By George Polgar
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Lexus division of Toyota is the fastest growing automotive luxury brand, now sold in 70 countries, trailing about 1 million units a year behind Mercedes and its close rivals BMW and Audi.
With very high underlying standards of design, engineering and build quality, and overwhelmingly impressive on-board tech, styling and luxury amenities, Lexus has amassed a substantial, loyal and well-moneyed clientele.
And yet with all that success, the new hot RC two-door coupe series expresses a wistful yearning by Lexus to be included in that vaunted stable of brands that invoke true automotive passion.
From extreme exterior styling heavily influenced by urban tuner hot-rods to track-ready driver seating ergonomics and a punchy rear-wheel drive layout, even the base 3.5 liter V6 RC350 packs 306 horsepower which moves this smallish coupe along at a vigorous clip.
A double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension serves up confident flat cornering and spirited handling, helped along by an electronic vehicle dynamics system.
If the loaded Lexus RC350 V6 for about $52,000 is not passionate enough … the 467 horsepower V8 F Sport is the heart-stopper starting at $63,000.