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2021 Lexus LC500 Convertible First Test: Flawed—and Fabulous

Decades from now, the Lexus LC convertible will shine at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Free from the practical demands of new-car buyers, no one will think twice about unintuitive tech or question why the turn signal stalk feels like it belongs in a Toyota. People won’t fixate on how a 471-hp convertible could be out-accelerated by a 335-hp AWD competitor; instead, they’ll salivate over the sound of a naturally aspirated V-8. Remember those? They’ll walk around the LC500 and admire the inimitable design. From a brand once associated with hybrids and sensible luxury, the 2021 Lexus LC500 Convertible is a refreshing change of pace for drivers focused more on emotion than track-tested performance or frustrating touchpads.

However, the 2021 Lexus LC500 Convertible makes 471 hp, and you’re curious, aren’t you? Even if the LC500 is for many buyers destined to be a second (or third) car, MotorTrend testing puts its 471 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque into perspective. Taken by itself, the 2021 Lexus LC convertible’s 4.7-second sprint to 60 mph sounds impressive, and achieving that time wasn’t difficult. We produced our best acceleration times by using pedal overlap and then releasing the brakes once the engine reached 2,000 rpm. On the street, the LC500 Convertible is a gentle cruiser as the engine doesn’t really pick up until about 4,000 rpm. If the engine’s roar is all you want to hear, don’t merely enter one of the car’s sport modes; use the magnesium paddle shifters to relish every tunnel and freeway underpass.

A sub-5.0-second 0-60-mph time isn’t slow, but against the Lexus’ competition, it’s not great. We’ve tested a 523-hp BMW M850i AWD convertible and reached 60 mph in only 3.9 seconds. BMW suggests the AWD version of the six-cylinder, 335-hp 840i convertible will hit that benchmark speed in 4.6 seconds, while the last-generation Mercedes-Benz SL450—a 362-hp I-6-powered hardtop convertible—made it to 60 in a claimed 4.9 seconds. What those numbers hide is the fact all those desirable drop-tops except the M850i are significantly more efficient than the Lexus. No, buyers of six-figure convertibles don’t often have efficiency top of mind, but it’s a means to an end: More efficient cars usually offer their owners more miles on the road before having to refuel. For the full story, check out this article from Motor Trend.

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