It’s a similar mix of old and new inside the cabin, with a digital instrument cluster borrowed from the LFA and colour heads-up display flanked by an abundance of physical buttons and switches. It’s signature Lexus but feels a little out of kilter with the expansive touchscreens found in rival cars. The sensitive touchpad controller and busy infotainment system make for a combination that’s difficult to use while on the move.
On the road, you get the sense that you're driving the last of a breed, with pace that isn’t explosively quick, because peak torque doesn’t arrive until you’re deep in the rev range and peak power isn’t delivered until you’re near the howling 7300rpm redline. But that just means more opportunity to appreciate the alluring engine note before reaching speeds that would put your licence at risk.
The automatic gearbox can get a little lost in its upper ratios when left to make its own decisions, so it's better to treat it as a six- or seven-speed ’box and use the paddle shifters or switch from Normal to Sport+, where those final few cogs aren’t used. It responds quickly enough to up- and downshifts although it is not as rapid-fire as a Porsche PDK dual-clutch gearbox. This is an area Lexus aims to address with a 2021-model-year update, due later this year, when it will revise the ratios and shift points to improve day-to-day driving.
The one reason to be grateful for the abundance of gear ratios is its ability to nudge over 30mpg on a motorway cruise, although the 21in wheels and run-flat tyres detract from the grand touring brief with a firm ride and more road noise than you’d expect from a luxury car. The fidgety suspension struggles over poor road surfaces, and while Comfort mode can mitigate it to a degree, it isn’t enough to match the best GTs over long distances.
And yet on more interesting roads, the LC reveals itself as an agile and well-balanced sports car that can entertain with its handling prowess. Without an abundance of torque, the rear end isn’t constantly trying to step out of line, although it can be coaxed under power in the sportier driving modes, and the variable-ratio steering and four-wheel steering system don’t blunt the feeling of control. Despite its considerable weight, the car is easily placed through faster-flowing corners and feels almost as dynamic as some mid-engined rivals.