DRIVEN: Lexus RC 350 F Sport is one good-looking car

In the ‘minor change 2019’, look for subtle changes outside and in.

I seriously doubt that Sade was thinking of the new Lexus RC 350 F Sport when she was serenading fans with her hot song Smooth Operator back in 1984, but after my drive last week, these were the two words that immediately came to mind.

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The RC has been around since 2015 so when I say “new car”, I actually mean more of a subtle update – even Lexus called it a “minor change 2019”.

But sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to improve it.

The RC 300EX has been discontinued and the RC 350 in F Sport guise, at R939 100, is the only model you can opt for.

I don’t have to waste too much space on telling you about the styling – look at the pictures: this is one good-looking car.

For 2019 you get a new front bumper, grille mesh pattern and L-shaped LED daytime-running lights.

At the rear, air ducts have been added to the corners of the rear bumper, along with the rear tail lights that house more pronounced L-shaped lenses that are a new signature design feature for Lexus coupes.

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You also get 10 exterior colours and 19-inch alloy wheels.

Inside it is also not a case of massive change: a brushed treatment has been applied to the heater control and audio panels, while the cushioned knee pads on either side of the centre console have been made larger and raised higher to create a greater sense of space in the front.

Other little touches include the likes of the driver’s palm rest that has now been reshaped and a stitching pattern has been added to the surface, a new analogue clock, identical to the one in the LC and new ergonomically defined cup holders.

I am not sure what that means or how they compare to non-ergonomically defined cup holders, but I do know the Lexus RC 350 F Sport offers a seriously solid and top-quality interior.

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The 3.5-litre 2GR-FKS naturally aspirated V6 in the Lexus RC 350 F Sport, running through an eight-speed automatic transmission, produces 232kW of power and 380Nm torque and I think you know that this is never going to result in an out-and-out tar shredder.

That is a job for RC F Track Edition. But what you get is a silky-smooth drive expected from a premium GT car.

And if you want to make the most of the power on tap, you have new shock absorbers that boast an increased damping force along with stiffer suspension bushings that have all been fined-tuned to offer improved ride and handling.

This sporty Lexus is fitted with adaptive variable suspension (AVS), which electronically controls and monitors all four dampers simultaneously to suit driving conditions and your preferences.

This setup worked well and is suited to the car’s GT nature.

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The Lexus RC 350 F Sport comes with every safety aid you can think of, from lane departure alert with lane keep assist to the pre-crash system with pedestrian detection, while the emergency brake signal acts to prevent rearend collisions.

The Lexus RC 350 F Sport is a niche offering for the discerning palate and it offers a best-in-class, seven-year/105 000km warranty and full maintenance plan as well as a Lexus distance plan complete to wrap up the offering.

Likes

  • Just look at it
  • Normally optional equipment is standard

Dislikes 

  • Engine option remains a chilled out offering

Verdict 

  • Stylish gentlemen’s tourer that offers quality over quantity

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