Seeking a sporty streak paired with quality comfort, Curtis Tissen discovers the versatile Lexus RC200t EX
I can’t wait to test drive the bright red beauty in the parking lot, but before I embark on our road trip, I take a moment to immerse myself in everything that is the new Lexus RC200t EX. An aspirational product, the coupé cuts a dashing figure with its curvaceous lines and dramatic details. The facade is headlined by the signature spindle grille incorporating the large Lexus insignia and elegant, chrome-plated vertical bars.
In profile, the car flaunts its sweeping roof line, accentuated by the alternating surface treatments. The design of the rear centres around the prominent, distinctive Lexus tail lights, each extending toward the centre apron. And finally, my favourite part of the bespoke look, the aerodynamic fins at the lower corners of the bumper not only enhance the sporty design, but also add to the car’s performance.
I grip the door handle with excitement and get into the cabin. Feeling my way around, I am briefly overwhelmed by the combination of soft-touch and luxurious materials. On the dash, the now-familiar Lexus Remote Touch interface device features easy-to-use touch-pad operation, allowing driver and passenger to navigate the infotainment system without difficulty.
While I grip the plush, perforated leather steering wheel, my other hand wanders downwards to the chrome gear lever and without hesitation I select manual mode, giving me free rein to explore the entire rev range available, courtesy of the eight-speed Direct-Shift automatic gearbox with paddle shift.
Sitting in blissful comfort thanks to the driver-focused interior layout, I place my foot on the accelerator pedal and roar out of suburbia, heading straight for a twisty mountain pass.
Carving out the road’s sharp corners and avoiding the occasional pothole, I readjust my rear-view mirror as I continue to devour the path meandering up the mountain.
I dial the 200t into ‘Sport’ mode and the coupé’s body immediately stiffens up for a punchier driving delivery, the ‘box hanging on to the higher revs for longer.
Arriving at my first pit stop, my nerves begin to settle as the adrenalin slowly dissipates. I grin unapologetically and pat the steering wheel of the Lexus as if to congratulate it on a job well done.
The brakes are crackling and the fan works overtime as it fights in an effort to cool the twin-scroll engine. What I love about the 200t is how quickly it pulls you in and makes you feel a part of the driving experience. The coupé’s engaging and cooperative character allows you to really enjoy the full power and handling dynamic of the car, and you’ll always feel in control, thanks to the extensive list of driver aids and stabilisers.
After a quick stroll and a steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee, I find myself standing in front of the Lexus once more, feeling revitalised and ready for our next adventure. It seems, though, that while I was sipping my cappuccino, the coupé had picked up a few admirers. Judging from the foreheads pressed against the driver’s door to get a good look at this beautiful machine, the Lexus knows how to draw a crowd.
A brief conversation with a number of the fans leaves me alone in the car once again. My soulful jazz soundtrack reverberates through the cabin, and for the first time, I take stock of just how feature-rich this Lexus is.
Everything fitted to this car comes as standard; there is no lengthy options list. Creature comforts such as Bluetooth, satnav and cruise control are all part of the 200t’s genetic makeup. This is the culture of Lexus – to produce people-focused cars that embody sophistication.
A quick toggle through the satnav and my destination is set. I head off down a long tar road, covered with the day’s dust, before meeting up with the highway. The road is long and monotonous, rolling gently over small hills.
My demeanour has changed, and the 200t is more than willing to oblige. I set the car to ‘Comfort’, and the ride softens and relaxes, the electric power steering feather-light, yet direct. I steer with one hand on the wheel, swatting the radio dial to find the classics. Cruise control fixed and the driver’s seat heater set to the max, the cabin quickly becomes a cocoon of comfort.
While performance-based in almost every aspect, the 200t has an economic side, maintaining impeccable fuel figures as I cruise effortlessly into the sunset.