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Lexus RC 300h Test Drive Review

Date: 21 January 2016   |   Author: John Mahoney

Category: Sporting
P11D price: £34,940
Key rival: BMW 4-series
On sale: January 2016
Equipment: 8 airbags, leather seats, power bootlid, premium sound system, 12.3in infotainment system, satnav, autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, adaptive dampers, parking sensors, 19in alloys
Engines: Petrol: 178hp 2.5 hybrid, 241hp 2.0T
Trims: F Sport, Premier, Luxury
Transmissions: CVT auto, 8-spd auto

When it comes to fast, stylish coupes you might think Lexus is a complete amateur, but you'd be wrong.

The Japanese carmaker is, in fact, the father of one of the best coupes of all time.

We're talking about the wild LFA, the incredible V10-powered state-of-the-art supercar that proved Lexus could take on Ferrari.

Now it's time for a follow-up, but instead of squaring up to the supercar establishment, the RC coupe will go head-to-head with the BMW 4-series, Audi A5 and Mercedes C-class Coupe,

Lexus hopes to sell a modest 750 RC coupes a year - small fry compared with the 20,000 4-series BMW sold last year.

Just three engine options are available: a 220hp 2.5-litre hybrid, a 241hp 2.0-litre turbo, or more muscular-still 477hp 5.0-litre V8 that lives under the bonnet of the RC F. There's no diesel option; Lexus feels it doesn't need it.

That makes sense: the hybrid (on small wheels) can average 57.6mpg while emitting just 113g/km of CO2 - making it a prime candidate for a low-taxing stylish reward to yourself for all your hard work.

With exclusivity and striking looks borrowed from the LFA, the cabin too is equally stylish, while its quality makes it feel like it's from the class above, if you can ignore the clunky satnav and infotainment system.
The tall may struggle for headroom, but once behind the wheel the RC 300h is a quiet, comfortable place to soak up the miles.

Lifting its 2.5-litre hybrid engine (and platform) from the GS range, the power delivery is smooth, if you can get used to the artificial feeling of the CVT transmission.

The RC is also significantly slower than its BMW and Mercedes competition, taking 8.6 seconds to reach 62mph (versus 6.5 seconds for the BMW 425d). Clawing back an advantage is the relaxing nature of the Lexus drive, with a cosseting ride plus a lack of wind and road noise.

The drawbacks? All its competition are more practical, offering more space for passengers and luggage and, if you do high motorway mileage, a diesel will no doubt be more efficient in the real world than the hybrid's claimed fuel figure.

To help make up the deficit the RC is better equipped with a lower P11D and attracts a small benefit-in-kind tax bill, but the Lexus still misses out on costs to the Mercedes due to its weaker residuals.

That's a shame, although the Lexus is well worth considering and costs less than the £340,000 it took to buy the firm's last effort.

Lexus RC300h Luxury

Model price range £36,495-£40,495
Residual value 29.4%
Depreciation £24,665
Fuel £4840
Service, maintenance and repair £2603
Vehicle Excise Duty £40
National Insurance £2748
Cost per mile 73.9p
Fuel consumption 57.6mpg
CO2 (BIK band) 113/km (17%)
BIK 20/40% per month £99/198
Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space (min/max) 340 litres
Engine size/power 2494cc/220hp


Beats rivals on style, comfort and refinement. Misses out on costs and performance
  • Great looks
  • Cabin quality
  • Quiet and comfortable
  • Reasonable costs
  • Rear passenger space tight
  • Not quick
  • Real-world mpg
  • Driving position