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Herald Sun - Motoring - - SHORT CUT - PETER BARNWELL CUTS TO THE CHASE

VALUE

The Lexus coupe has sim­i­lar equip­ment at sim­i­lar money to ri­vals. There are Lux­ury, F-Sport and Sports Lux­ury ver­sions at $64,000, $73,000 and $83,500 re­spec­tively. All get leather, heated and ven­ti­lated seats, high-end sat­nav, LED head­lights, re­verse guide mon­i­tor and cam­era, pre­mium au­dio and other qual­ity kit. Bet­ter yet is the au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing, pre­c­ol­li­sion prepa­ra­tion and ac­tive cruise con­trol in all mod­els. Servicing for three years costs $1200. The warranty is four years/100,000km.

COM­FORT

The RC200t de­liv­ers char­ac­ter­is­tic Lexus smooth­ness and quiet­ness that loses noth­ing in com­par­i­son to its ri­vals. All mod­els have per­for­mance sus­pen­sion and the op­tion of “sport” mode, which makes the throt­tle re­sponse and steer­ing sharper. On the F-Sport and Sport Lux­ury there’s also a “sport+” mode that firms the sus­pen­sion for sharper corner­ing.

The eight-speed di­rect-shift auto is smooth as silk to the point where you can’t hear or feel it chang­ing up or down. The cabin is stylish and func­tional in a clin­i­cal Lexus way. The front seats are big and sup­port­ive but rear seat room is com­pro­mised.

SAFETY

It’s en­gi­neered to ex­ceed five stars but not ANCAP rated. Safety is helped by plenty of driver as­sis­tance equip­ment. The base Lux­ury is well en­dowed in this depart­ment and the F-Sport and Sports Lux­ury have blind spot mon­i­tor­ing and cross traf­fic alert. All ver­sions have eight airbags and the in­her­ent safety from re­spon­sive dy­nam­ics — steer­ing, brakes, sus­pen­sion, tyres.

DRIV­ING

This car makes the RC350 V6 and RC-F V8 su­per­flu­ous be­cause it’s as quick in real world driv­ing as the V6 and looks the same even with 18-inch wheels in­stead of 19s. The turbo en­gine has no lag and throt­tle re­sponse is sharp, de­spite the weight of 1675kg1750kg. Rear-drive pro­vides its own feel that can’t be matched by front- or all-wheel-drive. From a driver’s per­spec­tive, the RC200t is en­gag­ing with a semi-sporty feel and plenty of lux­ury kit.

AL­TER­NA­TIVES

BMW 420i $68,900, Audi A5 1.8 TFSi $68,200, Benz C200 Coupe $65,900 and In­finiti Q60 Coupe $63,900.

VER­DICT

Lexus styling has come a long way in a short time and this one is awe­somely de­sir­able. Parked against any of its com­peti­tors, the RC200t loses noth­ing. And it’s a good thing to drive too, per­haps a lit­tle too lux­ury bi­ased but that’s the buyer it is aimed at.

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