THE new star in the Lexus stable is without doubt a thing of beauty.

An all-new luxury grand tourer, the LC 500 takes as its cue from the company’s LFA supercar and through its fluid lines simply oozes a passion for performance motoring.

Bulges, curves, a sweeping roof line and nuggets of drama such as the ultra-thin LED daytime lights, pop-out door handles and chunky exhausts pipes are so inviting to anyone with a drop of red blood in their veins.

Step inside the luxurious cabin, where leather abounds, ease yourself into the low-set driving position, and you are all set for fireworks.

I tested the LC 500 equipped with a 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 petrol engine linked to a superb 10-speed automatic transmission system.

There’s an alternative LC 500h featuring a 3.5-litre V6 engine and hybrid system, but I would argue that the bigger beast is the one to go for.

Press the starter button and there’s a delicious roar before that mighty V8 settles to a thrum. How you proceed from there is al about your mood and the road conditions.

You can choose between eco, comfort, sport or sport plus modes, opt for paddle-shift control of use the gear shift lever in manual mode.

The comfort mode is the obvious one to go for, but this 2+2 coupe’s capabilities are only realised when you shift to a sportier mode.

Built on Lexus’s new rigid GA-L platform, the critical weight is at the centre and there’s a low centre of gravity to help you get the best out the performance. And you will relish that performance.

The LC 500 delivers 471bhp and will shoot from 0 to 62mph in 4.4 seconds and on to 168mph.

The so-called “seduction and technology” design theme provides an unbroken front to rear airflow, while the athletic profile is characterised by its sweeping roofline, which tapers rearwards to create a distinctive silhouette.

Sport and Sport+ Package options raise the LC’s sporting appearance with the addition of a carbon fibre reinforced plastic composite roof. The Sport+ Package also features an active rear spoiler that is automatically deployed at speeds above 50mph.

The LC’s 2+2 cabin – those rear seats are all-but useless - combines elegance, superb comfort, sophistication and intricate attention to detail with a driver-focused cockpit. The driver enjoys an excellent view of the road, uncompromised by the low seating position thanks to the low bonnet line and narrow width of the front pillars.

By equipping the LC with a limited-slip differential (LSD), Lexus allows the driver to enjoy secure acceleration while cornering.

Lexus considers the sound of the engine to be an important contributor to delivering driving pleasure. Great steps have been taken in the new LC to achieve an engine sound that stirs the emotions. In fact, engineers have worked to combine the sounds produced both by the air intake system at the front and the exhaust system at the rear to create what they describe as a “concert hall” effect inside the cabin, both as the car gains speed and slows down.

All versions of the LC are equipped as standard with Lexus Safety System +, a collection of active safety and driver assistance features that includes a pre-collision system which is designed to detect vehicles and pedestrians, automatic high beam and road sign assist.

And a 13-speaker Mark Levinson Reference Product audio system option uses innovative technologies to deliver concert hall quality sound.

This is the best all-round package to date from Lexus.