Previewed as a "concept" at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit back in January, a drop-top version of Lexus' flagship grand tourer is finally here. Making its debut at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show is the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible, and it looks to deliver everything we loved about its fixed-roof brother—concept car looks, raucous V8, beautifully crafted interior—while being able to stow its cloth roof away at the press of a button.
Available in black or beige (or blue if you're lucky enough, but more on that later), the LC Convertible's four-layer soft-top takes 15 seconds to open, 16 seconds to close, and can be operated at speeds of up to 31 miles per hour. It adds 217 pounds to the LC 500's curb weight, tipping the scales at 4,497 pounds compared to the Coupe's 4,280.
Don't think Lexus simply sawed the roof off of an LC Coupe, bolted on a soft-top and called it a day, however. Much mechanical engineering's been done to offset the weight and balance penalties that come with a retractable top half. Structural braces have been relocated and suspension tuning's been tweaked. There's apparently less unsprung weight in its front suspension now and the two-door Lexus' rear suspension brace towers have been reshaped, relocated, and die-cast in lightweight aluminum for better structural rigidity. Performance dampers have been fitted for the benefit of ride comfort.
The roofless LC also goes to great lengths in letting its occupants enjoy the open air even when weather conditions aren't perfect. It has neck heaters built into the seats. Its beltline, rear molding, plastic see-through wind deflector, Active Noise Control, and an optional windscreen are designed to keep things aurally serene and hats intact.
While wind and road noise are kept to a minimum, Lexus hasn't made the mistake of blocking out noises we do want to hear. Namely, the growl of that 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated V8. Carried over from the LC 500 Coupe, it makes 471 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque and is paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. A physical sound pipe transfers the V8's sonic goodness into the cabin, making itself heard even when the top is down and the Mark Levinson stereo is turned way up. In a move seemingly crafted to influence social media posts, Lexus goes out of its way to stress that those ML speakers are not at all involved in the enhancement of engine noise.
"There’s no electronic sound generation here!" reads the company's press release. Yes, the Lexus PR team actually typed those words out, exclamation mark and all.
What those speakers will play, however, are the tunes you're already streaming through Spotify, Apple Music, or even Amazon Music because this Lexus comes with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa at the ready on its 10.3-inch screen.
Now for some not-so-great news. Those of you salivating over the beautiful Structural-Blue-on-white-leather example seen here will likely have to have some pretty deep pockets or know somebody who knows somebody at Lexus to actually be able to pick one up. Officially known as the LC 500 Convertible Inspiration Series, only 100 cars will be finished in this color scheme which means interested customers should probably get on the phone, er, now.
For the rest of us who'd be perfectly happy with an Atomic Silver, Ultra White, or Flare Yellow example, the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible will go on sale in the summer of 2020.
Now, about that LC F...