After its global debut at the 2019 Los Angeles International Auto Show was met with rave reviews, the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible is ready for sale on Lexus dealer lots across the country this summer.
Expanding upon the flagship performance of its coupe counterpart, the LC 500 Convertible broadens the LC family with a modern design and its own handling characteristics.
The LC 500 Convertible may be based in part on the LC 500 coupe, but it is no mere crop-topped replica. Considerable driving evaluation and analysis went into crafting unique driving qualities that give the vehicle its own athletic identity to offer impressive performance that remains true to its convertible design.
Enhancing structural rigidity was high on the list of objectives. Engineers went to work crafting an all-new torsion box at the rear, which, when paired with a new suspension tower brace and V-brace, help provide enhanced rigidity, handling stability, and linear responsiveness.
Chassis rigidity is further enhanced with the relocation of various structural braces, which includes additional gusseting at the bottom of both the A and B pillars. Laser Screw Welding and the use of high-tensile-strength steel through the structure also aids in chassis reinforcement.
Careful attention was given to the LC Convertible’s suspension, which is tuned specifically to complement the subtle changes in weight between the coupe and convertible.
From its dampers and coils to its bushings and the unique Yamaha Performance damper placed transversely at the rear, the Convertible’s specially-designed components to ensure a comfortable yet sharp road-going performance.
A reduction of un-sprung weight in the front suspension improves the overall stroke, and weight is also reduced in the rear with the use of lightweight die-cast aluminum for the construction of the suspension tower brace.
The tuning of the Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) is optimized to complement the convertible as well.
The AVS system continually adjusts damping control in response to driving operation and road surface conditions, with the ability to adjust to an impressive 650 different levels of damping force.
The AVS system has also been relocated compared to the previous model year coupe, as it no longer resides at the top of the absorber and is now mounted to the lower side of the shock absorber body below the spring.
The LC 500 Convertible comes standard with 21-inch forged wheels. Run-flat tires are employed at all four corners to eliminate the need for a spare tire, which, in turn, allows engineers to shorten the rear overhang and save additional weight by foregoing a spare.
The LC Convertible’s soft-top 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 hardtop. It features an innovative folding mechanism that includes a tonneau cover for when it is stored.
The coupe’s curves are accentuated with the silhouette of the convertible in a way that only Japanese design can imbue.
Even the smooth roof movement is inspired by the three-step movement of Japanese calligraphy: ink brush to paper; movement to the right; the stopping of the ink brush.
The roof can be opened or closed at speeds up to 50 km/h. An animated display on the instrumentation panel shows the top’s progress, and it also provides warning messages to confirm the status of the soft-top roof.
One of the most impressive aspects is the time it takes: approximately 15 seconds to open and approximately 16 seconds to close, depending upon environmental factors.
Even the sound system is fine-tuned specifically for the convertible with an EQ that adjusts based on the driving environment whether the top is open or closed.
The power window controls have been linked to the movement of the roof as well, allowing the ability to switch to open-air freedom with the single push of a button.
Once closed, a tonneau covers the roof storage space to provide a weather-resistant seal from the elements. The rear profile of the LC Convertible trunk is accentuated with a design that lifts its profile slightly, while the surface of the spoiler is laterally broadened to emphasize the low, wide stance of the car. The center brake light is now integrated into the trunk lid.
Premium magnesium and aluminum components are adopted for the roof links and support structure to provide both a reduction in weight and a design with a low center of gravity.
The roof material itself was carefully selected and manufactured to help ensure optimal tension, to minimize wrinkling, and improve sound insulation.
The four-layer soft top, which includes three layers of fabric and one layer of sound-absorbing material, is designed to retain the flowing roofline of the coupe without the supporting frame visible through the fabric.
A hydraulic system is responsible for opening and closing the convertible’s roof in a seamless motion.
The system features an electromagnetic valve to control the hydraulic pressure generated by the hydraulic pump to extend or contract cylinders for the tension bow, main roof, and the tonneau cover.
Three times the number of typical durability tests were conducted to ensure reliability and quietness of operation.
The LC 500 Convertible top is offered in three colours: Black, Sand, and Marine (exclusively available on the Inspiration Edition).
Exterior paint options include Ultra White, Smoky Granite Mica, Liquid Platinum, Atomic Silver, Caviar, Infrared, Flare Yellow, Nori Green Pearl and Nightfall Mica. Depending upon the exterior colour chosen, three interior colours are available: Black, Circuit Red, and Toasted Caramel.
