Starting at € 54,890
218 hp and 5.0 l / 100 km average
Single hybrid coupe
93 copies of Lexus RC300h have been sold in France since the beginning of the year. To give an idea, this places the Japanese coupe between a Caterham Seven (99 units) and a Ferrari 488 (91 units). Which is not a lot, you will agree: at the same time, the Audi A5, the best selling category, has sold 1,887 copies. However, low sales figures do not necessarily mean a bad product, and English and Italian are the best examples. Maybe this Lexus is just a secret well kept by a handful of connoisseurs, remaining in the shadow of competitors less deserving but more prestigious crest, a parameter so important in the category of premium coupes?
It is quite possible, and the restyling mid-career she suffered a few months ago, as light as it is, is the perfect opportunity to take the wheel and clear the story. Aesthetically, the evolutions are subtle but are noticeable: the new optics at the front now include the daytime running lights and the colossal grille refines now being underlined by a body-color band in the bumper, itself flanked by enlarged air intakes. At the rear, the light signature at the rear is changing too. The simplified set is gaining elegance and a little more reminiscent of the work of art on wheels that is his big sister, the LC. A real success.
Inside, it is unfortunately more discreet. Unfortunately because the dashboard was already obsolete at the exit of the model in 2016. The central clock is stitched to the LC, some new inserts are worth noting but otherwise the flat calm. The finish is excellent but the ergonomics are terrible, with a plethora of buttons of multiple sizes on the center console and a multimedia system at the limit of unusable via the touchpad. There is also the lack of Android Auto and Apple Carplay, hardly forgivable today in a vehicle of this standard.
The Lexus RC regains points with a driving position close to perfection, with wraparound but comfortable seats and a thick rim steering wheel that marries the palm of the hand. The rear passengers will be a little less lucky, with a place counted at the head and knees and a regrettable absence of a central armrest. At 340 liters, the volume is medium for a vehicle 4.70 m long.
Under the hood, the offer is limited today to two extremes: the hybrid and peaceful 300h or the wild and thunderous F. This latest engine embodies an atmospheric V8 5.0 2UR-GSE, one of the last of its kind, which develops 464 hp at 7,100 rpm but it is obviously the first that should continue to make the bulk of sales. However, unlike the ES300h or even the most common Toyota Camry, both pulls and equipped with the new, more efficient and more efficient A25A-FXS, the RC300h propulsion retains the old 4 cylinder 2.5 2AR-FXE developing 181 hp and supported by a 143 hp electric motor for a total power of 223 hp transmitted to the rear wheels via a continuously variable E-CVT transmission.
But even if the mechanics is now a few years old, it keeps an impressive sobriety for a car weighing still not far from 1.8 ton empty, with 5.0 l / 100 km average according to the WLTP standard, with emissions 114 g / km of CO2. In comparison to the chronometer, it's another story, the rowing does not relate to the plumage at all, the 0 to 100 km / h is done in 8.6 s.
In reality, we actually feel very quickly that the RC300h is not a lightning war: strongly solicit the engine leads to a higher sound level than the speedometer. And that's a shame, because the chassis is very balanced, with an excellent compromise between comfort and dynamism perfected by the arrival of new shock absorbers. We must actually take the RC300h for what it is: not a sports but a GT, a machine to swallow kilometer in the greatest comfort and in a controlled silence, with a progression rarely interrupted by stops at the pump the 66-liter tank was emptied at the rate of 5.6 liters per 100 kilometers at the end of our test. And that, today as at the exit of the model 3 years ago, nobody knows how to do it with the predominantly German competition. Another very positive aspect and rather rare in the category: despite reduced glass surfaces, the Japanese offers excellent peripheral vision, which makes it very little intimidating maneuver.
The restyled Lexus RC300h is shown starting at € 54,890, the first trim level now being Luxury, including 18-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, Lexus Safety + driver assistance pack, Pioneer audio system ten speakers, leather upholstery and heated front seats.