Hard to imagine but the Lexus brand has now been around for more than 30 years and has proved that the Japanese can go head-to-head with anyone when it comes to delivering the sort of features luxury buyers expect.
That said, while Lexus vehicles are reliable, quiet, comfortable and lavishly equipped, they’ve often fallen short in terms of emotional excitement.
That’s something parent Toyota’s CEO Akio Toyoda set out to solve when he declared that future Lexus products would amp up the “passion” quotient.
Overview: The implementation of that mandate became readily apparent with the debut of the Lexus LC during the 2018 model year. If anything, the emotional factor is heating up with the addition of the 2021 LC 500 Convertible. Where some cabriolets can be awkward in appearance, the LC ragtop retains the sumptuous shape of the hardtop model while making it easy to drive al fresco in a matter of seconds.
The new convertible is an instant head-turner, quick to draw admiring smiles and thumbs up from other motorists and pedestrians. It’s also plenty of fun to drive, whether the top is up or down, though it doesn’t quite deliver the sharp sports car performance and handling of some key competitors.
Exterior: As you’d expect of any of today’s Lexus products, all LC models feature the signature “spindle” grille, here in an intriguing mesh pattern. It’s framed by cats-eye LED headlamps and a crisp crease that appears to be pinching the center of the grille. The steeply raked windshield adds to the sense of motion, even when the LC is parked. And subtle air scoops behind the doors build the visual sense of performance.
“The LC Convertible’s soft-top design features an innovative folding mechanism that includes a tonneau cover for when it is stored,” a statement from Lexus explains.
“The design allowed engineers to focus on accentuating the sleek lines of the convertible without significant intrusions to the trunk and cabin space that can come with a heavier, bulkier hard top.”
There are a handful of changes made to the convertible, including a slightly kicked-up trunk lid, while the rear spoiler is broadened to emphasize the width of the LC. The rear high-mounted stoplight also has been relocated – as is common with ragtops,
… The softtop itself is a four-layer design that helps reduce noise when closed. It can be opened with a single touch in just 15 seconds, with it taking one more second to put it back up. The ragtop can be operated at speeds up to 31 mph …
Interior: Ostensibly, the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible is a four-seater. Conceivably, you could put a few adults in the back – though don’t expect to remain on speaking terms afterwards. A couple kids? Perhaps, but the back is really more of a parcel shelf and there, as much as anything, because true two-seaters are penalized by insurance companies. Oh, and you’ll need the extra storage space when traveling because
the trunk is a minimalist exercise comprising just five cubic feet.
The good news is that there’s good room for those sitting up front, and both seats offer extensive power-operated settings.
The optional sport seats in our test vehicle were nicely bolstered so you stay comfortably in place during even the most aggressive maneuvers.
The cabin also is lavishly outfitted and precisely executed, both hallmarks of the Lexus brand. The layout emphasizes the horizontal, accentuating the width of the cabin. To give it a subtle, cockpit-like feel, there is a divider rising out of the passenger side of the center console which includes a grab handle.
Lexus wants to encourage buyers to keep the top down as much as possible with a “Climate Concierge” featuring an “Upper Body Heating” system that automatically adjust the climate control, seat, steering wheel and neck heaters to keep things comfortable at all time. The system even adjusts automatically to blow hot or cold air, when necessary, to the driver’s hands as they grip the wheel.
The LC 500 offers a broad array of options. Some of our favorite include the semi-aniline leather upgrade, along with the 13-speaker Mark Levinson stereo system that may have you going out to the car t
o listen to your music.
Powertrain: In coupe trim, Lexus offers two powertrain packages for the LC 500, starting with a reasonably peppy hybrid, distinguished as the LC 500h. The gas-electric driveline isn’t offered on the convertible, however. It comes solely with the LC 500’s 5.0-liter engine. It’s classic muscle, no slick turbos or superchargers, just a big V-8 making 471 horsepower, 398 pound-feet of torque – and a delightfully rich and resonant exhaust note, especially when shifted into sport mode.
… The V-8 is mated to a smooth and quick-shifting 10-speed automatic and, like the coupe, power continues to be directed only to the back wheels …
Fuel economy is on a par with similar products, the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible getting 16 mpg City, 25 Highway and 19 Combined, according to the EPA. Our own experience was a little less generous, though we also spent a lot of time with the throttle tipped in.
Technology and Safety: To start with, what you get with the LC 500 Convertible largely mirrors what you find in the coupe, including a 10.3-inch touchscreen controlling its Enform infotainment system. For 2021, the automaker added Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.
Also in line with the coupe, the cabrio packs in the Lexus Safety System+ offering Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Lane Keep Assist, All-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Intelligent High Beams. Also like the LC 500 coupe, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert come standard.
Drive Impressions: Setting aside the short-lived Lexus LF-A supercar, from a driver’s perspective, the 2021 LC 500 is the most sporty and exciting product the normally staid brand has yet produced. The menacing roar of its V-8 alone provides quite a thrill when you mash the throttle to the floor.
The reality is that the LC 500, in all three incarnations, is more grand tourer than true sports car. If you’re a real performance fan, it helps to opt for the Performance package which adds such useful features like variable steering and adaptive rear-wheel steering.
They can’t completely overcome the fact that the chassis is nowhere near the stiffest and most well-planted in the segment, but they will add to the thrills for all but the most serious sports car fans.
Wrap Up: There are plenty of reasons why Lexus has, over the past three decades, grown to become one of the most successful luxury brands on the U.S. market. There also were some obvious reasons why it wasn’t on the consideration list for many a high-end buyer.
