically do. But this might be the sole downside of Lexus’ choice of soft versus hard. One of the other arguments for retractable hardtops is noise control, but the convertible’s cloth top is thick enough that the cabin is quieter than many non-luxury sedans and coupes. If it gives you any indication, I spent a lot of time playing with settings, trying to figure out if the wonderful engine sounds I couldn’t hear anymore were tied to a drive mode I had switched off when I finally realized it was because the closed top and windows were insulating me from the exhaust sound.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible touchpad 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible | Cars.com photo by Joe Wiesenfelder

About That Touchpad

Look, Lexus knows it has a problem with this touchpad system, called Remote Touch; otherwise, it wouldn’t have made the display in the 2020 RX 350 SUV a touchscreen. But the LC remains Remote Touch only. I tried to give it a fresh look, and I’m still not enamored. It’s hard to use while driving, particularly, and too many functions are buried a few levels deep. Move the pointer along the bottom row of menu icons, and some functions pop up to give you more direct access; I don’t know if this is a Band-Aid or the original design, but it’s not enough. Even more frustrating, the system incorporates many necessary functions, such as the climate controls. This is not merely a “multimedia” system that operates the stereo and navigation.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible multimedia screen 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible | Cars.com photo by Joe Wiesenfelder

On the upside, the 10.3-inch display is nice, it supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (the latter long awaited in Lexuses), and I was able to tune up and down the radio dial or preset list using switches above the pad and on the steering wheel; it’s remarkable how many steps some cars require to make this simple change.

Something’s Definitely Missing

The choice of a soft top was clearly the correct one, and the look is definitely not awkward, but I wouldn’t say the LC has survived its transformation from the coupe form unscathed. It’s a nice looking car with the top down, and it ain’t half-bad with it raised, either, but it doesn’t have the star quality of the coupe.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible taillight 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible | Cars.com photo by Joe Wiesenfelder

It’s a rich-looking car for sure, with intricate headlights and captivating taillights whose 3-D light bands move like a 1960s acid-trip film effects as you change your viewing position. All of this is good. But the coupe was a head-turner no matter where we drove it, even Los Angeles. The convertible got much less notice, top up or down. The coupe is rare enough where I live that this isn’t a case of the public becoming inured to a once new and captivating design. The loss of the coupe’s unique C-pillar fundamentally changes this car’s impact. Empirically, it’s less special. In this case, the only Peter I found is the car’s chief designer Tadao Mori. Mori was robbed to pay Sol.

Rear angle view of a 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible | Cars.com photo by Joe Wiesenfelder

I will always point out that the capability of a car to beat everyone else’s ass on a racetrack is oversold — and overtouted by people in my line of work. Criticizing a car like this one that does 0-60 in 4.6 seconds as a bad performer is preposterous on the grand scheme. There’s more than enough performance here for most buyers and most prudent driving scenarios. There’s also nothing wrong with comfort, and if this car can do what it does and be comfortable, too, I’m all for it.

All of that being said, Lexus’ vehicles are typically priced lower than BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes, and the main thing to us justifying the LC 500 coupe’s price tag was its look. Starting at $102,025 with destination, my LC convertible test car with optional equipment cost $111,325. Time will tell if the convertible, an empirically less special looking version, will justify its even higher price.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Photo of Joe Wiesenfelder
Former Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder, a Cars.com launch veteran, led the car evaluation effort. He owns a 1984 Mercedes 300D and a 2002 Mazda Miata SE. Email Joe Wiesenfelder

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 5.0
  • Interior design 4.9
  • Performance 5.0
  • Value for the money 4.9
  • Exterior styling 5.0
  • Reliability 5.0

Most recent consumer reviews


GT Me-Please!

Before I bought my LC500 I made a list of the things I want in a car and how I usually use a car. I wanted something that did everything well-handle, sound great, accelerate, ride, be reliable, not cost a fortune to maintain. I wanted a daily driver and I wanted the best car I could afford, not two cars-one for every day and one for the weekend. I don't track or autocross my cars' Though I occasionally drive "spiritedly" I don't drive at 10 10nths. I drive at least 50% on the highways and rarely at speeds under 45mps or in stop and go traffic. I settled on a GT, the LC500. I wasn't as interested in 0-60 times as I was in getting a highway star, a road warrior. The Mark Levinson audio system is the best car audio system I've ever heard. The interior is top quality, futuristic but practical and the buttons and switches look and feel top quality, are placed well and offer all the options I want while still being intuitive. The car has a 2 stage exhaust so if you keep your foot out of it you can enjoy quiet cruising and listen to the tunes, if you jump on it the staccato of that lovely 471hp V-8 cracking off F-1 sounding shifts at the 7300rpm redline raises the hair on the back of your neck! a hefty coupe at just over 4300 lbs. the rear wheel steering, limited slip diff and adaptive suspension make it feel smaller and it's quite nimble and toss-able and the 10 speed always knows the right gear to be in and how hard to shift. It looks really low but has 5.2" of ground clearance. The touchpad interface for the infotainment system can be distracting but there are several shortcut buttons for common commands and the voice activation is great. I'd never seen an LC in person until I took delivery and have to say photos don't do this car justice-the car is stunning! The Lexus grill doesn't work for me on all Lexus' but it works on the LC. I think this car is a future classic. They've made fewer than 10,000 worldwide so it gets tons of attention. I'm in love!


Top Notch

I own the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible and it is amazing to say the least. Words cannot describe this amazing car. I have owned Mercedes, Land Rover, Cadillac, and Corvette and the Lexus by far beats all name brand and luxury vehicles hands down. People look when you are driving down the road because they cannot figure out what kind of car it is. Price tag wasn’t bad on the car either when it comes to a luxury vehicle with all the top notch features.


Absolutely love this car!

Bought my LC convertible last April and absolutely love this car. Fast, smooth and sounds like no other luxury sports car. This one’s a keeper!! Destined to be a classic!

See all 8 consumer reviews


New car program benefits
48 months/50,000 miles
72 months/unlimited distance
72 months/70,000 miles
6 months/5,000 miles
Roadside assistance
48 months/unlimited distance

Compare the competitors

See all 2021 Lexus LC 500 articles