Car review (launch report): Lexus RC 350 F-Sport

Engaging but not exhausting to drive

This week saw the launch of the Lexus RC in South Africa. This wasn’t a car I was all too familiar with, but what I did know was that it was a two-door coupe. Now the thing about these two-door coupes is that while they can be a lot of fun, they aren’t exactly practical. And more often than not those rear seats are just the pits and no one really wants to draw the short straw and have to sit in them for any length of time.

I had no expectations arriving on this launch so I didn’t quite know how I would feel about the RC 350 F-Sport. On first impression, I wasn’t bowled over by its styling. It was typical Lexus, but over the course of the day, it grew on me and by the time I left a day later the styling had really convinced me. It stands out that’s for sure. Especially amongst its competitors, thinks BMW 435i and Audi A5.

Lexus RC 350 F-Sport

Inside, the all-black cabin could do with a bit of brightness, but that just wouldn’t be sporty now would it? Lexus has combined leather, chrome and plastics to create a sporty yet luxurious cabin. The centre console takes up a lot of space and the Lexus Remote Touch Interface (which uses a track pad instead of a toggle) takes some getting used to. Especially if you are right handed. But the Lexus RC 350 F-Sport comes packed with standard spec…in fact there are no optional extras.

Lexus RC 350 F-Sport

But you will be happy with sat nav, cruise control, Bluetooth, power front seats with ventilation and heating, Smart entry and start, reverse camera, parking sonar front and rear and an electrically operated moonroof. On the safety side of things you can expect Lane Departure Warning, Auto High beam, LED head and fog lamps, Adaptive variable suspension and eight airbags.

The Lexus RC 350 F-Sport is powered by a 3,5-litre V6 engine, which produces 233 kW and 378 N.m of torque. It can sprint to 100 km/h in just 6,3 seconds. The Drive Mode Select lets you choose between Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport S+. The difference is certainly noticeable and selecting Sport S+ takes it from a nice Sunday drive along the coast to a little speed demon that just wants to eat the road. The roar of the engine as you hit the higher revs only makes you want to push things even further. The standard 8-speed automatic transmission is smooth and responsive.

Lexus RC 350 F-Sport

Speaking of smooth, the Lexus RC 350 F-Sport rides on 19-inch alloy wheels and I assumed the ride would be rather firm, but to my surprise it was really smooth and just cruised over the road imperfections.

Like I mentioned in the intro, coupes are the pits when it comes to the rear seats. The RC’s front bucket seats are comfortable and in fact, it was really easy to get in to the rear when the motorised front seat is moved forward. And once sitting in there, I was ok…for a moment, I don’t think I could do a long trip in the back. But getting out is whole other story. Let’s just say it was not lady like.

The Lexus RC 350 F-Sport costs R730 900. Later this year we will see the entry level RC 200t in EX trim, but we won’t see the fire breathing V8 RC-F come to South Africa.

Lexus has done a good job ensuring this model stands out from the crowd. It has a distinct personality and I think that the person who buys this, who isn’t the shy reserved kind, will enjoy the engaging, but not exhausting drive as well as being a little bit different!