The Lexus 500 LC is continuing to evolve as it sheds weight and adds new features for the 2021 model year.
The 2021 LC 500 coupe, unveiled just a few months after the ragtop version, drops nearly 22 pounds of unsprung weight, which engineers accomplished by using aluminum lower suspension arms, lighter suspension stabilizers with a hollow design and revised diameter, new high-strength coil spring material, and lighter 21-inch rear wheels.
Once engineers were able to make it lighter, they focused on improving the coupe’s suspension, looking to provide a “smoother, softer stroke” which gives the driver better connection to the road. The engineers accomplished this with several key changes to the new model.
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For starters, the electronic absorber controls of the front suspension were adjusted to increase the length of the stroke. Rigidity was then increased in the rear stabilizers to enhance front turn-in ability to provide more linear steering input, so the driver feels more connected to the road.
To enhance vehicle controls at mid- to high-speed ranges the 2021 LC’s Vehicle Stability Control is enhanced with Active Cornering Assist. This system helps control cornering by providing brake control to the inner wheels during spirited driving.
Lexus also has introduced logic changes to the 10-speed automatic for 2021.
Direct-Shift transmission on the V8-powered LC 500 help provide enhancement for daily driving in what engineers refer to as the “active zone,” or the area where most drivers find themselves at in the 50-70% throttle range. The Direct-Shift transmission allows the engine RPM to expand in this range to accentuate the feeling of acceleration before shifting into the next gear.
Engineers also updated the downshifting model on the 500h Multi-Stage Hybrid System, as it now will downshift into second gear instead of third to allow for smoother operation and more robust acceleration out of hairpin turns.
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The LC 500 has an output of 471 hp and 398 lb.-ft. of peak torque and delivers a 0-to-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds and up to a manufacturer estimated 25 mpg on the highway.
Fifteen years ago, Lexus introduced the world’s first luxury hybrid. Now, the LC 500h carries on that innovative tradition as the first-ever Lexus Multistage Hybrid. Like other Lexus hybrid configurations, the LC 500h Multi-stage Hybrid System teams the gasoline engine with two electric motor/generators.
An Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine utilizes D-4S direct fuel injection for optimum efficiency while the lightweight valvetrain with Dual VVT-i ensures ample torque across the engine speed range.
Moreover, the system keeps the planetary-type continuously variable transmission from Lexus Hybrid Synergy Drive and adds a unique four-speed automatic transmission. Working in concert, the two gearsets alter output in four stages to utilize the V6 engine across the entire speed range.
In M mode, the two gearsets act together to provide the effect of 10 ratios, giving the LC 500h a highly engaging driving feel and allowing the driver to shift through the ratios with paddle shifters. In automatic mode, AI shift control matches gear selection to driving conditions and driver inputs.
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The combined system output of the LC 500h is 354 horsepower. With the Multistage Hybrid System, the power from the V6 engine and the electric motor can be amplified by the 4-speed automatic transmission, generating much greater drive power when accelerating. The LC 500h uses a compact, lightweight lithium-ion battery. The battery pack fits neatly between the rear seats and the luggage compartment and has a high-power density, with its 84 cells producing 310.8 volts.