This is the new Lexus RC, in production-ready, road-going form. It’s a lower, lither, two-door coupe version of the current IS saloon, and is designed to win younger buyers to the Lexus brand who’d normally default to a BMW 4-series, Audi A5, or Mercedes C-class coupe. Should the Germans fear anything from the Japanese pretender? Read on for the complete CAR story.
Lexus RC coupe: what’s new?
The RC is marginally longer, wider, and lower than its four-door IS sister, giving a sleeker stance that’s accentuated by the flowing body surface lines. Not that you’ll have noticed that, of course, thanks to the most outrageous Lexus ‘spindle grille’ yet.
Consider the RC in our gallery is riding on 19in alloys and you’ll get a sense of just how gaping that monstrous snout is. It’s sure to be divisive, but after the BMW 4-series copped flack for looking too conservative, and with the Audi A5 getting long in the tooth, perhaps Lexus’s styling gamble will pay off, bringing buyers flocking from the Germans.
And what engines will they have to choose from?
Refreshingly, there’s a simple choice of two engines in the rear-drive Lexus RC – the catch being these are the American market engines. The European line-up is yet to be released, but we expect it to mirror the IS saloon range: a 2.5-litre ‘250’ V6 and a less brawny but more economical hybrid IS300h.
In the show car, the top-spec powertrain is a 3.5-litre, naturally aspirated petrol V6. Called the RC350, the range-topper will rival the BMW 435i and Audi S5 in the US. A flagship RC-F deploying V8 grunt is expected in 2014. No manual transmission will be available, like in the IS saloon.
What’s the news inside?
The dashboard design has been carried over wholesale from the IS saloon – no bad thing, we think. What’s not so great is the inclusion of the same mouse-operated infotainment interface, which is about as intuitive as tapping your head and rubbing your stomach while driving. Here it's touchpad- rather than physical lever-controlled, though.
The RC seats four passengers in a 2+2 configuration, and Lexus claims the seats are constructed using the same method as racing seats, which provides the win-win situation of decent support and good comfort.
>> Do you like how the Lexus RC looks? Is it a credible rival to ubiquitous German coupes? Add your thoughts below