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Tokyo show: Lexus confirms RC coupe for Oz

Green light: The RC coupe is coming to Australia in 2014, having been designed to “exhilarate rather than overwhelm drivers”.

RC coupe confirmed for Australia as covers come off brand-boosting model in Tokyo

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Lexus logo20 Nov 2013

By TERRY MARTIN

LEXUS has officially confirmed that its RC coupe is coming to Australia, following the brand-boosting new two-door model’s unveiling at the Tokyo motor show this morning.

Set to take on German rivals such as the BMW 4 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe and Audi A5, the RC – which is short for Radical Coupe – is expected to arrive in Australia in the final quarter of 2014.

The Australian model range is still to be confirmed, with Lexus Australia currently negotiating with Japan over drivetrain choices.

At the moment, the options are an RC350 model with a 234kW/380Nm 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine (paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission) and an RC300h hybrid with a 131kW/221 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine and 105kW electric motor (total output: 162kW), driving through a CVT with six stepped gears.

The RC is also expected to become available with the Toyota-owned luxury brand’s inaugural turbocharged powertrain – a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol unit revealed at the Tokyo show today in the LF-NX Turbo compact SUV concept.

Official figures such as power, torque and fuel economy for the new turbocharged engine remain under wraps, while a high-performance powertrain – likely a 5.0-litre V8 – is anticipated further down the track in a flagship RC F.

The four-seater RC is built off a version of the rear-drive platform underpinning the IS and GS series, resting on a 2730mm wheelbase and measuring 4695mm in overall length, 1395mm in height and 1840mm in width.

It uses a double wishbone front suspension and rear multilink design, with an initial wheel choice between 10-spoke 19-inch alloys or five-spoke 18-inch rims. The cars on display in Tokyo were fitted with 19-inch wheels with 255/35-section tyres at the front and 275/35s at the rear.

Lexus chief engineer Junichi Furuyama, who is also in charge of the IS line, said the RC was intended to engage with owners “on an emotional level”.

“We dared to use ‘sexy’ as our design catchphrase because the various images the word brings to mind represent a frank expression of the new frontiers the RC opens for the Lexus brand,” Mr Furuyama said.

“Motoring enthusiasts have always aspired to own coupes for one reason: coupes look cool – sexy even. We developed RC to deliver extra response that exhilarates rather than overwhelms drivers, in keeping with the true spirit of Japanese hospitality, or omotenashi.”

Lexus International executive vice-president Mark Templin said growing the emotional appeal of Lexus will allow the brand to engage with a broader audience.

“Our focus is to strengthen the brand’s emotional appeal through our products and RC is another demonstration of this,” Mr Templin said.

“The emotional attachment of a coupe is found in its purity of design and its engaging driving experience, and with RC the engineers have achieved the balance.”

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