Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2018 nominee: Lexus LC

The Lexus LC is a concept car come to life. It started life as the LF-LC concept at the 2012 Detroit auto auto show, and the public’s response was so overwhelming that Lexus put it into production. We’re glad it did because this grand tourer drives as good as it looks.

From the arrowhead LEDs that bracket its shimmering hourglass grille, to its jet-style canopy, to its flared wheel arches, this is a striking, stunning car.

The cockpit is equally beautiful. It features gorgeous leather upholstery stitched to resemble organic waves. The dash wraps around the driver with a divider that walls off the controls from the passenger.

DON’T MISS: 2018 Lexus LC 500 first drive review

But the LC is about more than just looks. It’s a very capable grand tourer with robust acceleration and agile handling, despite carrying a few extra pounds. The supple suspension, and responsive steering overcome the curb weight.

How does it do it? The engine helps spread the weight around by mounting behind the front axle, double-jointed front arms provide better wheel articulation, and adaptive dampers help soak up road imperfections. For best results on track, opt for the Torsen rear differential for better power transfer, and the rear-axle steering to make the car dance.

With or without those options, the LC is a relaxed but capable grand tourer, a la the Aston Martin DB11, but for half the price.

Enthusiasts will prefer the 471-horsepower LC 500. Its 5.0-liter V-8 is one of the most vocal, best sounding engines on the market, providing a counterpoint to the LC’s otherwise elegant persona. It comes mated to a slick-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission, and it clicks off the 0-60 mph run in 4.4 seconds on its way to a top speed of 168 mph.

ALSO SEE: Achievements in design: the 2018 Lexus LC 500 with Wisconsin’s Frank Lloyd Wright buildings

Buyers can also opt for the LC 500h. It boasts an innovative new hybrid system that combines a 3.5-liter V-6 with two motors coupled to a planetary gearset and a 4-speed transmission. Total output is only 354 horsepower, but the 0-60 mph time is just a few ticks behind the V-8 at 4.7 seconds. The LC 500h has a 1.1-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that allows it to drive for a very modest four miles on electric power. It’s better used as a hybrid that saves money at the pump by delivering EPA fuel economy figures of 26 mpg city,35 highway and 30 combined. That’s 11 mpg better than the V-8 in the combined rating.

Not everything is perfect. The Lexus Enform infotainment system is still a mess. It’s complicated to use and requires manual dexterity to master. The trunk has a miniscule 5.4 cubic feet of cargo space, and the hybrid’s is even smaller. And if you open the center console to use the cupholders, it becomes uncomfortable as an armrest.

Still, the 2018 Lexus LC is beautiful and dynamically gifted, but is it our Best Car To Buy for 2018?

Check back with us on November 13 and we’ll answer that question. That’s when we announce the winner, along with the winners from our sister sites, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. At the same time, The Car Connection will reveal the best vehicles in 15 categories to help you choose the best the cars, trucks, and SUVs that work best based on your specific needs. Finally, you, our readers, will have a voice, as we’ll reveal how you have voted in the annual Driver’s Choice awards.

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