Getting ready for summer: Time to take the top off

2021 Lexus LC500 Convertible tops off an excellent model year

Let’s face it, 2020 was the pits! Historically awful. We are all looking forward to 2021. And so far, the vehicles I’ve been able to drive indicate that 2021 will be a great year! First I had the C8 Corvette, which, you recall, I loved (one of my all-time favorites). Then just recently I had the Toyota Supra, which if you recall I also loved, but I indicated in that review that there might be a contender to knock the Supra from atop my favorite car list of 2021.

Enter my tester this week, which now sits atop that list. This week’s tester is the 2021 Lexus LC500 Convertible. As you know, I love convertibles. And new for 2021 on this luxury sports car is the convertible. Add all that to the already stunning, aggressive looks and the outstanding engine and you get a car that is special.

On looks, my tester had it all. I think the LC500 looks perfectly suited as a convertible. With the top down everything looks sleeker.

The grille is a perfect balance of elegance and aggression. The Lexus grille is big and garish but it’s saved by absolutely stunning LED head lights that resemble the Nike swoosh. The front end has distinction. And even if you don’t like the big grille, you have to admit that it has an identity. The side has an aggressive look with a cutout swoop on the side, near the back door.

Completing the looks is the back end, which is the LC500′s best feature. The tail lights have ultra-aggressive looks and the shape resembles the front head lights. Add that to the dual exhaust and the LC500′s back side is stunning.

Under the hood is a sporty and aggressive 5.0-liter V8 aluminum block engine. There’s a finely tuned growl that emanates from the dual exhaust. The engine makes 471 horsepower and the 10-speed automatic transmission keeps the power and revving well timed. The lower profile of the LC500 lets it hug the road and makes cornering outstanding. Forget fun to drive, this car is exhilarating to drive, in all gears at all speeds.

The photos I posted on my Instagram account (@driversside) showed off the interior perfectly and I called the LC500′s interior a work of art. And honestly it really is. The toasted caramel interior had suede-like materials on the dashboard and leather stitched accents on the seats and the dash. It had interesting angles that left a memorable impression and to say the touch points are special is an understatement.

Aluminum scuff plates match the aluminum pedals and the three-spoke steering wheel (covered in leather) felt amazing in your hands. And, as clunky as the Lexus infotainment system can be, with that touchpad, Lexus has managed to work around some of the features by adding a touchscreen and extra knobs and buttons.

It’s not the best infotainment system but it’s much improved.

With a work of art inside and a masterful powertrain, that comes with a big price tag. The base price is $101,000. With the touring package which comes with heated steering wheel, leather trimmed seats, climate concierge, embossed headrests and the Mark Levinson sound system, and that adds another $5,290 to the price tag. With other niceties like 21-inch forged wheels and the special exterior paint color, and my tester had a final price of $111,920.

When compared to the Corvette that I drove a couple months ago, there was more value to be found with that car (at about $45,000 less expensive). But, at least on the LC500 they don’t take any shortcuts and there are very shortcomings too.

There is a huge difference in fuel economy between the standard V8 and the wimpier V6 engine option. My tester, with that visceral V8 has an EPA rating of 16 mpg/city and 25 mpg/highway. When you spend over $100K on a car, you likely don’t care about a few extra trips to the gas station. I know I drove it heavy footed and had no problem filling it up. It was money well spent.

With the fantastic cars I’ve driven so far in the 2021 model year, I can say, 2021 you’re off to a great start! Keep it up! We all need it.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at


  • Price/As tested price................................................ $101,000/$111,920
  • Mileage.......................................... 16 mpg/city; 25 mpg/hwy
  • Engine............................................. 5.0-liter V8
  • Horsepower................................. 471 hp/398 lbs./ft.
  • Transmission................................. 10-speed automatic
  • Drive wheels................ Rear-wheel drive
  • Final assembly point................ Aichi, Japan

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