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Photo by Mark Kennedy / The 2020 Lexus LC 500 is a world-class luxury sports coupe.

OK, the Lexus LC 500 Coupe is absurdly beautiful.

Normally, at the sight of a pretty car my eyes will widen slightly, or I might push a whistle through my teeth. With the Lexus LC 500, the visual aesthetic is so striking my reflex is to smile to the edge of laughter.

The LC 500 Coupe looks like a missile wrapped in a tuxedo. Lexus calls it a "world class luxury coupe," which sounds grand, but really doesn't to the car justice. Short of owning a super-car costing twice as much — Lamborghini, anyone? — I'm not sure there is anything on Chattanooga roads that will attract eyeballs like a Lexus LC 500 Coupe.

From its flared rear wheel-wells to its audacious spindle grille, the exterior design of the LC is exquisite. Inside, the LC 500 Coupe is a blend of eras. Our Flare Yellow tester has a brown interior that Lexus calls "Toasted Caramel," and looks like a color tone swiped from a 1980s-era conversion van. (Disclosure: At first my old eyes read the color as "Toasted Camel," which struck me as rude to camels.) A liberal use of brown Alcantara (suede) also adds to the vintage vibe. Otherwise, the interior is thoroughly modern.

A point of personal preference: I would order the Lexus LC 500 coupe in black with a red interior, and call it a day. The yellow over brown color pairing of our tester is not my cup of tea. But, hey, it might be yours.

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Photo by Mark Kennedy / The Toasted Caramel interior of the Lexus LC 500 is a throw-back tone.

FAST FACTS

* Model: 2020 Lexus LC 500 Coupe

* Exterior color: Flare Yellow

* Interior color: Toasted Caramel

* Engine: 5.0-liter, V-8

* Horsepower: 471

* Transmission: 10-speed automatic

* Fuel economy: 25 mpg highway, 16 mpg city

* Local Dealer: Lexus of Chattanooga

* Price (as tested): $106,440

 

 

WHAT IS IT?

The Lexus LC 500 is a luxury coupe equipped with a 5-liter, V-8 engine with 471 horsepower and a thunderous exhaust note. The LC500h is a hybrid version of the coupe, and its gas-electric powertrain is slightly more sedate. Technically a four-passenger car, it's hard to imagine a full-sized human squeezing into the back seats of the LC 500 Coupe. Instead, think of the back bench as a grocery shelf.

 

WHAT DOES IT COST?

The LC 500 Coupe is not a cheap date. Our tester, with all the available goodies, rings up at $106,400. Lexus of Chattanooga, on Lee Highway, had one silver LC 500 in digital inventory late this week with a listed price of $87,319 after discounts.

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Photo by Mark Kennedy / The spindle grille is an iconic symbol of the Lexus brand.

 

WHAT WE LIKED

Topping our list of "likes" were the LC 500's arresting styling, body-hugging seats, bold dash architecture and forged alloy wheels.

 

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

The ride is somewhat brittle (which may surprise some current Lexus owners), the yellow/brown color color combination is not to our taste, and the six-figure price-tag is beyond the reach of the most buyers.

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Photo by Mark Kennedy / A carbon-fiber roof saves weight on the 2020 Lexus LC 500 Coupe.

 

DRIVING IMPRESSIONS

On a one-day round-trip from Chattanooga to Knoxville and back, the LC 500's radar-controlled cruise control worked like a charm. The supportive seats made for a comfortable trip and the Mark Levinson sound system ($1,220) is a wonder. The LC 500 can rocket from zero-to-60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds.

 

BOTTOM LINE

The Lexus LC 500 Coupe is a low-volume coupe with a high-profile design. It will appeal to discerning drivers as a second or third vehicle for Sunday drives and nights on the town, although it is plenty civilized to work as a daily driver, too.

Online: In the market for a new vehicle? To access hundreds of Mark Kennedy's Chattanooga Test Drive columns visit www.timesfreepress.com/testdrive.

Contact Mark Kennedy at mkennedy@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6645. Follow him on Twitter @TFPCOLUMNIST. Subscribe to his Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/mkennedycolumnist.


View other Test Drive stories by Mark Kennedy



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