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New Lexus LC 500 Convertible launched in Los Angeles

The Lexus LC 500 Convertible is a new rival to the BMW 8 Series Convertible and has made its official debut at this year’s LA Motor Show

Lexus has launched the new LC 500 Convertible at this year’s Los Angeles Motor Show, marking the first time the company has offered an open top model since production of the IS 300C ended in 2015. The brand’s new BMW 8 Series Convertible rival is due to go on sale in summer 2020.

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The LC Convertible has ditched the coupe’s “floating” roofline in favour of an abruptly sloping fabric roof and a long, flat rear deck. Its 2+2 seating layout remains the same as the LC Coupe’s, although boot and rear seat space (neither of which are generous on the hard top) have been compromised further by the roof mechanism and its storage compartment.

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Lexus says that the LC 500 Convertible’s fabric roof can be opened in just 15 seconds. It can be operated at speeds of up to 31mph and, to keep wind buffeting to a minimum, there’s a transparent wind deflector behind the rear seats. The interior also features climate control, seat heaters, neck heaters and a heated steering wheel – all of which are automatically activated depending on the ambient temperature and the position of the roof.

Elsewhere, the LC 500 Convertible’s cabin is identical to that of the LC 500 Coupe’s, sharing its rotary touchpad-controlled 10.25-inch infotainment screen, digital instrument binnacle and high-end stereo system. The seats, door cards and dashboard are available in a choice of leather upholstery colours, including white, tan, red and black.

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Like the coupe, the LC 500 Convertible will be fitted with the Lexus naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 petrol, producing 457bhp and 530Nm of torque. The engine will send its power to the rear wheels via the same 10-speed automatic gearbox, offering a 0–62mph time of around five seconds and a top speed of more than 160mph.

We expect that the firm’s 3.5-litre V6 petrol hybrid will also eventually be available, on a forthcoming 500h model, offering a combined output of 354bhp. As in the LC 500h coupe, it’ll be mated to a clever CVT gearbox and a four-speed automatic, which essentially provides a 10-speed transmission. Its 0–62mph time and economy figures will probably suffer slightly over the coupe’s five-second and 44.1mpg efforts, due to the added weight of the convertible roof.

To keep the LC 500 Convertible’s structural rigidity comparable to the hardtop variant’s, Lexus has fitted a range of strengthening beams to the car’s chassis, with a new die-cast aluminium rear strut brace and a range of underbody strengthening beams made from magnesium and aluminium.

Prices and specifications for the Lexus LC 500 Convertible are yet to be confirmed, but we expect it will adopt the coupe’s four-tier model. Buyers will be offered an entry-level model, a Sport Pack model and a Sport Plus Pack model – with the two more expensive trim-levels adding items such as a limited-slip differential and a retractable rear spoiler. A highly specced, Limited Edition variant is expected to join the fold later in the car’s production cycle.

What does the Lexus LC 500 Convertible have to beat? Read our run-down of the best convertibles on sale now

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