By IOL Motoring Staff
Johannesburg - Lexus is positioning the new RC200t as a Real Coupé - in the classical sense that it has only two doors, whereas many so-called coupés these days have four doors under a sloping roofline.
The term also has a performance connotation; the inference being that two-door people are young, enthusiastic drivers who won't settle for an econobox - and who demand a certain sense of style from their cars.
The 200t certainly has a cachet all its own, with possibly the boldest interpretation to date of Lexus' signature spindle grille, flanked by LED daytime running lights and wraparound headlights, with more LEDs in the foglights recessed into the bumper. A dramatic sweep of roofline leads down to L-shaped LED tail lights, and there are neat, built-in aerodynamic details all over the car.
Inside you’ll find leather-trimmed, power-adjustable seats, keyless entry, a pushbutton start and a remote touch infotainment display with a separate touchpad - and the sexist aircon controls in the world, operated simply by sliding your finger along an elegant metal strip.
The RC is built on a stiffened version of the GS sedan platform - stiffer in both senses of the world in that the body-shell has been strengthened to cope with the inputs of 15 percent stiffer front springs, as well as uprated rear coil springs, dampers, control arms, anti-roll bar and anti-roll bar bushings.
Under that flight-deck of a bonnet is Lexus' well-established two-litre twin-scroll turbopetrol four, mated to an eight-speed paddle shift transmission.
Its key feature is what Lexus claims is the world's first cylinder head with an integrated four-into-two exhaust manifold and twin-scroll turbocharger, as well as wide-angle variable valve timing, enabling it to switch seamlessly from the conventional Otto cycle to the less powerful but significantly more fuel-efficient Atkinson cycle.
In this application, it also features drive mode select, tuning the engine's throttle response and mapping, and splitting the fuel-injection between high-pressure direct injection and low-pressure inlet-port injection as needed, for your choice of Eco, Normal or Sport settings.
Lexus quotes 180kW at 5800 revs and 350Nm from 1650-4400rpm, good enough for a 0-100 getaway in 7.5 seconds, while top speed is pegged at 230km/h - all at a nominal, combined-cycle fuel consumption of eight litres per 100km.
Lexus has even developed a new 0W20 engine oil without calcium content to reduce engine knock at low revs - just make sure that you will still be able to get it from your local Lexus dealership after your RC200t's maintenance plan has expired.
Bells and whistles
In common with most oriental carmakers, Lexus lists a raft of features as standard that many premium brands list as optional extras.
Standard kit includes satnav, keyless entry and start, leather seats (heated, ventilated and power-adjustable up front), electric sunroof, cruise control, rear parking sensors with reverse camera, variable ratio steering, tyre pressure monitoring, traction control and eight airbags. The RC200t is also sold with a four-year/100 000km maintenance plan.
PRICE AND RIVALS
Lexus RC200t - 180kW/350Nm - R699 100
Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T SE - 165kW/350Nm - R609 000
BMW 430i Coupe - 185kW/350Nm - R612 122
Mercedes C300 Coupe - 180kW/370Nm - R664 518
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