The Lexus RC 300h stirs the soul, but is it a match for German rivals? Geraldine Herbert finds out
What is it? So you want something sporty and premium that wouldn’t look out of place at a Greenpeace fundraiser. You want it to look masculine but not bling, with good driving manners, plush interior and comfort. Well, Lexus would like to tempt you with their 2019 RC 300h – a hybrid coupé.
Is it a looker? Launched back in 2014, the 2019 refresh not only brings subtle changes inspired by design cues from the larger and stunningly gorgeous LC, but the RC’s long, low, attention-seeking shape now sports a new front bumper, grille and headlamps imbuing it with a new elegance.
What about the interior? Inside, you will struggle to notice much change but the tweaks include a new analogue dash clock and a distinctive stitching pattern has been added that epitomises edgy style and sophistication.
On the downside, the seats in the rear are tiny and best reserved for shopping bags, while the rear-view mirror tells you virtually nothing that is going on behind you.
Under the bonnet? TThe engine remains unchanged. The RC is still powered by a 2,494cc direct-injection, four-cylinder petrol that delivers 223bhp with torque of 221Nm. The electric motor has an output of 105kW, so the combined power is 164kW. The rear-wheel-drive RC300h accelerates from 0-60 in 8.6 seconds and has a maximum speed of 118mph. Average fuel consumption is between 40.82 to 47.55 and CO2 emissions are 131.7g/km, both determined under the new stricter WLTP tests.
And on the road? On the road, the RC handles as well as rivals and even comes very close to the best in terms of ride comfort. The only real let-down is the whine of the CVT gearbox – even above the tyre noise it’s noticeable, but overall the ride is firm, the steering responsive and the handling is good.
Will it break the bank? Available in three grades – entry level RC, F Sport and Takumi prices for the RC 300h start at £38,000 on the road.
Why you will like it? Cars by Lexus have never blended into the background and they each blaze their own visual trail, and the RC is no exception. As a niche model, it will struggle against the likes of the BMW 4 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe, and the Audi A5. However, while it’s not a sports car, the RC 300h is a striking two-door coupe with oodles of panache that is considerably less ostentatious than many rivals.
25th January, 2019