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Lexus enters sporting ranks with RC coupe

28.07.2015

THE local Lexus range has been missing a sporty derivative ever since the previous generation IS F went out of production. Sure, the current IS 350 is a great performer but it does lack the desirability of a coupe. Now though, the brand has introduced the RC, a coupe set to take on the likes of the BMW 4 Series, Audi's A5 and the upcoming Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe.

Those looks

I do know that the design of a vehicle is a very subjective thing, but either way you look at RCs, they are attention-grabbing. The front-end resembles many other Lexus products with the 'spindle' grille - as the company calls it.

In side profile, the car looks like a proper sports coupé with a sleek silhouette, large wheels and a straight shoulder line extending to the rear-end where the lights protrude; there’s even a bumper complete with slats and large exhaust exits for good measure.

Interior attention

As with many a Lexus product, the level of quality and the tangible material used throughout the cabin are top notch. I’m not sure that I prefer it to the German competition, but it is still a very nice place to be. The centre console slopes upward and creates a great atmosphere, while the finger-touch pad infotainment system works a treat along with the top-mounted screen. There is also a 423-litre boot good for two sets of golf clubs, which is par for the course in this segment.

Handling and ride quality

The car does handle well. We tackled a few mountain passes on the launch and it feels noticeably more responsive than the IS. Lexus tells me that the RC uses the double-wishbone front suspension from the GS and the multi-link rear suspension of the IS sedan, albeit stiffened for this application.

It is a heavy car though at around 1 740kg and this weight can be felt when pushing on. It does, however, feel very refined with good ride quality over bumps and superb comfort levels, something which the brand is famous for and which I’m sure is a result of the electronic dampers.

Local range

For now we’ll only have the RC 350 F-Sport locally however, the RC 200t EX will be joining the range in the coming months and should prove a better option for those living up at the reef. We won’t be getting the RC F 5.0-litre V8 for the time being.

What do I get?

The model gets multi-LED headlamps, LED Daytime Running Lamps (DRLs), Lane Departure Alert (LDA), Auto High Beam lighting, reverse camera, 19-inch alloys wheels, electronic dampers, cruise control, satellite navigation, climate control, eight airbags, 10-speaker sound system, heated/electric seats as well as the Remote Touch Interface infotainment system with Bluetooth and iPod/USB compatibility. The car also has several driving modes such as Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport S+ settings, all of which alter the throttle response, gearbox shift ferocity and the stiffness of the electronic dampers.

Under the hood

Powering this new model is the familiar 3.5-litre V6 naturally aspirated motor seen in other Lexus products. It produces 233kW/378Nm making it good for a claimed 0-100km/h time of 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 230km/h. The engine sounds great although I did note - while the eight-speed torque converter gearbox provides satisfactory shifts - the car is lacking some torque, which I can see becoming worse up at the reef.

Verdict

The RC coupé might be the brand’s sporty model but in my opinion, at least, it does the sporty thing a bit differently. Think of it as a grand tourer with a meaty bark and the looks to match and I think you’ll get what the car is all about. It is well priced, looks good, is well specified and is definitely the left-field choice for those wanting something different.

Warranty and service plan

The RC 350 F-Sport comes with a four-year/100 000km full maintenance plan and a four-year/ 100 000km warranty.

Price

Lexus RC 350 F-Sport: R730 900

 

Article written by Sean Nurse
28.07.2015
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