Sedans & Coupes

Is the 2021 Lexus LC 500 Faster Than a Speeding Ford Mustang Bullitt?

With Toyota stopping V8 development, the Lexus LC 500 has become even more special. But it’s not the only coupe with a twilight-headed feature. Due to the Mach 1’s introduction, the Ford Mustang Bullitt, like the Shelby GT350, is bowing out. But before it does, Carwow wanted to send it off in style by racing the LC 500.

2021 Lexus LC 500 vs. 2020 Ford Mustang Bullitt: by the numbers

A green 2020 Ford Mustang Bullitt by a sunset city bay
2020 Ford Mustang Bullitt | Ford

The 2020 Ford Mustang Bullitt isn’t a shameless name-drop. Under the hood is an upgraded version of the Mustang GT’s 5.0-liter V8. Here, it makes 480 hp and 420 lb-ft; the extra 20 hp is thanks to the GT350’s air intake, upgraded throttle bodies, and a tweaked ECU, Road & Track reports. That power goes to the rear wheels via a 6-speed manual with automatic rev-matching, Automobile reports. And with it, the Mustang Bullitt goes 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds, and run the ¼-mile in 12.6 seconds, Car and Driver reports.

Besides the power upgrade, the Ford Mustang Bullitt has all the features from the Performance Pack Level 1, The Drive reports. That means Brembo brakes, an upgraded radiator, stiffer suspension and anti-roll bars, a strut-tower brace, and a limited-slip differential. Ford also recalibrates the ABS, stability control, power steering, and active exhaust. Plus, the Mustang Bullitt offers optional Recaro seats and magnetic dampers.

An orange 2021 Lexus LC 500 on a corner
2021 Lexus LC 500 | Lexus

Despite starting at almost $100k, the Lexus LC 500 is an underrated luxury coupe. And it’s been updated for 2021 with lighter suspension components, a stiffer rear anti-roll bar, and updated programming for the 10-speed automatic. But in terms of outright on-paper performance, the stylish coupe is a bit outgunned.

For one, it weighs about 500 pounds more than the Mustang Bullitt, Car and Driver reports. And secondly, it’s not as powerful. The 2021 Lexus LC 500 also has a 5.0-liter V8 driving its rear wheels. But it makes 471 hp and 398 lb-ft. As a result of the power and weight disadvantage, the LC 500 is seemingly slower. In Car and Driver’s hands, it went 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds and ran the ¼-mile in 13.2 seconds.

However, this is all true for US-spec cars. And Carwow films in the UK.

How Carwow tested the coupes

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Interestingly, the Ford Mustang Bullitt sold outside of the US isn’t quite as powerful. It’s likely to do with European emissions regulations affecting the ECU and exhaust. Regardless of the specifics, though, the European Bullitt only has 459 hp and 390 lb-ft, Top Gear reports.

However, it’s not all good news for the LC 500. It’s also detuned a bit in Euro-spec, down to 458 hp, Evo reports. And while the Mustang Bullitt doesn’t have its power advantage, it’s still the lighter coupe.

To compare the cars, Carwow ran several ¼-mile drag races: two from a standing start, and then two rolling races. In the first race, the Mustang Bullitt’s launch control was disabled but switched on for the second one. As for the rolling races, because the Mustang has a manual transmission, the first race had it start in 5th gear, and the second in 2nd gear. Finally, the Lexus and the Ford competed in a 70 mph-0 brake test.

Which is faster: the 2021 Lexus LC 500 or the 2020 Ford Mustang Bullitt?

In the end, it was the 2020 Ford Mustang Bullit’s manual transmission that helped decide the race results.

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Without launch control, the Mustang didn’t start off the line quite as quickly as the Lexus LC 500. And even with it, shifting manually meant the Bullitt finished only slightly ahead. Then in the rolling-start races, the automatic gave the LC 500 edge. The Mustang Bullitt even lost the braking test—an odd result, given that Car and Driver found the exact opposite to be true.

Still, a win’s a win. Turns out the 2021 Lexus LC 500 really is as fast as a speeding Bullitt.

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