review: Colin Sharp | images: Carla Nunes | price from: R425 400

The 2016 Lexus RC 200T EX is a luxury coupé that delivers good fuel economy from a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It might lack a little in athleticism when compared to its competition, but its profile is beautiful, as is its interior trim.

Sophisticated glitz are words that aptly describe this coupé. Adventurously styled inside and out, the RC is based on the Lexus IS sedan and benefits from the same revisions to that model. For 2016 / 17 the RC 200T remains the most affordable RC, its four-cylinder engine being offered with rear-wheel drive only. Up-range for SA is the all-wheel drive RC 350F with a 3.5-litre V6.

Interestingly, several notable critiques favour the 2-litre turbo option over the 3-litre V6, citing its verve and nimbleness on the road due to reduced front-end weight.

The dramatically styled four-seat cabin is trimmed in consistently high-quality materials. Dense padding covers the upper dashboard, armrests and even the sides of the centre console (where knees tend to rub). Interior design is the same in both versions and is quite exceptional, owing little to its German peers in terms of panache.

Though the multi-tiered cockpit is unusual it is appealing and patently contemporary, with a terraced layout and subtly upscale touches. The audio and climate controls are steeply angled, reinforcing the RC’s sporty vibe, and the buttons and knobs are generally easy to use. As is the norm with Lexus, it’s replete with high quality materials and includes very comfortable, well bolstered front seats. The decorative storyboard features hand-stitching on seats, door panels and steering wheel, piano black and alloy accents and state-of-the-art infotainment.

The RC 200T EX is very silent on the road. The coupé’s stiff structure providing a ride that cancels out tarmac imperfections; it’s only when the loud pedal is floored when gearing up that there is a pleasing crackle from the twin exhausts. There is a little road noise from the low profile 18-inch rubber, but overall this coupé offers an elegant and quiet ride; very typically Lexus.

For the full article see Habitat #256 November / December 2016