Lexus RC 300h F

Sport

Lexus RC 300h, front
Lexus RC 300h, front
Lexus RC 300h, front
Lexus RC 300h, front
Lexus RC 300h, front
Lexus RC 300h, side
Lexus RC 300h, side
Lexus RC 300h, rear
Lexus RC 300h, rear
Lexus RC 300h, rear
Lexus RC 300h, interior
Lexus RC 300h, interior

IT'S easy to become bamboozled by all the statistics and data that accompany new cars these days.

There are 0-62mph sprint times, Nm of grunt and torque, bhp and ps, CO2 and all sorts of acronyms and initialisms representing safety systems.

But one figure that impressed me on my latest car was the economy - or rather the mpg.

The car was the stunning Lexus RC 300h hybrid model that mates a 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine with an electric motor combination to produce 220bhp and it's as efficient and impressive as it gets.

Of course, Lexus is a brand that is heavily committed to hybrid technology and this latest two-door coupe model is testament to that.

It looks athletic and muscular from any angle thanks to its sleek lines, F Sport bumpers, mesh grille, LED daytime running lights, LED front and rear lights and chunky 19-inch F Sport alloy wheels.

The interior is Lexus through and through with a solid build quality and all the on-board technology you could wish for.

A large central partition separates the two front seats and there are lots of techno treats to explore mainly via a touchpad that takes a little getting used to, but after a while is simple to operate.

The interior is lavish in its design with deep red leather upholstery, lots of soft touch surfaces and a whole host of read-outs.

The instrumentation behind the steering wheel can be personalised with sections sliding in and out according to preference and there are energy monitoring screens that show the engine, electric motor and battery all working in tandem.

Creature comforts include a fabulous Mark Levinson sound system, sat nav, a CD player, Bluetooth, USB ports, heated and electrically-powered seats with memory settings for the driver. There is cruise control, dual-zone climate control and a seven-inch multimedia screen.

When it comes to performance, the RC 300h F Sport, priced at £39,645 (£43,265 with options), can reach from 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds, maxes out at 118mph, and can deliver combined fuel efficiency of 56.5mpg with carbon emissions of 116g/km.

The reason I mentioned the fuel economy figure being so impressive was we saw an average of 56.2mpg during our trial - normally the official and actual figures can be worlds apart but not on this occasion.

The car handles beautifully with a choice of driving modes called Eco, Normal and Sport. The latter really sharpens up the handling and responses. In addition, there is an EV mode and Snow mode for harsher driving conditions.

The acceleration through the electric CVT transmission is smooth and there are steering wheel mounted paddle shifts if you fancy taking a little more control.

In busy town centres, the Lexus was agile and easy to manoeuvre through the crowds, although the rear-view visibility through the tiny window is a little limited.

Then out on the faster roads, the car really bursts into life. The road holding is ultra-assured and there is ample driver feedback through the precise steering.

Comfort levels up front are excellent thanks to the supportive sports seats but like most sports coupe models, if you are relegated to the back seats, you have to question who you've offended.

The space in the back is very limited and the minute triangular windows make it a claustrophobic experience. Plus, to make things even more difficult the rear seats slope backwards so it really is a case of once you're in, you stay there.

The boot has a storage capacity of 340 litres and elsewhere there are a number of convenient cubby holes to safely store bits and bobs, including a lockable glovebox, narrow door pockets, cup holders and a central bin.

My only other gripe was the fiddly touchscreen. I tried to zoom out on an area and before I knew it the map was showing Madrid.

FAST FACTS

Lexus RC 300h F Sport

Price: £39,645

Mechanical: 220bhp, 2,494cc, 4cyl petrol engine with battery hybrid driving rear wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 118mph

0-62mph: 8.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 56.5

Insurance Group: 35

C02 emissions: 116g/km

Bik rating: 24%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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