No cheating, now. Look at the silhouette picture above and tell us what badge sits on those kinks. Some clues won’t help, but they might intrigue; it has a four cylinder 2.5 litre turbocharged petrol engine and RWD. And it most definitely isn’t German. This, we like. More pictures?

Even if you overlooked the badging that corporate face is a giveaway. Lexus’s corporate chops puts me in mind of the alien in Alien. Ridley Scott said of his classic sci-fi flick “The most important thing in a film of this type is not what you see, but the effect of what you think you saw.” Looking at the RC300h you might think you see a high-performance coupe, packed with tech. You’d be half right. 178bhp doesn’t deliver high performance here but in a car designed to efficiently munch miles, we’d rather have style, comfort and gadgets to make life less hassle. There’s a touch pad, simple info screen and heated and cooled seats that made me think of lovely old Volvos.

exterior-of-lexus-rc300h-by-motorpunk-2

Poking about on Lexus’s website I see mention of the bloody Nürburgring. I do not want a car like this to be tweaked for laptimes and care not how this might feel with a dap of oppo through Brünnchen in the hands of Walter Röhrl. There are too many manufacturers who think this matters and too many umlauts in that last sentence. I want a car for here and now and me. Thankfully the RC300h rides nicely on Britain’s scabrous roads, steering has enough feel and the brakes (once you’re used to the regen effect) work nicely too. Labelling this car ‘sport’ and referring to the Nürburgring (sorry, last time I’ll do that here) is pointless – a 0-60 time of 8.6 seconds is sufficient in the real world. In any case, the sport moniker (on this Lexus) is less offensive than the M Sport nonsense on a 216d or an AMG label on whatever Merc’s boggo model is called nowadays. This car is a hybrid, but nobody buys cars to save the planet, they do so to get cheaper RFL and BIK and other tax-related acronyms. It sneaks around town doing 57.6MPG and because it’s a hybrid there’s no range anxiety or ugly plugs cluttering your driveway. On the motorway it just wafts.

Remember Saab? I’m so old I even remember them from before GM buggered them up. And Lancia and Renault? There was a time when there was a thinking man’s alternative to the onslaught of German saloons and Coupes. Today I see Lexus filling this role, albeit without the breakdowns and rust. But this isn’t a car that should be chosen purely because it’s a bit different, because you like the silhouette. The RC300h costs £35,995 and up and has to be chosen on it’s merits and measurables, too. I particularly liked the 17 speaker Mark Levinson sound system and silent low-speed running. Leccy cars can sound dreadful. This one doesn’t sound of anything, and that’s perfect. Press cars (for this one belongs to Lexus, sadly, not me) usually do a few miles in our hands before we get bored. I did over 1000 miles in 3 days in this one. Silently, comfortably and without seeing another on the road. Here, have some pics of it’s innards;

So what didn’t I like? The rear seats are titchy considering the overall dimensions of the car and I have never liked CVT gearboxes, particularly when others have moved the game on so far. Does anyone bother with paddles once you’ve had an exploratory fiddle? I’m being picky. The touchpad system is simple and intuitive and the call quality when paired with your ‘phone is excellent. A dial will let you switch between eco mode, ‘normal’ and sport, you can push a button to leave it in full-on EV mode but it’ll revert to petrol if you go further than the shops and/or drive with any degree of urgency. Normal does it all nicely for 99% of the time. There are some switches that don’t worry Audi. They don’t worry me, either, for the rest of the package is so good and Lexus’s customer service is known for being ball-ticklingly brilliant.

Photographers are typically difficult people to impress but our Rad, even half-frozen on the banks of the Trent snapping this, was happily pointing out angles and creases that pleased his artistic eye. These excellent light-painted pics were achieved by him charging about dressed head to toe in black with a backpack, here he is at work, looking like a well-nourished ninja.

So this car is a wafter, and it just works. I hope, reader, that you didn’t mind the mildly cryptic introduction. Had I opened with LEXUS you might have allowed your preconceptions to write off this review, and this car. That would be wrong. This car looks different and drives different and you should try one. So. A three word review; Try this car.

exterior-of-lexus-rc300h-by-motorpunk-5

Words; Duisberg. Pics; Rad Pajor. Info about Lexus here.

About The Author

Rich Duisberg

Rich's drivel regularly appears in Practical Performance Car and GT Porsche magazines. He has also written for Classic & Sportscar, MogMag, Classic Performance and Retro, Banzai, Evo, and Modern Mini. He also did a book no-one bought. His hungover fizzog also often appears on CBS’s Carfection channel enthusing about historic motoring. Le Mans winner Derek Bell once refused to get in Rich's Morgan Three Wheeler with him at the wheel. Currently amongst the detritus in his garage is a Porsche 968 Sport, MK1 MX-5, Sinclair C5 and a vintage Royal Enfield pushbike which he loves.

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