The Lexus RC Coupe contains enough gadgets to keep the gents happy. But is it striking enough to impress the ladies? June Neary reports.
Will It Suit Me?
Will it suit me? Give any woman a luxury performance coupe like the Lexus RC for the day and see the poseur come out. I even started getting up early to give my sister lifts to school just down the road, as it was an opportunity to enjoy the refined drive. She, of course, loved it, rang all her friends, and told them to meet her by the gates, just so she could make an entrance.
Lexus drivers will know how their cars are much more than refined Toyotas. They are definitely a brand unto themselves. They are renowned for their feeling of space and you definitely get enough metal for your money. Inside, there's a driver-focused theme within a leather-lined cabin deliciously different to the German class norm in its statement of style. Though much of it is derived from the brand's humbler IS saloon, there's still an agreeably expensive feel, with lovely touches like the metal surround to the analogue dashboard clock. The whole effect avoids being overly ostentatious though some of the materials are quite varied, but it looks good, unique, cultured and clever, especially in the 'F SPORT' guise I tried. This more dynamic model is set apart by the aluminium finish used for the pedals, the interior trim panels and the scuff plates, plus a branded steering wheel and beautifully supportive bespoke 'F SPORT' seats with stitched quilting.
Behind the Wheel
Mainstream RC models both use four cylinder petrol engines to produce just under 250bhp, but achieve that goal in very different ways. The RC 200t I tried here goes the conventional route, with a straightforward twin-scroll 2.0-litre turbo unit developing 241bhp. Its ultimate performance is blunted a little by this car's relatively heavy weight, but 62mph can still be reached in 7.5s en route to 143mph. More importantly, it feels quite sporty, aided by a low-slung driving position and the rapid shifts of the standard eight-speed Sports Direct shift auto transmission you have to have. Earlier, I suggested that there were two engine choices. Most RC buyers will go for the other option, a 2.5-litre petrol/electric RC 300h hybrid derivative that puts out 220bhp, yet is capable of 57.6mpg on the combined cycle and 113g/km of CO2. In other words, you've all the ingredients for what might arguably be the most sensible sporting car you could buy.
Value For Money
The mainstream RC coupe range sits in the £35,000 to £40,000 bracket, well below the £60,000 that Lexus will ask of you to get this car in V8-powered RC F guise. The standard line-up's exclusively built around two 4-cylinder petrol engines: unlike its German rivals, this Japanese brand isn't offering a diesel in this car. Lexus thinks it has a better alternative to that kind of powerplant in the form of its 2.5-litre petrol/electric hybrid unit, available for a premium of around £1,000 over the other option in the line-up, a 2.0-litre petrol turbo. Whatever your choice of engine, it'll come mated to automatic transmission - a CVT belt-driven 'box with the hybrid or a Sports Direct Shift eight-speeder with the RC 200t.
Could I Live With One?
Just try me. If means or lifestyle permitted, the Lexus RC would be a beautiful car to own. Its sleek good looks and avant-garde aura would look wonderful on my driveway. All I need now is matching shoes and lipstick and I'll be on my way.