Regardless of the weather trending hot or cool, the LC 500 Convertible is designed with an HVAC system that adjusts the temperature whether the top is raised or lowered.
The Lexus Climate Concierge with Upper Body Heating automatically manages the air conditioner, seat heaters, neck heaters, and steering-wheel heater to ensure the cabin is comfortable.
The HVAC system is even optimized to send warm or cold air to the back of the driver’s hands when gripping the steering wheel.
Engineers took care to ensure the driving experience is ideal for all occupants, as the cabin is designed to reduce wind noise thanks to the unique shape of the beltline and rear molding to help suppress wind from entering.
A standard transparent polycarbonate wind deflector helps restrict unwanted air from entering the cabin during low-speed travel, such as driving in the city while the standard windscreen provides improved cabin experience during high-speed travel, such as freeway driving, for comfortable conversing with the top down.
Active Noise Control (ANC) combines sound insulation and absorption techniques to help suppress unwanted harshness from entering the cabin.
The front-engine, rear-wheel-drive LC Convertible shares the same direct-injected V8 powerplant as the LC Coupe. The engine is rated to produce 471 horsepower at 7,100 rpm and 398 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 RPM.
For the LC Convertible, the engine is paired with a Direct-Shift 10-speed automatic transmission. The Convertible posts an impressive 0-96 km/h time of 4.6 seconds, and its maximum track speed is electronically limited to 270 km/h.
Although great effort is put into keeping certain sounds out of the new LC 500 Convertible, the powerful roar of the naturally-aspirated V8 engine is not one of them. Engine intake pulses are naturally carried through a diaphragm into a sound pipe that carries the sounds of the V8, not the air itself, into the cabin to enhance its rumble (similar to the system employed in the Lexus LFA).
To further enhance the aggressive tone of the engine’s exhaust and augment performance, a computer-controlled valve balances the fine line between optimizing exhaust back-pressure and exhaust tone and volume at higher engine speeds.
Inside, the LC 500 Convertible is equipped with an impressive 10.3-inch high-resolution split-screen multimedia display to provide immediate access to audio or climate controls and various systems, including the voice-activated navigation system.
The multimedia system features Android Auto compatibility, allowing you to seamlessly cast your device’s interface onto the vehicle’s multimedia display. Play your music via your favorite apps send messages to navigate with Google Maps™ and more with Google Assistant.
With Apple CarPlay™ integration, you can access the familiar interface from your iPhone through the vehicle’s multimedia display. Simply connect an iPhone to get directions, make calls, send and receive messages via Siri, and access apps to listen to music and podcasts.
The 2021 Lexus LC Convertible features Lexus Navigation with Remote that includes Embedded Navigation, Enform Destination Assist (3-year trial), Enform Remote (3-year trial), Enform Safety Connect (3-year trial) and Enform Service Connect (10-year trial).
Inspiration Series – 1 of 4
An LC Convertible based on the Inspiration Series crossed the auction block at Barrett-Jackson in early 2020 and raised a 2 million dollars for charity, split evenly between the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. This one-of-one vehicle is no longer available.
Limited to only 4 units in Canada, the 2021 LC Convertible Inspiration Series features an exclusive Structural Blue paint job, which is paired with the exclusive Bespoke Amalfi White semi-aniline leather-trimmed interior and Marine-coloured soft top. It comes equipped with 21-inch forged alloy wheels, a limited-slip differential in the rear, and a rear performance rod with damper.
Inside, carbon-fibre door sill scuff plates are marked with the Inspiration Series logo. An exclusive serialized number will reside on the door jamb.
The front headrests are embossed with the Lexus logo, while the cabin is kept cozy thanks to the Climate Concierge with Upper Body Heating.
The Inspiration Series will also feature 13-speaker Mark Levinson audio system complete with an 11-channel 918-watt amplifier. The 2021 LC Convertible Inspiration Edition MSRP is $132,500.
Lexus Safety System+
The new 2021 LC Convertible will come standard with Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+). This includes the 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.
There are important safety features specific to convertible, though, such as the active roll bars that are designed to deploy upward when a rollover is detected.
When not deployed, these roll bars are hidden from view to retaining the convertible’s exquisite silhouette when the top is down.
For more information, visit lexus.ca.