Lexus has boosted the RC range in South Africa with the addition of the top-liner F Sport variant that borrows driving dynamics from the LC coupé along with some tweaks to the design and styling.
The exterior styling features subtle changes in the details, inspired by Lexus LC design cues, while inside the cabin, everything from the high-quality materials to the precise layout of controls and gauges has been crafted to maximise driving pleasure.
Enhancements have also been made to the RC 350 F Sport’s aerodynamics, tyres and suspension with concomitant improvements to engine response and steering feel, all of which reflect the ‘sharper and more refined’ drive philosophy that was introduced by the LC. This new RC is more stable than ever under a wide variety of driving conditions.
There is a new front bumper design along with a new grille mesh pattern comprising shapes that gradually transform from top to bottom, while the vertical arrangement of the ‘micro’ triple LED headlamps and new L-shaped LED Daytime Running Lights add to the car’s appearance.
At the rear, air ducts have been added to the corners of the rear bumper, resulting in better handling stability and enhanced overall driving response. The rear combination lamps now house more pronounced L-shaped lenses that are a new signature design feature for Lexus coupés.
A brushed treatment has been applied to the heater control and audio panels, while the cushioned knee pads on either side of the centre console have been made larger and raised higher. The driver’s palm rest has been reshaped and a stitching pattern has been added to the surface.
New 19-inch wheels shod with higher-grip tyres support excellent steering response. The tyres now have a reduced Rolling Resistance Coefficient, which aids in achieving the excellent ride comfort.
New shock absorbers, which provide significant damping force from low suspension stroke speeds, and stiffer suspension bushings have also been introduced. The new RC underwent extensive real-world testing, with chassis engineers constantly fine-tuning performance, to improve ride and handling.
It has a front and rear coil-spring independent suspension with monotube dampers and ball-joined stabiliser bars. The rear suspension has a double wishbone assembly and a multi-link system with a castor-locating rod for maximum rear grip and balance.
The 3,5-litre Lexus dual-injection 2GR-FKS V6 in the Lexus RC 350 F Sport delivers 232 kW of power at 6 600 r/min and 380 Nm of torque at 4 800 r/min, equating to a 0-100km/h sprint time of 6,3 seconds, topped off by a maximum speed of 230 km/h.
It produces claimed fuel economy figures of 9,4 l/100km combined, CO2 emissions of 217 g/km and is Euro-5 compliant.
The 2GR-FKS engine is matched to an eight-speed transmission with M Mode, allowing full torque-converter lock-up from second to eighth gears. The eight internal ratios have been chosen to balance the needs of sports driving and fuel economy – with a low first gear ratio for initial acceleration, closely spaced ratios in the intermediate gears for performance and urban-driving economy, and a tall eighth-gear ratio for motorway economy.
The transmission is linked to the Lexus Drive Mode Select function, with its ECO, NORMAL, SPORT and SPORT S+ settings.
The RC 350 F Sport is fitted with Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), which electronically controls and monitors all four dampers simultaneously to suit certain conditions and driving preferences.
It aids ride comfort when driving on rough roads by lowering the damping force but can also deliver a sporting drive with greater response and handling stability by increasing the damping force when SPORT S+ mode is engaged via Drive Mode Select.
The RC has the added feature of Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS), which controls steering ratio according to vehicle speed and steering operation. The latest-generation Lexus VGRS has the actuator unit on the steering column with an integrated rubber damper to reduce noise and vibration.
It comes with Lane Departure Alert with Lane Keep Assist, which uses a camera mounted behind the rear view mirror to help monitor the driver’s position in their lane and warns the driver in the event they inadvertently drift out of lane. The RC 350 F Sport’s Automatic High-Beam uses the same camera to switch to low beam when the lights of oncoming or preceding vehicles are detected.
The Lexus RC 350 F Sport retails for R939 100. The RC model also boasts a Lexus 7-year/105 000 km Warranty and Full Maintenance Plan as well as a Lexus Distance Plan Complete. The vehicle service intervals are at every 15 000 km, alternatively once a year.