Entry RC an added value argument

Performance might not be the strongest attraction of a just-added entry version of the Lexus RC coupe but the package is going to pull.

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A comprehensive equipment package rather than performance potential is set to sell a new entry version of a Lexus coupe that, in flagship form, is the quickest car in the brand’s arsenal.

Lexus New Zealand signaled some months ago that the RC200t was coming, however the model’s actual entry to the market has been undertaken with little fuss – rather than send out the usual press release, first notification to media of the derivative’s arrival came in the form of an advisory that one has just joined the company press fleet.

That softly-softly approach almost undersells the potential of the third Lexus – and fifth overall – to adopt the turbocharged 2.0-litre.

In some other markets this version of the four-seater coupe achieves around 40 percent of total RC share, providing proof perhaps that buyers rate value just as highly as they do verve.

Lexus New Zealand has assuredly forecast the car’s penetration here, but general manager of product Spencer Morris declined to talk about this, explaining it was not his area of expertise.

He has nonetheless expressed confidence in the car being a worthy addition.

At $102,900, the F-Sport edition chosen from three potential variants to fly the flag for a powerplant already representing in the compact IS sedan and NX crossover is positioned $23,100 under the F-Sport version of the edition that previously kick started the range, the 3.5-litre six-cylinder RC350.

However, Lexus has been careful about promising too much in respect to the car’s kapow – perhaps a prudent move given that overseas’ assessments suggest that, as a performance coupe, the RC 200t makes a pretty nice cruiser, due to the challenge imposed by its somewhat plump 1725kg body weight.

However, chances are customers will much rather be interested in the heavy load of standard equipment; it’s dripping with comforts.

“This is an exceptional, comprehensively equipped luxury coupe,” said Morris.

“There is only one item on the options list – the Mark Levinson sound system. Everything else is standard specification for a terrific value package.”

The 8AR-FTS 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder produces the same 180km/350Nm outputs as its siblings and marries to the same eight-speed automatic that features widely in Lexus product, including all the other RC cars.

Lexus claims the RC200t will knock off 0-100kmh in 7.5 seconds but independent testing in the United States and Australia generally cites it being 0.6s tardier. It will hit a top speed of 230kmh and return 7.2 litres per 100 kilometres.

As expected, however, it is nonetheless the least fiery RC yet and only beats the six and V8 models on economy.

By way of performance comparison, take note that the most fiery family member, the $174,900 RC-F Carbon, packs a 351kW/530Nm 5.0-litre V8 and can stomps out the 0-100kmh sprint in 4.5s and is good for 270kmh.

Lexus NZ could conceivably have gone under the $100k barrier had it gone for an equivalent of the Luxury edition sold to Australians, but perhaps it imagined that version – which runs on 18-inch alloys – looked a bit too soft.

As is, the NZ market model scores 19-inch F Sport alloy wheels, Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), an F Sport steering wheel, sports power front seats with memory function, higher grade LED headlights, blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, limited slip diff, and induction noise augmentation. On top of this the car has a full leather interior, sat nav, a reversing camera, eight airbags, Pre-Collision Safety System with autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control, and what Lexus calls a front performance damper.

Lexus has not particularly cited opposition, but conceivably it would be expected to go head to head with like-sided 2.0-litre versions of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A5 and BMW 4-Series.