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Hybrid Luxury BMW i8 vs Lexus LC

Why compromise when you can have it all? The BMW i8 and Lexus LC are both exclusive, luxurious, large sports cars that also have relatively minimal environmental footprints by showcasing the latest hybrid technology under their skin. How do they stack up in a head-to-head?

Remarkable looks

In both 2+2 Coupé and 2-seat Roadster form, the BMW i8 grabs attention wherever it goes. This is thanks to futuristic styling highlights from frameless dihedral ‘butterfly’ doors and a modern interpretation of the marque’s iconic kidney grille to dramatic lines and curves. Its stunning silhouette is brought to life by some exceptionally vibrant colours plus accents in gloss black and Frozen Grey metallic, while the floating U-shaped rear lights are like nothing else on the road. Sleek and low to the ground, the muscular yet classy i8 appears ready for action.

The Lexus LC is a luxury 2+2 GT Coupé featuring an imposing spindle grille, distinctive arrowhead daytime running lights and stretched avantgarde aesthetics. The LC’s styling is radical yet elegant and conveys tremendous road presence, its acutely contoured profile tapering towards the muscular rear wheel arches to give the car a planted stance. With gaping exhausts and a highly chiselled rear completed with alluring taillights, the LC’s potency is clear through its design.
Conclusion: It’s close but the Lexus LC has more timeless visual impact

Stunning cabins

Inside, the BMW i8 is just as edgy with some amazing, futuristic shapes accentuating its driver-focussed cockpit. Carpo in full leather or Halo combining cloth and leather are the two primary trims offered for the highly sculpted sports seats, along with Accaro, a high-line option in Amido or E-Copper. The car’s controls have been integrated in a visionary style, the highlight being the eDrive button that adapts the car’s characteristics ranging from Eco Pro to Sport, while hybrid data is displayed on the glorious digital multifunctional display. Standard equipment includes the BMW Professional Navigation system, harman/kardon hi-fi and a raft of cutting-edge safety features.

The interior of the Lexus LC also oozes sophistication and incorporates an array of intricate details showcasing Takumi craftsmanship. Ergonomics and steering wheel tactility are strong points on board Japan’s finest sports Coupé and the marque’s traditional emphasis on comfort also shines through. Its seats are broader and more padded than the BMW’s to strengthen the LC’s long-distance touring abilities, while the dashboard is somewhat more conventionally designed, the infotainment screen seamlessly housed in the dashboard fascia that flows the full width. Whereas a rotary controller interacts with the BMW’s systems, Lexus provides its Remote Touch Interface, which works like a laptop’s mousepad.

Conclusion: The BMW i8’s interior is more exhilarating and cutting-edge

Luxury Meets Power

With the BMW i8, the Ultimate Driving Machine is now underpinned by truly remarkable environmental credentials thanks to the latest hybrid technology. 

Underneath Germany’s finest luxury hybrid sports car lie a powerful 106kW (143bhp) electric motor on the front axle, a 228bhp three-cylinder TwinPowerTurbo petrol powerplant on the rear axle delivering the brand’s infamous handling characteristics, plus an 11.6kWh battery pack. The engine is mated to a luxuriously smooth automatic transmission and the technology combines to enable the 357bhp i8 to sprint effortlessly to 62mph in a mere 4.4 seconds and on to a theoretical top speed of 155mph. The intelligent xDrive all-wheel drive system sends power where it’s needed at any moment to ensure maximum torque, traction and efficiency. 

Around town in eDrive mode the plug-in hybrid i8 is capable on paper of upto 22 miles on electric power and it’s quoted as being capable of upto 148.6mpg combined with CO emissions of just 42g/km depending on driving style, recharging diligence and other factors. The i8 really is a remarkable machine.

Although the rear-wheel drive Lexus LC is available in fully petrol guise where the naturally-aspirated 5-litre V8 produces 477bhp, can reach 62mph in just 4.7 seconds and can return upto 24.6mpg in theoretical economy, it emits 263g/km CO2, meaning the hybrid version is the ideal pick. Besides, Lexus is one of the world’s leading pioneers in hybrid technology, decades of combined experience having been poured into the LC’s development. 

This flagship luxury 2+2 sports GT features the world’s first 10-speed Multi Stage Hybrid based on a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, a 132kW electric motor and a highly advanced battery to produce a combined 359bhp. Acceleration to 62mph via the 10-speed automatic transmission is an exhilarating 5 seconds, while efficiency rises to 44.1mpg and CO2 emissions reduce to 145g/km.
Conclusion: For luxury performance with the greenest hybrid credentials, pick the BMW i8

In numbers…


BMW i8

Lexus LC





Power (HP)





Fuel (comb MPG)





Emissions (CO2, g/km)





Top Speed (mph)





0 – 60mph in…. (seconds)





Electric Range (miles)










Both the BMW i8 and Lexus LC epitomise luxury hybrid motoring, the German being the lighter and marginally more dynamic of the two, with a remarkably efficient and green powertrain. The Japanese Coupé, meanwhile, is a formidable long-distance grand tourer that excels in opulent comfort. Why not test-drive each car at Inchcape BMW and Inchcape Lexus respectively?