Lexus luxury sports car
Sure, it sports bulging fender flares, Porsche 959–esque slatted vents in its rear quarters, and a menacing spindle-shaped maw that looks like it inhales pavement by the slab, but don’t let the plumage fool you. The F Sport iteration of the new Lexus RC350 is really a smooth operator and more of a spiritual successor to Lexus’s first luxury coupe, the SC300, albeit imbued with the visual excitement of 2012’s hot LF-LC concept.
Separated at Birth
You’ll be excused, then, if you confuse the new RC350 F Sport with the equally new Lexus RC F. Both get Gran Turismo video-game looks on the outside and gorgeous trimmings inside; our test car’s cabin, for example, was lined with sumptuous Playa upholstery that could have been ripped from a Maserati, a fitting complement to the head-turning Ultrasonic Blue Mica exterior paint. It’s a two-plus-two, but you’ll want to be in one of the RC350’s enveloping and form-fitting front buckets, all the better to take in the LFA supercar–inspired instrumentation, the aluminum pedals, and the classic analog clock juxtaposed by a touch-pad-operated infotainment system. Just about everything the driver touches or interacts with is soft to the touch, padded, and/or user-friendly. And, being a Lexus, it is of course whisper-quiet inside.You’d expect, for instance, with the F Sport’s 235/40-19 front and 265/35-19 rear summer tires, high-friction brake pads, and larger rotors, that the car would top its competitors in lateral grip and stopping power. But at 0.88 g on the skidpad and 174 feet braking to a halt from 70 mph, the F Sport registered 0.03 g short and ran 11 feet deeper into the red zone from 70 than the ATS coupe. Ditto for the 435i, which bested the F Sport by 0.02 g; braking was a minimal four feet shorter for the Bimmer. /p table border="0" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="0"x">
The F Sport is eminently cool under pressure. The stiff platform allows Lexus to use more aggressive suspension tuning and still maintain a highway ride quality worthy of the somnambulant ES350. With Adaptive Variable Suspension (included with the $3985 F Sport package), the system reduces damping at low speeds over bumpy roads to maintain comfort, while stiffening the shocks at higher speeds and cornering loads to enhance control. Variable Gear Ratio Steering ($1900) was also fitted to our test car, and it delivered that most precious of commodities—tactile feedback—that is so often absent from other carmakers’ electrically boosted power-steering systems. The result is a fixed-roof coupe that doesn’t rattle your kidneys; boasts good body control; and is smooth, balanced, and predictable in transitions, even—no, make that especially—when driven hard.
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