PERFECT FIT: The Lexus RC 200t is at home travelling through Franschhoek's wine estates. Image: QuickPic
Franschhoek - It’s no surprise that Forbes billionaire businessman Analjit Singh, who recently bought a huge chunk of Franschhoek, drives a Lexus. The Japanese brand perfectly epitomises the detail and aesthetic precision that oozes from every corner of the breathtaking Leeu Estates, where the love of my life and I recently languished for the night en route to Suurbraak.
Although I couldn’t compete with the rumoured R500-million that Singh spent on his Franschhoek shopping spree, developing three adjoining farms – Dieu Donné, Klein Dassenberg and Von Ortloff – when it came to Lexi, I was definitely one ahead in my wheels for the weekend, the sporty Lexus RC 200t (RC stands for responsive coupé, by the way). While Singh drives the suitably practical Lexus RX 350t SUV around his sprawling wine estate, in the looks and performance department, my RC left his Lexus in the shade of a vine.
'Feisty, dynamic performance'
Sculptured and edgy with a subtle hint of muscle car, this baby oozes luxury and comfort both inside and out. Coupled with a slick eight-speed automatic transmission, the 2 litre turbocharged RC is a master drive on the open road. With 180kW of power and 350Nm of torque, it delivers a feisty, dynamic performance, especially in sport mode. On the steep and daunting Hellshoogte pass, the RC took on bends and corners with racing car responsiveness.
In a hotly contested segment surrounded by great rides such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3 Series, the real deal breaker on the feisty Lexus RC (available in just one spec – the EX) is that everything comes standard. And what a list of luxury: the front seats are enveloped in top-quality leather, there’s front seat heat and ventilation, two-way driver seat lumbar support, a multifunction steering wheel with cruise control, a full-colour infotainment display, plus satellite navigation.
The exterior is adorned with gorgeous LED lights, headlamp washers, heated and retractable side mirrors and a cool sunroof.
On the safety front, where Lexus always excels, there are ABS, brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution, plus vehicle stability control, traction control and hill-start assist. To manoeuvre around tight spaces, use park-distance control and the reverse-view camera.
Phew. After an overload of service and luxury, it was almost a relief to get down to basics in our little self-catering Suurbraak cabin and heat up a can of beans.
Lexus RC 200t EX - R730 600