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Lexus’ updated RC is an indulgent purchase but it’s oh so good to drive

2019-01-31 14:35

Sean Parker

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Image: Motorpress

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A new version of the Lexus RC luxury sports coupe has made its debut in South Africa in exclusive F Sport guise.

Lexus SA has done a Marie Kondo clean-up of its RC line-up and now only offers the F Sport model as part of the updated range. Sean Parker travelled to Gauteng to drive the two-door coupe that Lexus SA boss Glenn Crompton calls an "indulgent purchase". 

Never heard of the RC? Let me explain

First launched in 2014, the RC is a two-door coupe competes against the BMW 4 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe and the Audi A5 coupe. 

The RC’s platform is a smorgasbord of the GS (front), IS convertible (middle) and IS sedan (rear). Lexus literally call the 2019 model the ‘minor change RC’ and features a new grille, L-shaped LED headlamps and a new wheel design for the 19-inch alloys. 

The rear bumper now features air ducts which Lexus says aids handling stability.

On the topic of driving, what does it feel like behind the wheel?  

Sumptuous. It’s like tucking into your favourite dessert. The familiar 3.5-litre V6 engine has a lovely ring to and revs to a lofty 6600r/min.  And while it doesn’t have the immediacy of a turbocharged engine like its rivals, it has character and put a smile on my face whenever I mashed the throttle. 

Like its rivals the RC has configurable driving modes that make a tangible difference to the experience. In the most extreme setting Sport +, you get weightier steering and more immediate throttle response. The gearbox also holds cogs for a tad longer to use most of the revs. In manual mode, the gearbox uses throttle blipping control matching the engine speed to the gear.

Paddle-shifts on the steering are standard fare and for your information you’re welcomed by a hard shift from six to seventh gear that is welcomed. 

A claimed 0-100km/h sprint time of 6.3 seconds isn’t going to win you a street race but that’s not what this car is about. Its damping set up is grand tourer than sports coupe and that’s no mistake. Lexus says the RC is an indulgent purchase for an IS or ES owner that wants a car that stands out.  

The roads I drove on around Lanseria and Magaliesburg in Gauteng were a good test for the RC. There were some bumpy bits that reminded me of an adolescent teen’s face but then also fast sweeping bends that showed off the RC’s stability. 

It’s a very easy car to drive swiftly and I found myself enjoying both driving it hard and cruising. It’s the type of car you can cruise down to the coast and use as a daily with no fuss. 

Hey good looking  

At 4.7-metres long the RC cuts a beautiful low silhouette. The new LED headlights cut an imposing stance and the 19-inch wheels fill the arches like cake mix in a baking tin.

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Image: Motorpress

Lexus has added a few new exterior colours to the palette including a shocking lava orange and inside you’ll all the little levers and prominent bits covered in a satin-like chrome finish. The analogue clock is also new, in case you were wondering. 

GALLERY: 2019 Lexus RC 350 F

On the safety side the RC is fitted with tell you if you’ve drifted out of your lane, if there’s someone in your blind spot and brake automatically if it senses that you’re heading for a crash. 

Indulge yourself  

At R939 100 the RC F Sport offers a comprehensive package that has a lot of kit as standard, including a sunroof and adaptive cruise control.  

It also is sold with a seven year or 105 000km maintenance plan and warranty of the same duration. 

Crompton told us that vehicles like the RC sell well when the economy is doing well as people tend to splurge on something they wouldn't normally buy. Add incredible Japanese build quality, that lovely-sounding engine and a comfortable cabin it really makes for a compelling package. 

The only blight is the infotainment system that can be used via a 'mouse pad'.  

Truth be told, for people that can afford the RC it's a purchase you won't regret. 

LEXUS RC F SPORT

Image: Motorpress

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