Toyota is getting a lot of attention at the moment thanks to a little two-door sports coupe that has finally broken cover.
However, tear yourself away from the photos and details of the inbound Supra and you’ll find that Toyota’s luxury cousin Lexus has been busy tittivating its own sporty little coupe – the RC.
The RC was launched back in 2014 to provide a “more emotional” driving experience to the general wafty, comfy, laid-back feel of the brand’s other cars.
At that point, it was available with either a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine or a petrol/electric hybrid but as part of the mid-cycle update the petrol has been dropped, leaving only the hybrid.
Lexus RC 300h F Sport
Engine: 2.5-litre, petrol with 105kW electric motor
Top speed: 112mph
0-62mph: 8.6 seconds
Economy: 40.8-47.5mpg (WLTP)
CO2 emissions: 114g/km
The 2.5-litre petrol engine is married to a single electric motor and in combination they provide 220bhp to the rear wheels.
Despite the decent power output and the coupe’s thoroughly sporting appearance, the RC takes 8.6 seconds to reach 62mph and tops out at a relatively weedy 112mph. Given that Skoda will sell you a diesel SUV that’s quicker to 62mph, that’s slightly disappointing and it doesn’t feel any quicker on the road than it sounds.
The relative lack of performance from the RC’s drivetrain is echoed in the way it drives on challenging roads.
The suspension has been tuned, says Lexus, to offer a more supple performance with improved grip and better handling. Sadly, on a tough road it just feels spongy and univolving. It lacks body control for a supposedly sporting car and there’s not much communication between the wheels and the steering. On top of that, the hybrid drivetrain’s transmission robs it of urgency or engagement. You can use paddles to simulate gearshifts but it’s hardly the same thing.
Wind back your ambitions slightly and drive it calmly and the RC starts to make more sense.
It has a very “Lexus” feel to it. It’s quiet, smooth, solid and relaxing, and the interior has been updated to make it feel more spacious and more luxurious, with design cues taken from the spectacular LC coupe.
It’s also equipped with plenty of kit, including the Lexus Safety System+, incorporating adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, automatic high beam and traffic sign recognition to make long drives less arduous.
Viewed as a grand tourer in a more compact package it works well. It’s really comfortable and refined and you could happily cover long distances on any road but it lacks that vital spark of a really good sports coupe.
It’s a shame the performance doesn’t match the looks because when it’s sitting still it looks fantastic. There are real echoes of its LC big brother in the yawning grille, V-shaped headlights and flared arches, and the F Sport’s additional spindle grille, 19-inch alloys and orange brake calipers enhance this further.
Go into the RC expecting an easy-going cruiser with decent economy and you won’t be disappointed but if you’re looking for a truly sporting coupe the RC falls short.