THE V8-powered Lexus RC was a niche model but now the market is much wider thanks to the introduction of a hybrid version. While still very quick, the RC300h can deliver 57.6 mpg combined and low emissions of just 113 g/km which makes it a very attractive proposition in a sector which includes rivals such as the Mercedes C Class Coupe and the BMW 4 Series. The 300h has a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 178 hp, boosted to 220 hp by an electric motor and a battery pack and is mated to an automatic CVT gearbox. That results in a nippy 0-60 mph time of 8.6 seconds and a top speed of 118 mph. It has to be said these stats are not class-leading but this Lexus does win you over with its precise steering and well-configured suspension set-up which gives the car excellent cornering grip and composure. The hybrid system works well, proving smooth and quiet, and the CVT transmission makes urban driving much less of a chore. The car has a strong visual presence thanks to ultra-sleek styling and neat design touches which add eye-catching charisma. In the cabin, that good impression continues with top quality trim materials, solid-feel switchgear and features which include heated leather sports seats. Other kit on my Luxury-spec test model price at £34,995 (38,883 euros) included limited-slip differential, auto lights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors and parking-assist monitor, 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, 10-speaker audio system and upgraded sat-nav. Front occupants get a lot of room but space in the rear isn’t great for taller passengers though adequate for those under six feet. Boot space – 340 litres- is fine for normal needs. This hybrid model certainly gives the RC greater appeal in the premium sports coupe sector, with main plus-points its distinctive looks, outstanding fuel economy and Lexus badge kudos.
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