One of 2018's most highly anticipated model cars is set to release in the coming weeks: AUTOart's 1:18-scale Lexus LC500. The latest addition to AUTOart's line of ABS composite-bodied models, the LC500 is a ruby red piece of eye candy that eschews subtlety in favor of aggressive styling cues and classic GT proportions.

There was a time when big, stylish luxury coupes stood on the brink of extinction. In the mid-90s, affluent buyers were increasingly looking to posh SUVs as status-laden answers to their transportation needs. Within a matter of a couple of years, models like the BMW 8-series, Lexus SC and Lincoln Mark VIII all vanished from the marketplace. True, BMW and Mercedes-Benz soldiered on with high-end two-doors, but they lacked the glamour of the rakish coupes of the 80s and 90s. The Lexus LC500 marks a return to stunning, no-apologies style with the performance to match, with a 471-horsepower V8 and ten-speed transmission ready to back up the car's looks with some serious oomph.

AUTOart's gradual shift away from metal-bodied 1:18-scale cars toward ABS composite has been controversial, to say the very least. While the move was marketed as a cost-saving measure, AUTOart's models continue to bear premium price tags, and many model car collectors have been dissatisfied with the feel of these plastic-bodied cars. At Model Citizen, we've stayed neutral on the diecast-versus-composite issue; some of AUTOart's composite cars have been excellent, such as their Porsche 918 Spyder. Others have fallen a bit flat.

We believe strongly, however, that the Lexus LC500 represents a turning point in AUTOart's composite efforts, as early indications are that the model is among the company's best in years. Its paintwork is lustrous, and panel fit rivals any diecast 1:18-scale car you'll find. Interior detail is consistent with AUTOart's incredibly high standards, but where the LC500 really shines in in the exterior trim. The car's prominent grille is a polarizing feature, but in terms of faithful representation of the real thing, AUTOart positively nailed it. Also excellent are the car's open vents and carbon-fiber roof panel. The model is fully poseable, with opening hood (operated by realistic hinges), doors and trunk lid, and includes a delicate rear wing that can be extended.

Will the AUTOart Lexus LC500 be the model that changes hearts and minds about composite? We think so. Its excellence is undeniable, and we hope that it represents a return to form for AUTOart that becomes the norm for their plastic-bodied cars.

 We anticipate arrival of the Lexus LC500 in 1:18 scale by AUTOart around February 1, 2018. For availability updates, please join our members' list.


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