Lexus has introduced its new RC 350 F-Sport in Mzansi, with the RC 200t in EX trim expected to debut in the next few months.
The new Lexus RC 350 F-Sport’s spindle grille is the widest and lowest of all Lexus models and is flanked by wide bumper corners, front flares and a low-set bumper peak to emphasise its low centre of gravity.
Being an F-Sport, this RC features an L-mesh grille design. Bold lines flow from the spindle grille across the entire body to create an aggressive appearance.
The side design emphasises the car’s low centre of gravity, while the subtly pleated side sills and beltline lend a sophisticated air. The rear styling echoes the shape of the spindle grille while displaying RC 350’s wide track.
While on the subject of showing up the coupe’s sensuous lines, Lexus has introduced a unique five-layer paint process, which marks the first time such a system has been used in mass production, to give RC the deepest, most brilliant finish imaginable – when specified in signature Solar Storm Red of course.
On the light front, the Lexus RC 350 has state-of-the-art multi-LED headlamps, tail lamps and fog lamps, as well as LED daytime running lamps (DRLs) for optimal vision and minimal power usage.
LED technology is also applied to the high-mount stop lamp, rear licence lamp, turn-signal lamps in the exterior mirrors and puddle lamps on the underside of the door handles.
The new Lexus RC 350 has dual LED headlamps (high and low beam) with three LED lamps arranged in a triangular layout and separate L-shaped DRLs.
With reference to the latter, these were kept as thin as possible so as not to jar with the fluid coupe lines. The low-beam lamp also adopts an L-shaped design to immediately express the Lexus identity.
The RC 350 F Sport has the added convenience of the Lexus Automatic High Beam (AHB) system – automatically dips for you when an oncoming car is sensed.
The combination rear lamps also adopt the Lexus L-shape motif, which is highlighted when the lamp is illuminated. What’s more, the surface of the tail and stop lamps is raised to create a three-dimensional presentation of the L-shaped motif.
Much more than just a pretty face, aerodynamic tweaks above and beneath the skin of RC 350 assist handling and complement other systems, including engine cooling.
Air ducts, for example, integrated into the corners of the front bumper control airflow to the sides of the body. An aero stabilising guide mounted immediately behind the front bumper diverts airflow entering through the front grille and stabilises it before it enters the radiator to enhance engine cooling efficiency.
A front air deflector and groove-shaped front fender liner minimise airflow reaching the front wheels, contributing to aerodynamic efficiency on the side of the vehicle.
The rear air deflector performs the same task for the rear wheels, while a bead has been adopted for the rear fender liner to effectively divert airflow generated by the rotating wheel to the outside, which helps optimise airflow through to the rear.
The rear bumper corners include vertical fins, which smooth airflow. Similarly, the rear bumper’s lower garnish is sculpted to direct airflow to the rear of the vehicle. The RC’s rear combination lamps also feature vertical fins as does the tip of the door frame moulding to provide optimal straight-line stability and to suppress steering wobble.
The boot lid has a sculpted shape to stabilise airflow from the roof of the vehicle. Attention was also paid to the underbody aerodynamic design to enhance efficiency. There are engine, floor and rear floor undercovers to smooth airflow and stabilising fins help to reduce turbulence.
Rounding off the RC’s dynamic profile are F-Sport exclusive multi-spoke 19-inch alloys with overlaid pairs of 10-spoke sets. The outer set of spokes is machine-finished, while the inner set has dark grey metallic paint to create an off-set pattern and add three-dimensional depth.
The front end of RC 350 is based on the highly acclaimed Lexus GS, which set new standards for stiffness and chassis response in a mid-sized sedan and is capable of containing both a 3.5-litre V6 engine and a world-class hybrid package.
The centre of the RC is inspired by the Lexus IS C convertible with larger rocker panels that contribute to high body rigidity. The rear is based on the recently released IS Line and is designed specifically to accommodate a rear wheel drive package in which traction and power delivery is a priority.
This ‘dream team’ combination provided engineers with a rigid platform featuring a wide stance and optimum length to deliver the dynamic and handling traits ideally suited to a grand touring coupe.
The new chassis also benefits from six strategically placed braces, each of which reinforce and stiffen the entire platform in critical areas, including: radiator support, sub frame brace, underfloor A-brace (from firewall to engine sub assembly), transmission tunnel brace, trapezoidal brace (under rear floor), and fuel tank brace (running front to rear).