The Lexus RC hybrid is a sharp-suited coupe that offers an eye-catching alternative to conventional petrol and diesel-powered alternatives. But it doesn’t have the pace to match its looks
The Lexus RC is an eye-catching sports coupe which – unlike most German alternatives – comes with a hybrid-drive system as standard.
You won’t mistake the Lexus RC for a run-of-the-mill German coupe in the golf club car park. Its slinky roofline and wild creases make it look more spaceship than sportscar and that huge spindle-shape grille makes it look easily aggressive enough to clear a path through motorway traffic.
From 2019, the RC comes with new V-shaped daytime running lights, some modified air intakes and the option of vivid solar flare orange paint. When it comes to the Lexus RC’s interior, however, the changes are much more subtle.
You get the same broad dashboard design with lashings of plush plastics, soft leather and shiny metal trims, but a larger infotainment display now comes fitted as standard. Sadly, this is just as infuriating to use as in the outgoing RC. Instead of the conventional touchscreens and rotary dials you get in most German alternatives, the Lexus RC comes with an unintuitive touchpad that makes navigating the system’s menus feel like playing Operation – at 70mph.
It’s a good thing then that the Lexus RC front seats are nice and comfortable and come with plenty of adjustment to help you relax. Unfortunately, you can’t say the same of the back seats. They’re fine for kids, but adults will have a tough time squeezing in and it’s a real pain to fit a child seat.
Similarly, packing the Lexus RC boot with luggage is more tiresome than in most sports coupes. The boot opening is rather narrow and there isn’t as much space as you get in a BMW 4 Series, Mercedes C-Class Coupe or Audi A5.
The Lexus RC is a left-field sports coupe that favours comfort over outright speed. It’s not as sporty as most alternatives and the back seats are quite cramped, but at least it looks great
At least picking an engine for the RC is easy. There’s only one – a 2.5-litre petrol engine that drives the rear wheels with the help of a hybrid system. This means it can cruise quietly using electric power alone around town, and it’s quiet on the motorway too – providing you don’t accelerate hard that is. Anything more than a gentle prod on the accelerator and the standard CVT automatic gearbox causes the engine to rev loudly, without any significant increase in speed.
The Lexus RC is only as quick as the most affordable versions of the 4 Series, C-Class Coupe and A5. It isn’t as much fun on a twisty country road either. It does come with a few gadgets and gizmos designed to make long motorway journeys easy, though. You get adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and automatic emergency braking as standard.
The Lexus RC is a left-field choice in the world of executive sports coupes. If you’re looking for something fun, fast and full of the latest tech, you’ll be better off with something German. But, if unusual styling floats your boat, the Lexus RC is in a league of its own.