The arrival of the LC coupe in 2018 changed the equation. It features a strikingly appealing design – as long as you’re good with the controversial Lexus Spindle Grille – lots of power and solid road manners. It may not be sportiest of sports cars, but only the most extreme performance fans are likely to quibble.
Final pricing is not yet available but look for a starting price of around $100,000 for the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible, up from $93,975 for the LC 500 coupe and $98,535 for the LC 500h coupe hybrid.
See 2021 Cadillac Escalade Get Driven With Blocked Windshield
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade test units are out and about, and first drives have already been orchestrated. A handful of journalists and YouTubers have started pouring out content about the full-size luxury SUV. That includes us with our Escalade First Drive Review.
The Fast Lane, however, took a different route and made videos that are out of the ordinary. We’ve seen the channel do some off-roading with the Escalade, something owners won’t probably do when they get their hands on one.
This time, The Fast Lane Truck does a review with the Escalade’s bevy of tech toys. And as crazy as you would expect from the channel, the folks there tried to drive the SUV with a blocked windshield and front windows. How? By using the Escalade’s VR function displayed on the instrument panel. The resulting video was bonkers, which you can watch on top of this page.
Speaking of, the driver was able to go around the course without issues, twice even, and you can see in the video that he even reached speeds of up to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour) before coming to a halt.
Before you raise your pitchforks, let us all be reminded that TFL Trucks did the test on a close course, so the test looked safe. Although as expected, both the driver and his passenger felt queasy after the virtual drive. But overall, at least now we know that you can still drive the new Escalade even if your windshield got broken – so as long as the front camera’s intact.
See the full crazy test on video and let us know what you think through the comments section below.
Fancy Acer Book RS By Porsche Design Comes With Carbon Fiber Cover
Porsche RS models are revered for their performance both on and off the race track, as they are admired for their flurry of carbon fiber materials. Porsche Design is back with another collaboration to showcase its styling prowess – this time it’s with Acer and its latest laptop.
Named the Porsche Design Acer Book RS, this fancy laptop signifies a new partnership between the two brands, something that fuses Porsche Design’s functional design philosophy and engineering mindset with Acer’s technological innovations and deep-rooted knowledge in the global computer segment.
The high-end notebook comes with a minimalist design, but a closer inspection reveals a 3k carbon fiber cover, striking a contrast against the diamond-cut CNC-machined chassis. With the use of this lightweight material normally used for race cars, the entire Acer Book RS only weighs 2.76 pounds (1.25 kilograms) while only measuring 0.63 inches (15.99 millimeters) thin.
Underneath the classy body, the Porsche Design Acer Book RS is equipped with the latest 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processors with Intel Iris Xe graphics and optional discrete NVIDIA GeForce®MX350 GPUs and 16 GB of RAM. The 14-inch FHD IPS3 touchscreen is covered with a layer of Antimicrobial4 Corning Gorilla Glass with an immersive 90% screen-to-body ratio.
The Porsche Design Acer Book RS will be available in North America with a starting price of $1,399.99. A premium package, which comes with equally great-looking accessories such as premium package i7 notebook, travel pack, and mouse, will be priced at $1,999.99. This chic Acer laptop will also be available in Europe and in China.
This isn’t the first time that Porsche designed a gadget. Back in 2018, a Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS came into fruition, which had a price tag that started at $1,800.
GMC Hummer EV’s WTF Mode Does A Weird Song And Dance Before Launching
First thing’s first. What the heck is Watts to Freedom? In short, it’s the GMC Hummer EV version of Tesla’s Ludicrous Plus launch mode, both in function and in its gimmicky nature. What does that mean? Ludicrous refers to Ludicrous speed from the classic 1987 Sci-Fi spoof Spaceballs. Meanwhile, the acronym for GMC’s Watts To Freedom is WTF, and we’re sure you know what else that stands for. But wait, there’s more
Engage WTF mode in the recently revealed GMC Hummer EV, and you won’t just launch to 60 mph in three seconds. For starters, the truck will hunker down a couple of inches before putting its GM-estimated 1,000 horsepower (735 kilowatts) to the ground. That’s a functional component of going fast, but less functional are the sounds that emanate from the Hummer EV’s speakers and animations that pop up on its digital screens.
GMC doesn’t offer a specific description of what this means, but the B-roll footage below takes us through the process starting at the 28-second mark. Once activated, a low-pitch humming sound reverberates through the speakers, and a snazzy animation on the main screen morphs to a third-person view of a Hummer EV poised on a space-themed runway. Meanwhile, the dash displays “Watts To Freedom” with stars and bars, along with a message that advises “repeated usage will cause accelerated wear on vehicle.” The driver can choose cancel or let’s go, which isn’t quite as catchy as I want my mommy or bring it on but hey, you get the point.
Selecting let’s go puts the system into motion. The truck lowers (which is also shown on the instrument display) and the driver is eventually prompted to press the brake and accelerator. This is the interactive part, as the driver must brake hard enough to get the all-important green checkmark to then floor it, all while the sound increases in both intensity and annoyance.
With the pedals mashed and the Hummer EV ready, release the brake and it’s off to the races. Presumably, drivers will be concentrating on the road while sprinting to 60 mph, so they won’t see the mini starfield flashing on the digital instrument board next to the speed readout. However, everyone will hear what sounds like the USS Enterprise going to warp speed through the speakers. At least it’s more pleasant than the low-resonance buzzing that starts it all off.
Is the GMC Hummer EV fast? Yes, it certainly is. However, experiencing all the pomp and circumstance that’s not at all similar to Tesla’s various quirky Easter eggs could easily be considered gimmicky in the best of circumstances. We’re at least curious to try it all in person as opposed to seeing a close-up on a video, but we suspect these aspects of WTF Mode might have more than a few people asking WTF GMC was thinking with all this.
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