Behind the Wheel

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible Review: It's completely unnecessary and a complete delight

Lexus has nailed the design of the first LC 500 Convertible.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Why do most people buy cars? It's out of necessity. They need to get somewhere and they need a vehicle that can haul everything they need to as part of a daily routine. And, they want as much bang for their buck as they can get.

Most people don't ever get to the point in their life where they buy a car just because they want it. They don't need a new car but, they've seen a commercial, an article, or an Instagram post perhaps, and it's piqued their interest enough to make them explore getting a car just because they want one.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible The face of the LC 500 Convertible is virtually unchanged from its LC 500 coupe sister.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

For avid off-road enthusiasts, that may be a fully kitted out Jeep Wrangler. For others, it may be a vintage Ford Mustang or Chevy SS. For a select few, it might just be a new cabriolet like the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible.

No one buys the LC 500 Convertible because they need one. It's a car they desire both to drive and be seen in. To that end, Lexus has fully delivered.

To get there, they didn't just chop the roof off of the LC 500 and call it a day. They re-engineered the chassis, smoothed out most of the transmission flaws, and then made the top-down effect as glamorous as it could be. The top-up look isn't bad either.

The LC 500 is a driver's car. The convertible version doesn't stray from that. It goes right where you point it and has a tight turning circle. Lexus has given the car the same engine as the traditional LC, a 5.0-liter V8, that delivers the type of power that a driver wants it to. Traditionalists will be happy to hear that this is one V8 that Lexus isn't planning on getting rid of.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible The LC 500 Convertible is a well-engineered model that is as good to look at as it is to drive.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Those aforementioned improvements make a big difference, especially at higher speed. At lower speed, you'll want to switch the car into the Sport or Sport+ drive mode for the smoothest transition off the line.

It's good – and not just for a cabriolet.

Lexus has taken a page from the Mercedes-Benz Airscarf playbook and added heating and cooling to space at the bottom of the headrest, which works in tandem with the car's automatic climate control to make top-down driving a possibility, even when it's 100 degrees out. Trust me, I tried it, and I shockingly didn't sweat through my clothes.

Seats are comfortable for the driver and passenger, as long as your COVID 15 didn't turn into the COVID 150. The coupe design means little floor space for a big purse, and few in-cabin storage opportunities for water bottles or phones.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The interior and exterior of the car are as expected from a design standpoint. Of note, the convertible top near-silently folds into its own compartment and leaves the trunk space available.

The biggest quibble I have with the LC is the track pad system for navigating the car's infotainment screen. It's not ideal, to say the least. However, it has been improved over the years and has moved from unacceptable to tolerable. It's no longer a reason to not buy a Lexus.

The LC 500 Convertible isn't for everyone and its price tag reflects that. It has a $101,000 starting MSRP. That's hefty, but in line with what you'd expect given the price tag of other high-end convertibles.

2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible A vent at the bottom of the headrest allows hot or cold air to flow on the passengers.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The 2021 Lexus LC 500 Convertible is everything it needs to be and likely everything a buyer wants it to be. Nearly everything about it just feels right.

Trending News

Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Jeep has debuted a lineup of models that celebrate the company's 80th anniversary.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The 2021 Jeep 80th Anniversary Editions are a special lineup of models that celebrate a birthday few nameplates reach. The 80th Anniversary Edition grade adds a host of equipment with commemorative enhancements to each model in the Jeep lineup.

2021 Jeep Wrangler 80th Anniversary Edition

2021 Jeep Wrangler 80th Anniversary Edition

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Jeep is making the Wrangler 80th Anniversary Edition available in Granite Crystal, Bright White, Hella Yella, Black, Firecracker Red, Sting Gray, Sarge, and Snazzberry paint colors.

The exterior enhancements to the model include Neutral Grey Metallic grille bezels, headlamp rings, and fog lamp bezels as well as body-color fender flares, and 80th Anniversary commemorative badging. Each 80th Anniversary model rides on 18-inch Granite Crystal-painted wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Dueler 255/70R18 all-terrain tires.

Inside, the model has black diamond embossed cloth seats with an 80th anniversary tag. Light Tungsten interior accent stitching, Anodized Gunmetal dash mid-bolsters, and Light Tungsten accent stitching on the Berber floor mats add color to the model.

The Wrangler has remote start, an 8.4-inch infotainment touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and satellite radio.

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 80th Anniversary Edition has a starting price of $35,990 for two-door models and $39,490 for four-door SUVs. Each comes with an additional $1,495 destination charge.

​2021 Jeep Gladiator 80th Anniversary Edition

2021 Jeep Gladiator 80th Anniversary Edition

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Buyers can get their special edition Gladiator with a Granite Crystal, Bright White, Black, Firecracker Red, Hydro Blue, Sarge, or Snazzberry paint job.

It has a similar features list to the Wrangler, which includes 18-inch wheels painted in Granite Crystal and Bridgestone Dueler 255/70R18 all-terrain tires. Neutral Grey Metallic grille bezels, headlamp rings, and fog lamp bezels sit at the front while body-color fender flares grace the sides of the truck. Each model comes with 80th Anniversary commemorative badging.

The interior features list is the same too. It has black diamond embossed cloth seats with an 80th anniversary tag, light Tungsten interior accent stitching, Anodized Gunmetal dash mid-bolsters, and Light Tungsten accent stitching on the berber floor mats.

The Gladiator has remote start, an 8.4-inch infotainment touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and satellite radio.

The starting MSRP of the Jeep Gladiator 80th Anniversary edition is $41,740. Each model also comes with a $1,495 destination fee.

