Lexus RC 200t

The RC sports coupe is not based on another of Lexus' previous sedan platforms and is instead designed from a clean sheet. The RC's exceptionally stiff chassis builds on Lexus' reputation and manufacturing excellence. The automaker itself claims the RC "the best-handling regular production Lexus yet."

While the car's shape screams its sporting intentions with every curve, the RC's performance begins underhood. Power comes from a choice of two engines, a new-for-2016 turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder that is capable of 241 horsepower and 258 lb-feet of torque. A naturally aspirated 3.5L V6 is good for 255 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque in the RC 300. A tuned version of that same 3.5L V6 comes on the RC 350, where it puts out 306 horses. The 2.0L is only available with rear-wheel drive, while the RC300 and RC 350 are offered with a choice of either rear or all-wheel drive.

Lexus' "all-weather drive" system uses an electronic center differential to vary torque from the standard 20/80 front/rear to as much as 50/50. Braking in all RC models is quick and powerful, thanks to big 13-inch front and 12-inch rear rotors.

Outside, all RC models feature standard 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, and heated exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals. Inside, the RC includes NuLuxe interior surfaces with aluminum and wood accents, a 60/40 split-fold rear seat, automatic climate control, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, cruise control, HomeLink, a 7-inch VGA screen, a 256-watt, 10-speaker audio system, back-up camera and more. The all-wheel drive RC 350 also features heated front seats.

Factory options abound, including 19-inch wheels, a blind spot monitor, leather seating, heated and ventilated front seats, parking assist, a moonroof, navigation and an 835-watt Mark Levinson 17-speaker premium surround sound system. The all-wheel drive can be optioned with an All-Weather Package that includes headlamp washers, an instant-heat PTC heater, and a windshield de-icer. The Luxury Package adds many standalone options such as the blindspot indicator, heated/ventilated leather seats, rain-sensing wipers and more. Finally, the optional F Sport Package adds a mesh grille, 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive variable suspension with a Sport+ driving mode, aluminum pedals, sport seats with contrast stitching, unique badging, and more.

From Lexus' ultra-performance range of vehicles comes the RC F, which differs from the other RC models in significant ways. For starters, it is powered by a 32-valve 5.0L V8 that makes 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel-drive only the RC F includes the 8-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic, a Torsen limited-slip differential, huge 15-inch front and 13.6-inch rear vented disc brakes, and unique "F" exterior and interior treatments. Lexus claims the RC F will hit 60 mph from a stop in just 4.4 seconds, on its way to a 170-mph top speed.

Safety is paramount on the RC, and standard features include several airbags for front and side, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist and traction control.

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