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A Lexus like no other

Created on 25/05/2018 @ 10:42

Test Drive by Graham Breeze

If like most you associate the Lexus brand with big, luxurious and hybrid prepare to be shocked by the RC F Carbon from Toyota’s premium car division.

The V8 powered RC F performance coupe comes in an expanded range for 2018 and the mouth-watering Carbon 5litre auto, recently tested, proved just how diverse a range the company now has.

This is a Lexus like no other. Its bold, brash and sometimes downright rude in performance – attracting admiring glances at every turn and encouraging the driver to let passers-by hear the growl of the enormous five litre engine.

The suits at Lexus clearly recognise the need to compete in the lucrative sports car market where the likes of Jaguar, Audi, BMW, Porsche and Mercedes go head-to-head and you get the feeling the RC F may be more popular across the pond because of its fuel-guzzling attributes.

All now come equipped with Lexus Safety System+, including a Pre-Collision System and Adaptive Cruise Control, and there is an additional Custom setting for the Drive Mode Select.

Even the standard RC F is fitted with new-design 19-inch alloy wheels with machined finish, while in the cabin the heated front seats have a new Alcantara trim.

Other standard features include an active/retractable rear spoiler, Brembo brakes, Adaptive Variable Suspension, LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, Lexus Premium Navigation, 10-speaker audio system with DAB and DVD player and a 10.3-inch multimedia screen.

Like its RC coupe counterpart, the RC F has a new automatic “away” function for the power-adjustable driver’s seat and steering column, for easy entry and exit.

The new RC F Plus Pack builds the specification with 19-inch forged alloys, semi-aniline leather upholstery, front seat ventilation, a card key and leather F-style steering wheel with leather trim and integrated heater.

The active safety provisions extend to a Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist. The audio package is also upgraded to a bespoke 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium hi-fi system. This model can also be specified with an optional sunroof and torque-vectoring differential.

The RC F Carbon specification includes CFRP carbon composite roof, bonnet and rear spoiler, Alcantara upholstery, carbon fibre trim inserts, torque vectoring differential and gorgeous 19-inch forged alloys.

A new Leather Pack option is available, consisting of semi-aniline leather upholstery, a ventilation function for the front seats and a heated steering wheel.

At best you would describe the ride as “firm” – not the ideal car to take Granny for a Sunday drive in. And for such a big 2+2 coupe back seat space really is disappointing. Folding in a 16-stone six-footer for a 30 mile journey really was a mistake not to be repeated.

Up-front it’s a different story with loads of adjustments available to seating to help find the right spot for comfortable driving with attractive F Sport steering wheel and gear lever. But the slightly offset pedals take a bit of getting used to.

Lexus could do with cutting down on the dashboard clutter and I found the touchpad control screen a bit of a challenge and am still convinced that this technology is too distracting for drivers.

This is a sports car where performance will be all-important to the buyer and there will be no disappointment there. There’s a top speed limited to 168mph and 0-62mph in just 4.5 seconds, though fuel consumption obviously suffers the firmer you are on the pedal. Claimed combined figures of 26.2mpg proved hard to achieve.

It would be best to keep secret from any Green Party friends that CO2 figures are at 252g/km and you can expect a hefty insurance bill to add to running costs with this model falling into the 50 grouping.

Some might find the driving mode options a bit too confusing. Eco, Normal, Sport S and Sport S+ pre-sets are available with additional options for stability control a test for even the most seasoned sports car driver.

Lexus owners have long-benefitted from strong residual values but only those with the deeper pockets will be enthused by the £69,310 price tag. The test car clocked in at £74,730 thanks to the addition of torque vectoring grip, a pre-crash safety system and adaptive cruise control.

You’ll also be expected to cough up around £500 per year road tax for the privilege of avoiding the nation’s pot holes and protecting the stunning alloys.

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