Today, we are in Belgium test driving the Lexus RC300H F Sport for a review. The new hybrid coupe from the Japanese manufacturer gives off a satisfying first impression. When looking at it, the RC300H’s sporty attitude is underlined by it’s provocative and seductive design.
The curves of the body are elegant and futuristic. The lines go perfectly with a very technologically advanced and luxurious atmosphere but that you already knew that… it’s a Lexus after all. The front is as always very elegant with the Lexus’ spindle grill and headlights that are all made up of LED with very fine pointed design.
Continuing along the curves of the eyes of the Lexus RC 300H, we get to the rear with dual exhaust pipes which reveal the sports car nature. Note that this car has a special license plate on the back of this Lexus; Number 1.
Opening the door, we see the interior with a clear leather, very refined. The only words that come to mind when describing the interior of the Lexus RC300H are technology and ergonomics. Every command is easily accessible and there are a ton of options. Heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, navigation, Hi-Fi Surround sound Mark Levinson stereo with 17 speakers (Which will take your breath away when it comes to sound quality), radar guided cruise control, lane departure warning and automatic high beam.
In short, there are tons of goodies in the Lexus RC300H. This “F Sport” model that we are testing is equipped with sport seats covered in perforated leather, aluminum pedals, a special steering wheel and even a gauge cluster that is entirely digital reminiscent of the Lexus LFA. The dashboard shows that Lexus can make a very beautiful yet functional, showing different information every time depending on the style of driving. It is easily customizable to be ready for any request of the driver’s choosing.
To finish off the differences in this F-sport, 19 inch wheels with their own design, adaptive damping and some exterior modifications. Starting the engine of the Lexus RC300H F Sport for the first time I’m not surprised by the absence of noise.
Silence continues to be present in the passenger compartment even though the car is actually turned on. For the first time I get familiar with the Lexus hybrid system that the letter “H” wants to emphasize. Under the bonnet we find a 2.5 liter petrol engine coupled to an high performance electric motor. Together they provide a total power of 223 HP.
If your intentions are purely sporting, this is definitely not the car that suits you. The Lexus RC300H F Sport ideal customer is a driver who cares about elegance and luxury, who wants to travel safely on a coupe that is comfortable and pleasant to drive even in the city and with an eye for the environment. Hybrid engines, especially in the latest versions of the Toyota group, are, in my opinion, a valid alternative to current turbodiesel.
Without the hassle of the DPF filters, you can have a similar fuel economy, considering the vehicle’s power and weight. In this Lexus RC300H road test, I drove under all conditions, but above all in the terrible Bruxelles’ traffic, and the Lexus RC300H reached a total of 14 km/l. But how does this hybrid engine works? Below the bonnet there are three basic components. The Atkinson thermal engine (with an high compression ratio for greater efficiency), the electric motor, an high performance battery, a generator and a power split capable of reallocating the power of the thermal and electric motors depending on the requirements of the car through planetary reduction gears.
All these complex mechanical components are driven by a unit that understands the driver’s needs in a very short time. A great grand tourer so with a very sporty look that will not let you go unnoticed. Let’s now talk about the Lexus RC300H F Sport driving mode selector. In Eco and Normal mode, the digital display in the dashboard will help you measure the throttle to fully exploit the potential of the hybrid system.
Going to Sport and Sport +, the indicators will look more sporty with a red hand on a white background. Obviously these are not the only changes you will experience with the different driving modes. The car can actually change its behavior on the road substantially, depending on whether you choose Eco mode or the extreme Sport +. The hybrid system is transformed from an great help for fuel saving to a speed weapon, ensuring a more responsive throttle and more aggressive accelerations. In the F Sport version, the car’s shape changes, thanks to the adaptive suspension in fact, the car will give priority to comfort or roadholding.
This car is therefore really comfortable and silent in Eco, where you are often traveling totally electric, and becomes an aggressive car with reduced body roll in Sport +. In this hybrid version, as mentioned above, the numbers are not exciting, but what amaze are the driving feelings. The Lexus RC300H F SPORT is a car to be enjoyed in any condition, and thanks to the fantastic sound system, it will be difficult even to get angry even in the more congested traffic.
Testo: Edoardo Mascalchi
Foto: Edoardo Mascalchi
Video: AVP On the Road