Despite its aggressive styling, the RC is actually quite docile and feels at home cruising on the motorway.
Most of the RC’s rivals can be equipped with sporty petrol engines or frugal diesels, but the Lexus does without diesel power, instead opting for a petrol-electric hybrid for its frugal option.
The 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol in the RC 200t produces 245hp, so it’s not short on power, however, it never feels that fast. The lacklustre 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds is the result of the car’s substantial weight. The eight-speed automatic gearbox works perfectly well when you’re not pushing it, but as soon as you start to hustle it gets confused juggling between ratios and reacting slowly to commands from the steering-wheel-mounted paddles.
A clever trick up the RC 200t’s sleeve is that its engine can run the fuel-saving Atkinson combustion cycle, however, with an official combined fuel economy figure of 38.7mpg, it’s not as fuel efficient as the 46mpg returned by the faster BMW 420i.
Don't get into it thinking it's going to thrill you and you should be fine
The 2.5-litre four-cylinder powering the RC 300h’s rear wheels is a better match. It’s helped by an electric motor and can run solely on electric power at speeds of up to 30mph. After that the petrol engine fires up to help out for combined power of 223hp. That’s not a small number, but the 8.6 seconds it takes the 300h to reach 62mph from a stop combined with the 118mph top speed means it’s the slowest car in class – not good for a sports coupe.
Sadly, the only area where the RC 300h is cheaper to run than rivals is company car tax. Elsewhere, the RC is overshadowed by diesel rivals. Rivals such as the Mercedes C 220 d, which has a combined fuel economy figure of 69mpg, compared to the Lexus’s 57.6mpg.
The RC is based on the IS saloon, but with a strengthened chassis. This lets Lexus use a softer suspension set-up without compromising composure in the corners. The downside is that all that strengthening has added quite a bit of weight – resulting in the RC tipping the scales at more than 1,800kg. For reference, a BMW 4 Series weighs around 200kg less. That’s something that has a profound effect on a car’s handling and as a result, the RC never encourages you to go fast but wants to cruise lazily.