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.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Aladdin Connect has joined the Samsung SmartThings family.

Photo by imaginima

If you own an Aladdin Connect smart garage door opener and a Samsung SmartThings hub, you're in luck. The Genie Company announced that the Aladdin Connect smart garage door openers and retrofit kits are now "Works With SmartThings" certified and integrated within Samsung SmartThings.

This means that users will now be able to open or close their garage door by voice command. SmartThings works with all major voice platforms including Alexa, Google, and Samsung's Bixby. Many new vehicles, including the Buick Encore GX and Acura MDX have Alexa integration.

Owners can retrofit their existing garage door in order to take advantage of the technological breakthrough.Photo courtesy of The Genie Company

Genie

Additionally, users can set up a geo-tag to recognize entry to the driveway to automatically open the garage door. There's also protocol that allows a garage door to open if smoke is detected by a smart smoke detector inside the home, or if carbon dioxide levels are sensed to have reached a dangerous threshold.

Samsung SmartThings already brings together 200 brands to allow for a connected living experience for its 63 million users in 200 countries. It can be controlled via Android and iOS mobile apps, devices, televisions, and appliances. The service was launched in 2012.

"SmartThings is commited to working with partners to enhance our user experience and continue to make connected living a reality for all,"said Ralf Elias, Global Vice President IOT/ Business Development & Partnerships at Samsung Electronics. "We we thrilled to partner with Genie and expand our ecosystem to make the car-to-home and home-to-car experiences that much easier."

"Genie is excited to be part of the growing ecosystem of products on the SmartThings platform," said Mike Kridel, President of The Genie Company. "This integration enables geofencing and garage safety capabilities that create clear value for our customers."

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The 2022 BMW M5 CS Sedan is the quickest, most powerful vehicle the company has ever produced.

Photo courtesy of BMW

The newest member of the BMW family is also the quickest and most powerful production BMW car ever made. The limited edition 2022 BMW M5 CS Sedan will be made for just one model year.

The model builds on the BMW M5, which was recently updated for the 2021 model year and combines an amplification of power with a weight reduction to achieve its performance and dynamics that enhancing both on-the-road and track capabilities of the 5 Series.

The design of the M5 is mostly unchanged with the new car, however there are definite differences. There is extensive use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. There is a gold finish on the BMW kidney grille, model badging, and 20-inch forged light alloy wheels. The adaptive LED headlights feature L-shaped light tubes that illuminate to yellow instead of the standard white. There is a BWM Individual Shadowline trim that adds a dark shaded appearance and accentuating the yellow accent lighting.

The M5 CS is available in a standard Brands Hatch grey metallic paint with two optional BMW Individual colors – Frozen Brands Hatch grey metallic and Frozen Deep Green metallic.

2022 BMW M5 CS Sedan: Exterior

Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW's engineers have tuned the car's 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 to achieve 627 horsepower, a 10-horsepower increase over the Competition model, and 553 pound-feet of torque, delivered in a wider band than the M5 Competition. The engine is paired with an eight-speed M Steptronic automatic transmission with Drivelogic. The M5 CS reaches 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than the M5 Competition model. Top speed with the standard M Driver's Package is 190 mph.

The rear-biased M xDrive all-wheel drive system is standard on the car and is able to distribute all of the available torque between the front and rear axles. The Active M Differential further optimizes power between the rear wheels for maximum grip and lateral dynamics.

Drivers can select from three xDrive modes including 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD. The Dynamic Stability Control system can be adjusted to DSC ON, MDM (M Dynamic Mode), and DSC OFF. The Drivelogic switch on the gear selector lever allows three modes - Efficient, Sport, and Track.

There are three drive modes: Comfort, Sport, and Sport+. Individual configuration is available. Drivers can toggle between Road, Sport, and Track settings using the M Mode button. Engaging these modes also changes the look of the driver information screen and head-up display. Road mode is the default setting.

The M Driver's Package also includes a voucher for BMW driver training.

The car's dual-branch, electric flap-controlled sport exhaust system, with quad stainless-steel tips, has a tone that changes depending on the selected mode (Efficient, Sport, or Sport+). Additionally, the M Sound button can soften the exhaust tone for a more understated note.

The M5 CS builds on the M5 Competition Package's offering when it comes to chassis and suspension tuning. There are stiffer engine mounts, firmer springs, a 0.2-inch lower ride height, increased front negative camber, a firmer rear anti-roll bar, and tow-link ball-joint mounts. There has also been furtherspring and Dynamic Damper Control tuning.

Standard mixed-size non-runflat high-performance tires measure 275/35R20 at the front and 285/35R20 at the rear and are fitted to Gold Bronze 20-inch M forged Y-spoke wheels. Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires are available at no cost.

2022 BMW M5 CS Sedan: Interior

Photo courtesy of BMW

This car is the first time BMW has put four-passenger seating in a M model in combination with M carbon sport seats up front and two bucks seats for rear passengers. Headrests on all four seats are imprinted with the map of Nurburgring's Nordschleife.

The interior of the car has black Merino leather with Mugello red accents and contrasting red stitching. The M Alcantara steering wheel has a perforated section with red background and lightweight carbon-fiber shift paddles with matching red trim in the cut-outs and on the back panels. Alcantara is also used for the headliner.

The lightweight black Merino leather center console cover with red double stitching replaces the traditional armrest and together with the absence of the armrest area tray helps to further reduce weight. Red "CS" badging can be seen on the instrument panel and between the rear bucket seats. The M seat belts feature BMW M tri-color stitching and the "M5" badge also appears on the velour M floor mats with bespoke piping and in the illuminated "M5 CS" badge on the door sill finishers.

Pricing for the car will be announced at a later date. The M5 starts at $103,500. Expect the limited edition model to be priced higher.

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