The Gorgeous 2021 Lexus LC500 Convertible Was Worth the Wait
After concepts and teases galore, the breathtaking LC droptop is here.
Whenever a new convertible debuts, the most important factors are how quick the top can be raised or lowered, what colors the roof comes in (if it's cloth), and how much chopping the roof has affected the car's weight and structural integrity. In the case of the 2021 Lexus LC500 convertible, the answers are about 15 seconds, black or beige, and not much. As to the latter, the engineers placed a lot of emphasis on stiffening the chassis without adding too much weight.
We'll reserve judgment on that the efficacy of their work until we get the LC500 convertible out on the road. But the transformation to convertible included additional and relocated structural bracing plus specific suspension tuning to complement the "subtle" changes in weight between the coupe and convertible. There's a reduction in unsprung weight in the front suspension (even with standard 21-inch wheels, available in chrome or black) to improve the overall stroke, and the the rear shock-tower brace was reshaped and moved slightly. Additionally, the rear end has a special lightweight die-cast aluminum suspension brace, and a performance dampener for better ride comfort.
The LC coupe sounds fantastic and Lexus employs no electronic sound generation to enhance exhaust rumble for the convertible. Intake impulses from the LC500's 471-hp, 398-lb-ft 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8 are carried through a diaphragm into a sound pipe that transmits the sound, not the air noise itself. A computer-controlled valve balances optimizing exhaust back-pressure and exhaust tone and volume at higher rpm.
Just outside that new top, the center high-mounted rear brake lamp has been moved from the top of the rear window in the coupe to the trunklid here. Active roll bars are hidden from view when not deployed.
Lexus says it has redesigned the climate-control system to adjust temperature automatically independent of whether the top is up or down. If the top is down, neck heaters built into the seats are designed to keep the driver's and front passenger's upper bodies warm. Lexus Climate Concierge with Upper Body Heating automatically manages the A/C, seat heaters, neck heaters, and steering-wheel heater. A wind screen is available, presumably at extra cost, while standard Active Noise Control consists of a combo of sound insulation and absorption techniques.
For '21, the convertible adds Android Auto as well as Amazon Alexa compatibility to the LC500's Apple CarPlay capabilities. The 2021 Lexus LC500 Convertible goes on sale in summer of 2020, launching with the limited-to-100-units Inspiration Series; that version will be painted Structural Blue and feature white semi-aniline leather interior trim, a unique blue top, and gray surrounds for the headlamps, side intakes, and taillamps. (You can see the LC coupe Inspiration Series models here and here.) Barrett-Jackson will auction a "unique" Lexus LC500 convertible Inspiration Series on January 17, with proceeds to be donated to charities to be named at a later date.