For those looking for a sleek coupe that’s dependable, you don’t have to look beyond this one from Lexus
Photos by Azfar Hashim & Joel tam
Lawyers are probably among the busiest people in the world. Which should explain why anyone in the legal industry drive, well, safe cars that they know would start at the first crank every morning, delivers decent fuel economy and, last but not least, goes a little faster than a usual sedan.
Hence explaining why lawyers, or be it anyone in the legal industry, usually pick an Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Porsche. Usually they do so because of the badge and the fact that these cars are pretty easy to run and maintain.
Which means all you single lawyers who do not want a family car (read: sedan and MPV) could only choose between the Germans (E-Class Coupe, A5 Coupe, 4 Series Coupe and Cayman) if you do really want a coupe for less than $350k. But here’s a problem: Perhaps all of your fellow lawyer mates drive the same brand; so imagine walking out of court and into the carpark, and in the midst of rushing for time, you notice that you and the opposing lawyer drive the same car. And perhaps even your client and their client. Then even the judge. Also the court’s clerk.
Exaggerations aside, I’m sure you know what I mean.
So to prevent such awkward occasion from ever taking place, let me point you into the direction of Lexus’s freshest — but surprisingly forgotten - coupe, the RC350. Yes we did sample its brute brethren, the RC F, months ago, but I assure you that this one is more civilized and different in character.
First things first, it gets powered by a creamy 3.5-litre V6 — a Lexus signature, I must say. It then gets paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission, which then sends all 312 bhp and 378 Nm (@ 4,800 rpm) worth of torque to the rear two wheels. Despite being a naturally aspirated engine, the RC 350 needs only 6.3 seconds to reach 100 km/h from standstill and has a top speed of 230 km/h; sure it’s still slower than its closest competitor, the 435i Coupe (5.1 seconds), but in the real world the RC 350 does it in a classier manner.
And what I simply mean by ‘classier’ is this: The power doesn’t kick in rudely when you give the accelerator pedal about three-quarters worth of right foot pressure, but instead it does it in a very subtle manner that does not cause your passengers to get thrown hard into their respective seats. You don’t feel it as hard as in the 435i Coupe, but you do see the car moving forward with bravado as the tachometer climbs up close to its 6,600 rpm redline. That said, it does sound wholesome — both engine and exhaust notes — as you pile up the revs, holding on to the first four gears.
Out on the expressway, it cruises rather beautifully at legal speeds. You don’t exactly get a Bentley-like quiet cabin as (a) tyre roars are rather audible, and (b) intrusive wind noise past 110 km/h, but by segment standard, it’s definitely a class leader for now. At the same time as you go about in ‘Normal’ mode, the suspension does a good job of soaking up bumps and irregularities despite the large 19-inch rims wrapped in low-profile, performance-biased Bridgestone Potenza RE050 rubbers. It’s quite a feat what Lexus achieved here.
Driving along corners, the RC350 - truthfully - isn’t as sharp as the 435i Coupe but at least body movements are rather positive than unnerving — select ‘Sport’ on the dial and you can feel the entire chassis flowing together as one, although going slightly faster would lead to a fair bit of understeer. Brakes deserve praise too, biting with poise to ensure you have enough stopping power when an idiotic driver decides to magically appear right ahead of you.
In terms of interior, it's a typical Lexus affair inside the RC350. You get good build quality, clear and concise displays, premium leather-wrapped seats and soft plastic used on the dashboard and door panels. Oh by the way, aluminium paddle shifters come standard as well, which are well positioned on the nicely sized steering wheel (nope this one did not touch my tummy).
That aside, you have to love the seats. They're comfortable, supportive and were designed to accommodate any body sizes. Plus on warm days, you get what I call "bum-coolers" - yes, thoughtful Lexus included seat coolers (and warmers) for the driver and front passenger.
The RC350's tourer status is very apparent when you get into the rear of the car - there's room only for two passengers. Thankfully though unlike the previous IS Convertible, the backrest is not too upright and are padded very nicely, which makes long-distance drive a rather comfortable affair.
As you can see, the RC350 has gotten for itself a rather glowing review here. For you lawyers out there, this car obviously is your perfect answer as it has the right amount of power, laudable driving experience and a cabin that works very well; not forgetting Japanese reliability too. Plus, you cannot deny how different (and un-boring) — in a very good way, of course — it looks next to the E-Class Coupe, A5 Coupe and 4 Series Coupe.
On a separate note, it also seems that Lexus’s coupe this time around works much better as a tourer rather than an outright muscle car.
I rest my case.