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Gran Turismo Lexus style: The RC 200t launched

  • ‘Grand Tourer’ coupe from Lexus stable
  • RC 200t, the most recent addition to the RC range
  • Turbo engine has two running cycles
2016 Lexus RC 200t. Image: Lexus SA
2016 Lexus RC 200t. Image: Lexus SA

The term ‘GT’, Lexus says, is often thrown around in motoring circles when referring to two-door coupés but what exactly, the automaker asks, does it mean?

Its answer: The term originates from the Italian ‘Gran Turismo’ which, loosely translated, means ‘Grand Touring’. In other words, it’s a vehicle capable of covering long distances in great comfort and style – and at considerable pace.

This epitomises the Lexus RC 200t, the most recent addition to the RC range, by focusing on balance and overall driveability for the Grand Tourer experience.

2016 Lexus RC 200t. Image: Lexus SA
2016 Lexus RC 200t. Image: Lexus SA

Glenn Crompton, Lexus’ marketing boss, is candid about the RC’s role in the local Lexus line-up: “Cars such as this exist not as volume cars but as aspirational products designed to draw in the young and the young-at-heart. Its turbocharged two-litre four-cylinder engine provides an accessible point of entry for lifestyle buyers who want the statement of a luxury coupé balanced with the efficiencies afforded by a smaller engine.

“The RC 200t fits the brief – stylish, refined, frugal, generously stocked with athleticism. It has an emotional draw – key is its striking looks – and credible dynamic skills. At R699 100 it’s also certain to appeal to wallet-conscious buyers.”

The car has the instantly identifiable Lexus spindle grille, italic ‘L’ and chromed vertical bars and diode fog lights frame the grille. Daytime front lights, Lexus says, “add to the visual drama”.

READ more Carman’s Corner features on Lexus

The tail has prominent L-shaped lights; aerodynamic fins at the lower corners of the rear bumper “create a bespoke look and smooth airflow over the body”. As do air-ducts and a stabiliser in the front bumper.

2016 Lexus RC 200t. Image: Lexus SA
2016 Lexus RC 200t. Image: Lexus SA

Boot-lid sculpting also plays its part in airflow; under the car engine and floor covers smooth airflow rounding off the RC’s dynamic profile are EX-exclusive five-spoked 18″ alloys wheel rims with three-dimensional detail.

“The interior layout,” Lexus says, “delivers excellent ergonomics and a touch of techno-wizardry is the electrostatic climate-control adjusted by simply sliding a finder along a metal strip. Cabin illumination can be controlled by gesture.”

The heatable and ventilated seats are leather-upholstered and have eight- and six-way power adjustment for, respectively, driver and passenger.

2016 Lexus RC 200t. Image: Lexus SA
2016 Lexus RC 200t. Image: Lexus SA

Under the RC200t is a version of the Lexus GS platform: that means multi-link front and double-wishbone rear suspension tuned to suit the car. The front suspension is 15% stiffer than the GS chassis, however, and the bushings, springs and dampers have been re-calibrated to reduce body roll while maintaining ride comfort.

The heart of the RC200t is Lexus’ twp-litre twin-scroll turbo, petrol engine driving through an eight-speed direct shift auto/paddle-shift transmission. Depending on power demand, the engine can operate on the Atkinson or Otto principles of engine operation.

The engine is capable of 180kW/350Nm (the latter from 1650 to 4400rpm) and 7.5sec to 100km/h. Top speed is 230km/h and Lexus claims eight litres/100km and CO2 emissions of 186g/km are possible and the unit as a whole was, Lexus says, bench-tested for more than 10 000 hours before extensive on-road testing began and covered more than a million kilometres.

2016 Lexus RC 200t. Image: Lexus SA
2016 Lexus RC 200t. Image: Lexus SA

The RC 200t has plenty of equipment contained in its price for which, the automaker says, “many rivals charge a small fortune”.

Here’s a summary…

Exterior: Smart entry, diode head, tail, fog and daytime running lights, rear fog lights, auto headlight levelling and washing, heatable/retractable external mirrors, tilt/slide power sunroof.

Interior: Leather upholstery, front-seat heating/ventilation and power adjustment, two-way driver’s seat lumbar support, electric power-steering, steering-wheel switches (audio, voice command, info display, cruise control and phone), power windows (auto up/down), cruise control, colour info display, satnav, Bluetooth, auto shift lock, illuminated entry.

Crash protection: Four-sensor anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, hill-start assistance, variable-ratio steering, tyre-pressure monitors, parking radar and reversing camera, eight crash bags (front, rear, side, curtain, knee).

Price: R699 100 (inc VAT) includes a four-year/100 000km Lexus Distance Plan Plus maintenance plan.
RC 350 F Sport R787 600 (inc VAT).

2016 Lexus RC 200t. Image: Lexus SA
2016 Lexus RC 200t. Image: Lexus SA

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