A Head-Turner That Also Drives Beautifully

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The Lexus RC, now in its second year, includes two new models. The 200t features a turbo-charged, four-cylinder engine with rear-wheel drive. The all-wheel-drive RC 300 employs a 3.5-liter V6. The new duo is classified in the entry-level luxury coupe segment, but it’s an unfair description.

It’s a strong marketplace where BMW and Audi usually get top billing, followed by worthy offerings from Cadillac, Acura and Infiniti. But the 2016 RC 200t is a head-turner and a keen driving machine.

The F Sport trim, included on my test vehicle, adds Lexus’s Adaptive Variable Suspension, 19-inch wheels and a limited- slip differential. It’s a perfect match with the Atomic Silver exterior color choice I tested (photo not available). The brushed silver look is one of the most attractive exteriors of any car I’ve reviewed.

The look and driving quality of the 2016 RC 200t define the ideal sports car. The 2.0-liter, 241-horsepower engine has steady, strong acceleration and the responsiveness and handling are agile. The turning radius is tight, and the driver and car are complementary. The technology feature list on the new Lexus is nearly exhaustive and useful, with one exception. The touchpad-based infotainment controller is squeezed into the lower left of the console, and there’s a substantial learning curve to use it.

While the 2016 RC 200t provides a top-notch overall driving experience, its acceleration is mediocre for its class. It achieves the 0-60 mph standard in 7.3 seconds, largely because it’s a heavy vehicle, weighing 3,737 pounds.

The Lexus RC 200t has a hand- some interior featuring high-quality materials. The front seats are well-bolstered and tight-fit- ting, and the overall driving sensation is controlled. There’s a glide-like feel over bumps.

The 2016 Lexus RC 200t is difficult to enter and exit. As a 6-foot, 200-pound driver, I needed a concerted ducking posture to position myself in the driver’s seat. Likewise, I needed a hefty push- off to exit the car. Then again, that’s an inherent trait for most sports cars.

Stunningly attractive inside and attention-grabbing outside, the 2016 Lexus RC 200t is superb. In fact, the more I drove it, the more I was convinced the odd-sounding term “entry-level luxury sports car” needs to be revised. The new Lexus is a lot more than that. 

James Raia, a freelance writer based in Sacramento, California, specializes in sports and lifestyle topics. He publishes the website theweeklydriver.com.

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