IF cars sold on looks alone, it's a safe bet that the Lexus RC 300h would top the sales charts.
For those unfamiliar with the rather anonymous sounding RC 300h, it is a rakish four seater (just) coupe along the lines of a BMW 4 Series or an Audi A5... roomy enough for a couple to go on holiday in, but not sufficiently spacious to take their in-laws as well.
The thing about the Lexus is its sharp lines and angles come together in perfect harmony and it's all in total proportion. It's a showstopper. Not only small boys, but grown men and a fair number of ladies too, stand back to admire it in a car park or street.
But there's more to cars than looks alone. And the RC is unusual here in being a hybrid, ie it's driven by a combination of a petrol engine linked to an electric motor. No diesel variant is available in the range which is a disadvantage in marketing terms.
Nevertheless the silky 2.5-litre engine produces a smooth, creamy performance that matches the grand touring looks even if it won't deliver fireworks in a traffic light grand prix. Top speed is a modest 118mph and it reaches 62mph in 8.6 seconds.
Economy is nearly a match for most diesels of a similar power. With emissions of a meagre 113g/km the official consumption is 57.6mpg. Of course, only with a hurricane force tail wind is this likely to be achieved but I easily managed the 40mpg mark on general running which took in town and motorways.
The weighty RC 300h F Sport is not as nimble around tight bends as its German rivals but show it a motorway or a fast A-road and you'll find its level of refinement and ride comfort an easy match for the competition. In fact, the eerie silence, when in electric mode, makes it one of the quietest cars on the road.
In keeping with car's relaxed and refined manner, there's an automatic gearbox fitted as standard with no option of a manual change. The CVT box (continuous variable transmission) is a good match to the power unit and produces a smooth delivery. Some CVT systems have almost a sewing-machine freneticism about them, but it works well in this Lexus.
The sleek lines and low roofline are achieved, to some extent, at the cost of accommodation space.
Room in the rear is tight and the aperture passengers must clamber through is quite small. Once seated there, it's comfortably snug. Those up front are well catered for with ample space, leather upholstery and a cabin that mirrors Lexus aspirations to provide Mercedes-like quality and ambience.
Despite the wedge shaped profile, there's a separate boot rather than a hatchback in similar fashion to the 4 Series and A5. Carrying capacity is a bit down on the competition with space for 370 litres of luggage but the boot is well shaped and easy to load.