The 2021 Lexus LC500 Convertible is a drop-top work of art. Sure, we prefer the coupe version because it’s nice having a roof over one’s head, but it’s hard to argue with the NOISE the Convertible lets in. That noise comes courtesy of a 471-horsepower 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine. And it helps push both the $102,025 LC500 and your senses to great places.
Yes. Very expensive. But it’s competing against heavy hitters so it’s priced right. Well, actually I guess just one heavy hitter right now since the MB SL550 is about to take a year off. Still, there’s a 2020 SL550 and BMW has its 8 Series convertible. All three cars have V8 engines, but the Germans also offer smaller forced-induction V6 offerings for a bit less dough. That’s not fun though, so let’s just focus on the versions with proper cylinder counts for luxury grand tourers.
Here’s the deal on both the BMW 850i and Mercedes-Benz SL550. Each one starts signifcantly higher than the Lexus LC500. The Benz is $116k and the Bimmer is $123k. On the BMW, you have a mighty twin-turbocharged V8 making 523 horsepower. The Benz “only” offers up 449 hp from its also twin-turbocharged mill. Lexus keeps things naturally aspirated and manages to crank out 471 hp. Still, the Lexus is likely to be slower than both, definitely the BMW and probably the Benz. But you’ll be enjoying the noise more in the Lexus since the engine isn’t being muffled by a pair of turbos.
It’s the BMW that likely actually drives the best, if you’re looking for sporting feedback and engagement. But that’s not what these three are about. The grand tourer is a car in which you can hop in, complete a 1,000 mile trip, and arrive fresh and smiling on the other end.
And when all three are parked on the side of the road, one of them will most catch your eye. It’s the Lexus. Benz has a new SL coming for model year 2022, so that one is overdue for a style upgrade. The BMW 8 Series is the least offensive model in the automaker’s lineup, but it would likely still look boring next to the LC500 Convertible.
All are expensive. All make touring a grand affair. But the Lexus will look the best at the end of the day, when all three are cooling off in the valet parking area. Parked near the door, of course… with the Lexus in front.
[Disclaimer: Lexus tossed us the keys to the LC500 Convertible and included a tank of fuel.]