We love electric cars at cinch for all of their high-tech, tailpipe emission-free awesomeness. It’s hard not to when you have almost 600 electric cars (at the time of writing) in your digital showroom. But we also love cars that do things in the old ways, like the LC 500 Lexus you see here. It’s not powered by batteries but rather a big metal thing called a 5.0-litre V8 engine. It’s old school. And rare.
Mind you, the LC 500’s design isn’t exactly old-fashioned. Far from it. This coupe’s lines are actually quite futuristic, with angles and sharp lighting to give the two-door Lexus the look of a spaceship. It’s pretty alternative inside, too, with an interior that features a wraparound dashboard sporting a digital screen and leather fabrics. There are buttons and analogue controls to mix in some more traditional themes, and the low-slung seating position gives the LC 500 sporting intent.
So too does the engine. Start up that 5.0-litre engine – which is five times the size of the engine that powers a Fiesta EcoBoost! – and it roars into life, settling into a smooth, deep-toned tick over. It’s not overly loud, but the bass emphasises its stature. The LC 500 feels eminently special from the moment you awaken it, and thankfully, that feeling continues as you drive away, leaving the silky delivery of power and syrupy smooth automatic gearbox to do the hard work.
Despite the noise and those looks, this is a relaxing car, behaving more like a grand tourer (a posh type of car designed to cover great distances in comfort) than a high-performance sports machine. The LC 500 can certainly excite; it has 478hp at 7,100rpm (meaning you are rewarded if you let the engine rev out) and can accelerate from zero to 62mph in 4.4 seconds, which is comparable with the Porsche 911 Carrera sports car. But its natural demeanour is more effortless, more laid back. We love it for that.
Not only is it unique amongst a sea of much more hot-headed performance cars, then, but it’s also one of the last of a dying breed of big-engined machines that produce their power in the traditional way. The LC 500 can’t compete with electric cars for their off-the-line oomph, nor can it offer the long-distance efficiency of a hybrid. But it comes packed with charm and specialness, the sort that counts for more as we edge towards an all-electric future. For less than £70,000 – or the equivalent monthly rate – it’s a fine way to raise a glass to all that made the automotive world great in years gone by.