​2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee 80th Anniversary Edition

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee 80th Anniversary Edition

The Jeep Grand Cherokee 80th Anniversary Edition will only be sold as a 4x4. It is priced at $44,335 plus a $1,495 destination fee.

The model is available in Granite Crystal, Walnut Brown, Bright White, Diamond Black, Slate Blue, Sangria, and Velvet Red paint jobs. it rides on 20-inch wheels that have a Granite Crystal finish. The exterior also features 80th Anniversary commemorative badge.

Each Grand Cherokee 80th Anniversary Edition model features leather seats and Light Tungsten interior accents. The SUV has an 8.4-inch infotainment touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and satellite radio.

It also gets Jeep's ProTech II Package, which includes full-speed forward collision warning with active braking, ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, LaneSense Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and advanced brake assist.

2021 Jeep Cherokee 80th Anniversary Edition

Like the Jeep Grand Cherokee 80th Anniversary Edition, the Jeep Cherokee 80th Anniversary Edition will be sold just in a 4x4 drivetrain. It will be priced at $33,805 plus a $1,495 destination charge.

Jeep will sell the model in the buyer's choice of Granite Crystal, Slate Blue, Hydro Blue, Olive Green, Spitfire Orange, Sangria, Velvet Red, Light Brownstone, Bright White, and Diamond Black paint colors. 80th Anniversary commemorative badging is on the SUV.

Each special edition Cherokee rides on 19-inch wheels with a Granite Crystal finish.

The cabin features premium leather seats with Light Tungsten accent stitching, power front seats with lumbar, dual-zone automatic climate control, remote start, 8.4-inch infotainment touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, and a dual-pane sunroof. Anodized Gun Metal interior accents, a black headliner, and berber floor mats complete the look.

2021 Jeep 80th Anniversary Edition model full lineup

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

2021 Jeep Compass 80th Anniversary Edition

The Jeep Compass 80th Anniversary Edition is also available just as a 4x4. Its $29,695 price tag is lower than that of the same edition of the Cherokee. It too has a $1,495 destination charge.

Jeep is selling the SUV in Granite Crystal, Laser Blue, Jazz Blue, Olive Green, Redline, White, Diamond Black, and Velvet Red paint colors. It has 19-inch Granite Crystal-colored wheels and 80th Anniversary commemorative badging.

The interior of the Compass has leather seats with Light Tungsten accent stitching, a power driver's seat with lumbar, automatically dimming rearview mirror, remote start, 8.4-inch infotainment touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, and navigation. It also includes Piano Black and Anodized Gun Metal interior accents, black headliner, and berber floor mats.

​2021 Jeep Renegade 80th Anniversary Edition

2021 Jeep Renegade 80th Anniversary Edition

The smallest Jeep, the Renegade, also comes in an 80th Anniversary Edition variant. It has a starting MSRP of $27,595 and only comes in a 4x4 configuration. A $1,495 destination charge is also applicable.

Jeep is offering the model in Granite Crystal, Alpine White, Bikini, Black, Colorado Red, Jetset Blue, Omaha Orange, and Slate Blue paint colors. It rides on 19-inch wheels with a Granite Crystal finish and has 80th Anniversary commemorative badging.

Dual-zone automatic climate control, Anodized Gun Metal interior accents, black headliner, and berber floor mats come standard on the model. It also has an 8.4-inch infotainment touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, and navigation.

Trending News

 
 

The new RM20e Racing Midship Sports Car showcases the future of the Hyundai brand.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai debuted the RM20e Racing Midship Sports Car this week, showcasing what isn't the beginning but what is very much the future of what the Hyundai brand will offer. The electric-based high-performance race car, like those designed by other manufacturers is a proving ground for technologies that may be employed in Hyundai passenger vehicles in the future.

Hyundai has been quite open about this calling the platform the RM20e is based on, the RM development platform, will be used for future N brand products that are inspired by the car. This follows as part of the progressive evolution of the car with previous iterations bearing the names RM14, RM15, RM16 and RM19.

RM20e Racing Midship Sports Car

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai's first electric race car was developed for the eTCR electric touring car series in 2019 - the Veloster N eTCR.

"Our new electrified RM20e pushes the proven RM platform forcefully into a new, environmentally-focused decade of the 21st century, stretching the performance envelope of electrification on normal road environments," said Albert Biermann, President and Head of Research and Development Division at Hyundai Motor Group. "RM20e represents a revolutionary new chapter of electrified performance for the Racing Midship series, and our N engineers continue to garner valuable insights in the arena of zero-emission performance dynamics."

The mid-engined, rear-wheel drive RM20e features a powertrain that achieves 810 horsepower and 708 pound-feet of torque thanks to its electric motor. It can get from zero to 62 mph in less than three seconds and to 124 mph from a standstill in 9.88 seconds.

Hyundai says that the RM20e combines "race car-like levels of performance, balance, braking, and grip while retaining daily-driver quietness, responsiveness and road-going capability".

The propulsion system driving the car, as well as the equipment that helps it achieve the "race car-like levels of performance, balance, braking, and grip" are part of Hyundai's larger plant to develop hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery, and fuel cell electric vehicles.

Hyundai isn't working alone. The company has formed a strategic partnership with Rimac Automobili to co-develop battery and fuel cell electric vehicle prototypes.

Additionally, Hyundai Motor Group, the parent company of the Hyundai, Genesis, Kia, and new Ioniq brand, has committed to addinng 44 "eco-friendly" models by 2025.

Trending News