Although the Lexus RC 350 F-Sport is new to The Management Fleet, has our man already developed a soft spot?[Not a valid template]
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Those of you who haven’t read our recent mid-sized coupe feature over the page might want to have a skim through that first. I’ll hang on for a minute…
…read it? Okay good.
Given that the BMW 435i came out on top, you might be wondering why we opted for the RC 350 F-Sport to join The Management Fleet instead, and there are a couple of very good reasons for this. Firstly, in discussion with Lexus shortly after the group test, we explained our thoughts and findings only to be told, “ah, but that’s because you’ve not lived with it on a day-to-day basis, try it again”, and thus another test model was duly hastened our way.
And secondly, I’m actually quite interested in buying one. Well, when my raise comes through anyway (wink wink Bassam…)
Though it may follow in the footsteps of the IS and GS saloon/coupes, from the outset Lexus envisioned the RC as a sports coupe. The driver-focused design of the interior for instance was inspired by Lexus’ headline LFA supercar, and while the RC’s exterior design might draw on that of the GS and IS (the latter predominantly at the front, the latter at the back), underneath is a platform developed exclusively for the RC. Influence aside, the RC is very much its own model.
It’s a similar story when we look beneath the surface. The 306 bhp 3.5-litre naturally-aspirated V6 for instance is mated to an eight-speed Sport Program Direct Shift transmission principally for the purposes of fuel efficiency (as Lexus says, ‘eight is enough’) but not at the expense of performance: up to 277lb ft of means the RC 350 will hit 100kph in 5.8 seconds.
Our new long termer, like the group test model, is also an F-Sport, which brings with more than just a snappy bodykit and glitzy decals (in fact the only ones we can find are on the steering wheel arm and the front fenders). Inside we find sport seats, silver trim detailing and aluminium sport pedals, whilst outside we have a tweaked front grille and bespoke 19in alloys. It’s a good looking brute, one that also comes with Adaptive Variable Suspension for improved road holding over its base model, and Sport+ driving mode. In-keeping with the RC’s bespoke nature, most of the suspension components are new, whilst the chassis has undergone laser screw and spot welding, and myriad other processes to ensure as rigid a structure as possible, and consequently, good balance through the turns.
Against other segment rivals the Lexus may not have completely won James over but three months is a long time. Though I’m a big BMW man, I may yet be convinced to change my mind…
|RC 350 F-Sport
|V6 / 3456cc
|306bhp @ 6400rpm
|277lb ft @ 4800rpm
|Eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
|Four-wheel power assisted / 357mm (front / 310mm (rear)
|18 x 8in (front) / 18 x 8.5in (rear)
|235/45 R18 front and rear