The 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible arrived in local dealerships just in time for the ideal top-down motoring months in Southern California. The first convertible from Toyota’s luxury brand since discontinuing the IS 250C in 2015, the $100,000 drop-top is based on the LC 500 Coupe, which was introduced to the U.S. market in 2018.
This is a fortunate genealogical link, as the LC Coupe is among the loveliest grand touring two-doors on the market, featuring a wide track, sweeping lines, and flame-surfaced creases that give it an arresting, purposeful, and almost windswept look, even when standing still. The convertible shares all of these traits and adds the ability to retract its fabric roof, a process that takes only 15 seconds and can be accomplished at speeds of up to 31 mph.
In the process of adding a folding top, Lexus designers made some clever and differentiating design adjustments to the LC. These included kicking up the trunk-lid’s profile slightly to accommodate the hard “tonneau” that covers the retracted roof. They also expanded the rear spoiler across the posterior to accentuate the car’s imposing stance, and placed the third brake light in the spoiler’s center instead atop the rear windshield. A clear deflector behind the seats helps prevent the intrusion of noisy wind currents.
One concern when creating a convertible version of a sporty car is that the removal of the top will reduce the vehicle’s structural rigidity and add weight, negatively impacting performance. But Lexus engineers worked hard to minimize both issues by strengthening braces in the rear suspension and using lightweight metals, like die-cast aluminum, for these components. The result is a weight increase that’s less than 200 pounds with handling and acceleration on par with the closed version.
Ensuring year-round driving comfort, even with the top down, Lexus’ patented Climate Concierge automatically manages a heated steering wheel and seats, as well as small vents beneath the headrests that blow warm air onto occupants’ necks. The Concierge also controls the standard ventilation system, and when the weather dips, will blow additional warm air onto the back of the driver’s hands, should they forget their cashmere-lined driving gloves.
The convertible’s handling and acceleration are on par with the closed version.
The convertible also features the Lexus Enform system, which allows owners to lock, unlock, start, or adjust the climate of their car remotely through an app, as well as engage a personal assistant for directions and recommendations while traveling. Many linked features from Amazon’s Alexa system — even at home — can also be controlled via in-car voice actuation.
Perhaps the best feature of the convertible is the added delight of having surround-sound access to the exhaust note of Lexus’ 471 horsepower naturally aspirated V8 engine, a motor that provides rumble, refinement and potency in equal measures. With all of this in its favor, the choice of whether to purchase the coupe or the convertible seems quite simple. Starting at $92,950. lexus.com