When you launch a brand new luxury car, you can’t just do it at any old venue. A vehicle that represents elegance and beauty needs a backdrop to match. So, the pairing of the new Lexus LC 500 and Jackalope Hotel, Mornington Peninsula was a match made in design heaven. We were fortunate enough to be able to attend the Lexus LC 500 launch at Jackalope, and needless to say, we were in awe of both the car and the location from the second we arrived.
Lexus LC 500
First up, the car itself is a thing of beauty. It represents a new phase in the Japanese car manufacturer’s life; one that’s characterised by a perfect synergy of elevated luxury design and performance. The LC 500 has been in the making for five years, with every component designed and re-designed multiple times to ensure superior functionality and performance. The result is a simply stunning car, with a streamlined exterior and clean interior.
The Lexus coupe’s low, wide shape is the first giveaway of the next level luxury offering. It has nice lines and curves in all the right places, with sharp and refined headlights and a well-proportioned grille. The rear is an extension of the powerful look from up front. It all comes together coherently to create a modern and sophisticated car that we believe can easily rival that of competing luxury car manufacturers.
The LC 500’s interiors are highly impressive too. It can be tough for some non-European car manufacturers to match the quality and detail of interiors from European brands, but Lexus has totally hit the mark here. Think soft, premium leather with faultless stitching pierced throughout with sleek metal details. All the controls, knobs, and dials are well designed and laid out in such a way as to keep the dashboard clean. The 10.3″ hi-res screen is embedded into the fascia and features a stellar new Lexus multimedia system. Navigation, digital radio, and Bluetooth come standard but there is also the addition of Miracast, Mobile Assistant, speed limit display, and USB video playback.
One of our favourite new components of the Lexus LC 500 is the touch control pad. This is what’s used to control the multimedia features. Though based on the same design in previous generation models, the one in the new coupe comes sans joystick, and is controlled entirely by touch. Of course, this is very simple to pick up considering most of our tech devices nowadays are touch-screen, so the swipe movements come naturally.
Mark Levinson is responsible for the incredible sound quality delivered by the LC 500. According to Lexus, the brand’s specialists used 24 different microphones to measure sound frequencies in different spots of the car’s cabin. This helped them find the optimal spots to place the 13 speakers. We can certainly attest that all this research worked, because the 918-watt system is amazing. The sound was super clear and crisp, and even when we had it cranked up it never sounded distorted.
LC 500 & LC 500h
The luxury Lexus coupe actually arrives on Australian shores in two different versions; the V8 LC 500 and a hybrid LC 500h. They’re both priced the same here (a cool $190,000 in case you were wondering), so it’ll be interesting to see which one is more popular in the market.
At the launch, we had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the LC 500h. It combines a 3.5L V6 engine with a 650v Hybrid system. With a combined power of 264kW, the hybrid delivered a fierce performance. It was an easy drive that was firm but smooth. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to experience the V8 LC 500, but the sound emitted from its exhaust was simply phenomenal. By all accounts and from what we witnessed, the non-hybrid version was quick off the mark, with 540Nm of torque and 351kW of power. It looked an absolute treat to drive.
Lexus launched the LC 500 at Jackalope Hotel on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria. The new hotel, named after the mythical North American animal, is the brainchild of entrepreneur Louis Li, who wanted to create a design-lead boutique accommodation offering in the vineyard-rich location. The 46-room luxury hotel encapsulates a unique Melbourne vibe. This is due to the fact that they used mostly Melbourne-based architects, designers, and furniture makers to create it. Even the amenities found in the rooms are supplied by local brand Hunter Lab.
We stayed in a room that faced out towards the infinity pool and adjacent, on-site vineyard. This was a serene and relaxing view; the perfect spot to come back to after a day of driving and eating. The room’s design was simply outstanding. It sported a minimalist aesthetic, awash with shades of white and grey that gave it a premium feel. In contrast, the bathroom completely popped, thanks to its earthy-toned tiles. Our only complaint was that we didn’t have more time to enjoy the room and its impressive comforts.
Doot Doot Doot
Jackalope Hotel’s primary restaurant offering is Doot Doot Doot, lead by Executive Chef Guy Stanaway. The restaurant’s upscale fare features ingredients sourced mostly locally, with wine served from the on-site vineyard. We had dinner here, and like everything else we’d experienced at Jackalope, it was incredible. All the dishes served were delicious and the flavours were remarkably well-balanced.
We also got to check out Rare Hare and Flaggerdoot, the cellar door/cafe and cocktail lounge respectively. Again, each of these spots were experiences in and of themselves, with the food and drink offerings being exceptional. Moreover, the interior design of the spaces was unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Flaggerdoot especially presented an interesting mix of dark herringbone flooring, dark furniture, and a black ceiling, contrasted with almost fluorescent lighting, resulting in a very contemporary and unique looking space.
The Wrap-Up – Lexus LC 500 Launch At Jackalope Hotel
Each representing superior quality, design, luxury, and elegance, the Lexus LC 500 and Jackalope Hotel are a perfect pairing. Lexus’ first foray into elevated luxury design seems entirely successful, and both the LC 500 and LC 500h are powerful cars that deliver exceptional performance and impressive design. Jackalope Hotel is a new benchmark for luxury boutique hotels in Australia, and it’s certainly one to keep an eye on as new locations are launched around the country.