2016 Lexus RC 200t Review By Larry Nutson
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2016 Lexus RC 200t - A 2+2 for you
By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
p>Prior to last year, most of the luxury coupes on the market have been German brands along with the recent addition of the Cadillac’s ATS coupe. Lexus changed that with the introduction of the 2015 RC 350 2-door coupe with the desire to attract the next generation of luxury buyers and to bring new customers to the brand.
Now just one year after its introduction the Lexus RC model range has been broadened to add the new RC 200t and RC 300 AWD joining with the 306HP V6 RC 350.
The new RC 200t, available as RWD only, features a 241 HP 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with intercooler. It’s paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The new RC 300 AWD is offered for those folks who live in the rainy and snowy parts of the country and features a 255HP 3.5-liter V6 engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Lexus offers the RC 350 in both rear-wheel drive and with AWD all-weather drive, the latter using a six-speed automatic transmission, and also F SPORT versions.
I drove the 2015 RC 350 about a year ago and this time around I spent a week with the new 200t. With a base price of $39,995 my media-loaner RC 200t was also equipped with the F-SPORT Package for another $4,105.
The F-SPORT package includes a unique front fascia and spindle grille, 19-inch wheels with staggered-size summer performance tires and some other exterior trim items. The interior features unique seats with perforated leather trim and aluminum pedals. On the performance side, the F SPORT has standard Adaptive Variable Suspension system and the available Lexus Dynamic Handling system, which includes rear-wheel steering.
My drive last year in the RC 350 took place in late winter and I was a little concerned about taking the summer-tire equipped RWD rocket on a road trip for the fear of snow. Mother nature was on my side and I was able to enjoy the all-out performance of the RC 350 back then.
We enjoyed a mild winter this year and during my 200t drive we were already seeing touches of springtime. Given the three models to choose from, I would choose the new RC 300 AWD if I were buying. With the Chicago winters this is probably the best choice so as to not jeopardize a planned road trip due to winter snow. I get along just fine with public transportation or taxis in Chicago for everyday in-city business. The RWD models probably provide the most fun to drive. If I was willing to leave the RC coupe in the garage during snow RWD might be the way to go for those dry road excursions.
Another consideration on which model to choose is of course fuel consumption. The 200t has the best EPA test-cycle ratings of 26 combined mpg, with 22 city mpg and 32 highway mpg. The 300, 350 and 350 AWD are pretty much rated the same in the EPA test-cycle each with 19 city mpg and 26 highway mpg for both AWD models. You get 2 more highway mpg, or a test-cycle rating of 28 mph with the 350 RWD. Remember these are laboratory tests and your driving style will have the most impact on what fuel consumption you achieve. The large 17.4 gallon fuel tank should make for a good all-day road trip without needing to stop for refueling.
Lexus has equipped the RC coupes with some of the semi-autonomous driver-assistance features that are offered today. The RC coupes do have Blind Spot Monitor with rear cross traffic alert. Also equipped is a back up camera.
An available Pre-Collision Brake and Pre-Collision Brake Assist systems uses the radar sensors of the Adaptive Cruise Control to detect the potential for a collision with an obstacle or vehicle ahead. Both systems can operate brake control to increase the driver’s braking effort and reduce the impact.
Lexus has said that all of its models will have automatic emergency braking (AEB) in a couple years and I expect we’ll see lane keep assist also offered.
I like the Lexus RC coupe. I liked it last year when I drove the RC 350 and I still like it in the RC 200t configuration. From the outside it’s distinctive and in many ways bold. I like sliding down into the driver’s seat and being low to the ground so I can feel the dynamics of the entire car. The interior is well appointed and quite luxurious and comfortable. The rigid structure gives a feeling of quality and certainly improves the handling. The ride is a bit harsh especially with the really low profile summer tires but not uncomfortable.
Acceleration from stop is adequate in the 200t getting you to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds. The V6 models bring you down into the low 6-second range which is plenty. Yes there are quicker accelerating cars on the market but you better be paying close attention and out in the wide open spaces when you drop the hammer on one of those. As for top speed, how’s 143 mph in the RC 200t.
More facts and figures on the Lexus RC can be found at www.lexus.com. You can compare this luxo-coupe to others right here at www.theautochannel.com.
Lexus made a good move to add the two new models. The variation in power train choices will attract more buyers. Many folks want a personal luxury car and the 200t will satisfy that buyer who doesn’t want or need the higher output of the V6 powered RC 350.
© 2016 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy
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