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Lexus RC review: Sporty RC is the full package

Even though they’re thoroughly impractical (with their uncomfortable back seats and difficult-to-drive characteristics), there’s something about a swooping coupe shape that sends the pulse racing and creates a mental image of you in the driving seat.

Then the reality of a family hatchback or people carrier brings you crashing back down to earth. Of course the other thing we associate with sporty cars is youth, which is one of the biggest myths in the car industry

The reality is that most new sports cars, coupes and grand tourers are beyond the financial reach of young consumers and most are bought by 50-something buyers. This new RC from Lexus, Toyota’s premium sub-brand, is the perfect example.

The company describes it as “a two-door coupe that delivers… a refined and engaging driving experience” but that word “refined” gives the game away, especially when the company admits that although it is aimed at younger buyers than its usual clientele, that usual clientele is already in its mid-50s.

If Lexus is right, that means the RC will be the kind of car that those buyers hitting a significant birthday (ending in zero and starting with five) will be buying to celebrate a minor midlife crisis.

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The RC has a 2.5-litre engine

The RC certainly looks just the car to be noticed in. That eye-catching exterior design has the classic long nose and short rear overhang of a traditional coupe combined with Lexus’s futuristic corporate design cues with its wide grille and L-shaped headlights.

It’s a sporty-looking machine. First up is the 300h hybrid version that you now expect to find in every Lexus model range.

A 2.5-litre petrol engine is paired with an electric motor to produce 220bhp, which enables it to accelerate from 0 to 60mph in 8.4 seconds and continue on to a top speed of 118mph.

It’s not the quickest car – there’s no sense of urgency low down in the rev range and the CVT automatic gearbox makes accelerating hard noisy, but it’s a hybrid, so the underwhelming performance is hardly going to be a surprise to buyers, plus the flip side is that average fuel economy is up to 57.6mpg and emissions start at 113g/km, so low running costs will offset any disappointment about its pace.

The sportier option is the 200t, a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine that produces 241bhp. It feels slightly more responsive but it’s still sluggish in comparison with a really focused sports car, so its 0 to 60mph time of 7.3 seconds sounds about right.

It’s not quite as bad once it gets going, but the eight-speed automatic gearbox does its best to keep the engine within a more economical rev range, so you have to fight to countermand its instincts with the gear-change paddles behind the steering wheel.

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Price: £34,995-£40,495

Economy figures do reflect the 200t’s slightly sportier character, though, with 38.7mpg and 168g/km.

T he RC is a sporty-looking coupe, but the performance figures are a useful hint at just how sporty the car is to drive (not very). First, it’s hamstrung by its weight: the 300h has a kerb weight of more than 1.7 tonnes, while the 200t is only slightly trimmer.

On the road the car feels heavy, which has a detrimental effect on its agility, although it does feel balanced and body control is suitably well contained. The steering is accurate, especially in the 200t, so from that point of view, it can be pretty rewarding to drive.

Source: http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/cars/641689/Lexus-RC-review

Feb 8th, 2016