A touch of sport­ing magic

In­side and out it’s hard to find fault with the Lexus Sport Luxury, PETER BARN­WELL writes.

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - NEW: LEXUS RC350 -

AB­SO­LUTELY gor­geous, that’s how we would de­scribe the new Lexus RC350 coupe.

No, it’s not the rol­lick­ing, inya-face, V8-pow­ered RC-F.

This one is the more gen­teel 3.5L V6 that starts in price from $66,000 for the Luxury (add eight grand for the F-Sport, or 20K for the Sport Luxury, which we drove).

They are big price in­cre­ments con­sid­er­ing the car is pretty much the same un­der­neath apart from add-on tech­nol­ogy, luxury and safety kit. Ba­si­cally, we’d be pretty happy with the “base” model.

How­ever, we were in the top of the whizzer Sport Luxury, which scores clever kit like adap­tive sus­pen­sion, vari­able gear­ing steer­ing, rear steer, 19inch al­loys, Mark Levin­son power sound, sup­ple leather, heated and ven­ti­lated seats and rear cam­era.

You won’t be want­ing for much in the Sport Luxury RC350.

Un­der the bon­net, the 350 is pow­ered by a 3.5L V6 petrol en­gine with di­rect fuel in­jec­tion into the cylin­ders and also port in­jec­tion — just like the Toy­ota’s 86 sports coupe.

The en­gine is out of the Lexus GS and has vari­able valve tim­ing and other tricky stuff to help achieve a ro­bust 233kW/378Nm out­put — on 95 RON petrol.

Drive goes to the rear wheels through a sports cal­i­brated, eight-speed “di­rect shift” au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

The RC350 chas­sis is unique but there’s been plenty of lever­ag­ing from across the Lexus line-up for var­i­ous el­e­ments — GS, IS Coupe and ISF sedan for ex­am­ple all con­trib­uted bits and pieces to the ve­hi­cle.

The re­sult is stunning, ar­guably the most well­rounded Lexus in the line-up.

Apart from lack­ing rear leg room, there ain’t much to crit­i­cise here.

Our test car was in stealth black and the elec­tric blue is even more strik­ing.

RC350 boasts the Lexus fam­ily spin­dle grille at the front and notch rear styling with a suc­ces­sion of swoop­ing curves along its flanks.

In­side there’s a touch pad com­mand con­troller, a large multi-pur­pose screen and the quick­est Blue­tooth hook-up we have ex­pe­ri­enced.

From be­hind the driver’s seat the RC350 of­fers plenty of en­gage­ment if you choose to drive in a sporty vein.

Choose to cruise and it’s just as handy with nu­mer­ous driver as­sist and aid func­tions to make the car al­most drive it­self.

A long-dis­tance tour would be a joy in this car but so is punting it on a wind­ing road.

It has four drive modes each with its own cal­i­bra­tions — Eco, Nor­mal, Sport and Sport+ with the third op­tion the best for all round driv­ing.

As­sist­ing the car’s dy­namic com­pe­tence is adap­tive sus­pen­sion, which reads how it is be­ing driven and driv­ing con­di­tions, ad­just­ing it­self ac­cord­ingly.

The same ap­plies to the steer­ing, which has vari­able gear­ing.

Put it this way, the RC350 Sport Luxury (and the F-Sport for that mat­ter) is a re­ally handy tool in a wide range of driv­ing ap­pli­ca­tions.

The dou­ble wish­bone sus­pen­sion soaks up the bumps, doesn’t de­flect when it does en­counter them and de­liv­ers a com­posed ride. The brakes are up to the task as well.

Love it ... the look in­side and out, per­for­mance (0-100km/h in 6.3 sec), can drink a bit at 9.4 litres/100km.

But hey, it’s a sweet thing to drive and be­hold — 4 ½ stars out of five.

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