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Driven: Lexus adds blower power to RC

Blow me down: New 2.0-litre four-pot turbo motor is slotted into the nose of the Lexus RC200t, giving the brand an enticing entry-level sportster.

Cool Lexus RC200t coupe scores turbo engine upgrade and lower price point


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4 Dec 2015

LEXUS has added turbo motivation to its coupe line-up, in the form of the entry-level RC200t priced from $64,000 before on-road costs.

Powered by the same 8AR-FTS 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that debuted in the compact NX and is now used in the RX mid-sized RX SUV, the small IS sedan and the medium GS sedan, the RC200t produces the same 180km/350Nm outputs as its siblingsBacked by an eight-speed automatic transmission, the LC200t will knock off 0-100km/h in 7.5 seconds and return 7.2 litres per 100 kilometres.

It’s available in the same three variants seen in the six-cylinder RC350 Luxury, F Sport and Sport Luxury. Its trim levels largely mimic those of its more powerful brethren, and the 200t sits $3000 below the 350 across the board.

In fact, the only real difference between the two cars is the omission of the LC350’s rear-steering function and sound enhancement hardware that pipes induction noise into the cabin.

“The LC200t is an entry level model for those stepping up to a luxury brand,” said Lexus Australia managing director Sean Hanley. “This car provides us with a new opportunity. It’s clearly a conquest car, and it’s aimed at the 2.0-litre performance market that we know is out there.”

The entry-level Luxury comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and fog lamps, leather-accented trim, heated and ventilated front seats, powered steering column, smart entry and start, satellite navigation and a 10-speaker audio system.

It also has an active reversing camera with clearance and rear-facing sonar, eight airbags, Pre-Collision Safety System with autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control, and what Lexus calls a front performance damper.

This damper is mounted across the front suspension, tying the two uprights together and quelling some of the vibrations and harshness that come with a smaller inline engine.

The F Sport starts at $73,000, and also scores 19-inch F Sport alloy wheels, Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), a 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system, an F Sport steering wheel, sports power front seats with memory function, higher grade LED headlights, blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, limited slip diff, and induction noise augmentation.

A moonroof can be ordered for $2500, or a package with the roof, heads-up display, lane departure warning and automatic high-beam function can be had for $3500.

The Sports Luxury is $83,500, and gets bespoke 19-inch rims, unique cabin trim and lane departure warning and automatic high-beam function.

Lexus expects the LC200t – which will go head to head with cars like the Mercedes-Benz C250 Coupe, Audi A5 2.0 TFSI quattro and BMW 428i – to represent 40 per cent of the LC’s sales mix going forward.

Meanwhile, the RC350 has received subtle changes to bring the two ranges into line.

The entry-level RC350 at $67,000 features the same spec level as the RC200t Luxury, adding pre-collision safety system and all-speed active cruise control, which are new to the RC350.

Next, the RC350 Luxury will cost $67,000 and only differs from the RC200t model by the addition of an intake sound augmentation device.

The RC350 F Sport mirrors the specification of RC200t F Sport, but adds variable gear ratio steering (VGRS) and active rear steering.

Pre-collision safety system, active cruise control, limited slip differential, front performance damper and Acceleration Sound Control (ACS) have been added to the car, which will sell for $76,000.

Finally, the RC350 Sports Luxury, which retails for $86,500, mimics RC200t Sports Luxury for specs.

A pricing increase accompanies the RC350 update. Entry-level versions now cost $1000 more, the F Sport has increased by $2000 and the highest spec Sports Luxury is up by $500.

2015 Lexus RC pricing*
RC200t Luxury (a)$64,000
RC200t F Sport (a)$73,000
RC 200t Luxury Sport (a)$83,500
RC350 (a)$67,000
RC350 F Sport (a)$76,000
RC350 Luxury Sport (a)$86,500
RC F (a)$133,500
RC F Carbon (a)$147,500
*Excludes on-road costs

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