ON THE ROAD – IAN LYNAS DRIVES THE NEW LEXUS RC F SPORT
My first Lexus experience came courtesy of the LS, and I was blown away with this challenger which had ventured from the Far East to take on the might of the German brands.
Refinement, build quality and extremely low noise levels were key qualities and always I will never forget the Mark Levinson sound system highlighting sounds which my in house hi-fi system failed to do.
Down the years, Lexus has continued improving just about all aspects of the modern motor car and my latest experience came in the sunshine of Southern Spain with their latest offering, the RC Coupe, which benefits in no small way from the LC, a car which has created a whole new wave of interest in the brand.
We first saw the RC in 2014, however in its latest guise it’s a much improved vehicle and sports a refined design with performance that is sure to please. In its segment it reigns supreme as a hybrid- which has become very much the hallmark of Lexus.
The F Sport was developed on both the road and track. I had a brief meeting with the chief engineer who informed me that virtually every motor racing circuit in Japan was employed in a test programme, as were many European roads.
With a three grade offering in the RC Coupe, most tastes are catered for and on this occasion I had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the F Sport. This model is easily recognised by its exclusive styling features which relate to both the exterior and the interior. Right away eyes are on the spindle grille with the new F Sport mesh pattern.
Riding on nineteen inch alloys shod with Bridgestone tyres, this Lexus does manage to serve up a generous helping of on road presence. Other distinguishing features include orange coloured brake calipers, LED headlights in a triple pattern with auto high beam and front LED front indicator lamps.
The interior and the sports theme flows through from the exterior, sports steering wheel, pedals and hip hugging front seats.
Options can further add to the pleasure of being in control of this Lexus and they include a Takumi pack which includes a seventeen speaker system courtesy of Mark Levinson, a heated steering wheel, card key, Naguri style aluminum trim inlays, a useful blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, and a tilt/slide sunroof should the sun decide to come out to play.
Right at the top of the RC family is the Takumi with of course the aforementioned Mark Levinson system and other features including a memory setting for the driver’s seat and very tasteful leather upholstery.
Of course the real joy of the RC F Sport is when you press the start button and take to the road.
Providing the power to this rear wheel drive coupe is a 2.5 litre petrol engine with a max output of 178bhp and the electric motor has an output of 142bhp, the combined system power is 220bhp.
Rest to 100kph (62mph) is reached in a respectable 8.6 seconds with top speed 180kph(112mph). Looking at emissions, as low 114g/km. With having a full self charging hybrid system this Lexus has the capability of running emissions free on electric power alone.
The power unit and the automatic transmission work in harmony like a well tuned instrument and the perfect cocktail is created with the suspension system.
The Lexus engineers worked to fine tune not only the suspension, but also the power train. The end result a flatter and more stable ride quality. Certainly over the mountain-like roads above Malaga I discovered the sharper handling. There is something just that little bit tasty about a rear wheel drive car.
Further tuning in the steering department aids in providing the driver with accurate feedback, certainly the drive enjoyment that this coupe delivers is thoroughly satisfying.
Safety is key and this newcomer benefits from the Lexus Safety System+, a cocktail of features to protect all onboard.
Despite being, in my book, classified as a sporty means of transport, the RC F Sport delivers an excellent overall package which includes those legendary key items, low noise levels and sheer refinement which has taken the brand to number four globally in the premium ranks.
Does it offer a challenge to the German brands which to be honest dominate this sector of the market with sales in the eighty percent bracket? Sure, Lexus is not yet a major player, clearly they are not in the numbers game, rather in the business of delivering the complete package.
The new RC Coupe gets my vote and especially with the F Sport.