Lexus RC 300h F

Sport

Lexus RC, 2019, front
Lexus RC, 2019, side
Lexus RC, 2019, rear
Lexus RC, 2019, interior
Lexus RC, 2019, dashboard
Lexus RC, 2019, instrument panel

NOT everyone who drives a rakish, powerful looking car wants to tear through the countryside frightening the wildlife and terrifying villagers.

Quite often a sports car is bought for its beauty ... beguiling looks that are irresistible to the thousands of us who gripped by that awful disease, automania.

So it shouldn't come as a great surprise that beneath the long sloping bonnet of the glamorous looking, two-door Lexus RC 300h is a power unit that won't propel it any faster than a warm hatch ie a Fiesta or Polo.

With a top speed of slightly less than 120mph and a sprint - or should it be a meander - to 62mph in nearly nine seconds, it is distinctly middle-of-the-road.

But there's more to the sculptured coupe than mere statistics or even dazzling good looks. Unlike a number of hybrids that shout their ‘greenness' in the same way a conservationist may don Jesus sandals, the RC is a definite city slicker in Loake loafers and a smart pin-stripe suit.

A 2.5-litre four cylinder petrol engine is coupled with Lexus's own hybrid drive driven by electric continuously variable transmission - a belt driven automatic system.

What it loses in outright power its gains in smoothness and married to an excellent suspension system offers a near perfect blend of comfort and roll-free cornering.

Retuned steering and redesigned shock absorbers are features of the latest model which was refreshed for this year. Both improvements pay dividends in enhancing the handling and increasing driving satisfaction.

The CVT gearbox tends to perpetually sound on the point of changing up - a feature of this type of transmission. Fortunately, the Lexus is so refined and quiet this aspect is easier to overlook and isn't a major irritation.

The cabin, which is compact but well planned, is pure Lexus, ie high grade plastics, superbly comfortable front seating which hold driver and passenger in place well, and a general air of luxury. Less impressive are the sensitive touchscreen and fiddly switchgear.

It's designated a two-plus-two but the rear seats are really only of use for young children. Boot space is about average for a coupe with 340 litres of luggage room.

One big plus about hybrids is their low emissions. The RC notches up just 114g/km which keeps it in a low tax band, appealing strongly to business users who have an eye on benefit-in-kind tax. Official economy is given as 40.8 - 47.5 (combined WLTP) but real life driving during the drive was more like 38mpg over 200-mile cross country run.

While economy falls short of diesel levels of frugality, it is so much smoother and quieter making long distance touring a relaxed and strain-free business.

FAST FACTS

Lexus RC 300h F Sport

Price: £42,300

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

Max Speed: 118mph

0-62mph: 8.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 40.8 - 47.5

Insurance Group: 32

C02 emissions: 114g/km

Bik rating: 26%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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