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2017 Lexus RC200t – Personal Luxury Coupe, Hardcore Enthusiast Need Not Bother

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Lexus call it “Molten Pearl”, I called it “Creamsicle”, my wife, “The Pumpkin Spice Car”, whatever you call it, RC200t F-Sport, may be the best attainable daily driver GT car you can buy today.

If I’m correct, you’ve had one of three reactions. Number one, “are you FU#$ING MAD!!! Number two, that car is hideous to look at, it doesn’t matter how good it is. Number three, “you’ve given away the whole plot at the beginning man!”

Let’s pull out Bob Ross’ four-inch brush and paint with some broad strokes, shall we? Enthusiasts discount anything that doesn’t come with a manual, unless it’s some exotic supercar, and then only reluctantly. The number of cars from Japan that they have time for can usually be counted on one, maybe two hands. With a Lexus nameplate, there is one, but it is no longer in production.

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2016 Lexus GS F: Bringing balance to the segment

The luxury sports sedan is an interesting beast. It has to appeal to many senses. You want the car to posses power and speed, and have both available at all times. You also want the interior space to be an enjoyable place to spend time.

The 2016 Lexus GS F isn’t the best vehicle in this segment. It might be the most balanced though, as it blends its power and performance with the typical Lexus level of luxury that we’ve come to expect.

[Disclaimer: Lexus tossed us the keys to the GS F and included a tank of gas.]

Quick Spin: 2015 Lexus RC 350 AWD

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I may be in the minority of people, especially for people under the age of forty, when I say that I like many of the Toyota and Lexus cars. Toyotas make for well built, reliable, long lasting, basic transportation. Lexus builds on Toyota’s philosophy and adds nice, quiet, interiors, better materials, and unique styling. Most of the cars, such as the IS, GS, and LS, do not have a Toyota equivalent, making it a mostly stand-alone brand, which is great in world of never ending badge engineering.

Lexus’ newest addition to its line-up of cars is the RC coupe. The coupe is loosely based on IS and GS architecture, and being that I really enjoyed the IS and GS F cars, I had high expectations of it. The RC is set to be a direct competitor for the Audi A5, BMW 4-series, Mercedes C coupe, and the Infiniti G37/Q60, which is to say it should attract image-conscious yuppies.

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Road Trip In The Lexus RC350 F Sport

The Lexus RC350 has an aggressive exterior and aims to attack the coupes from its German rivals. The F Sport package gives it better handling and a more menacing look. As a Lexus and not a Caterham, it’s required to strike the right balance between comfort and handling.  I originally planned to take the RC350 F Sport to an autocross event but the car had to be rescheduled and ended up arriving the weekend before a road trip. The logical choice for the six hour round trip  to a wedding would’ve been to take my Cadillac STS or their Toyota Camry but I convinced them that we should ride in the RC350.

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First Drive: 2015 Lexus RC F

Lexus is looking to join the big leagues of the sport luxury segment. That’s a hefty road to climb considering it’s currently filled with the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, BMW M4, and the Audi RS5, amongst other machines.

Lexus has an answer to those vehicles, however, and it’s called the RC F. Executive Editor Jeff Glucker heads to the Monticello Motor Club in New York to see if it can compete with the rest of the segment.

[Disclaimer: Lexus flew me to New York and put me up in a hotel. I ditched the after-track after-dinner drink-a-thon to hang out with my buddy Matt… we had our own drink-a-thon. I was tired the next day.]

Sampling all three flavors of the 2015 Lexus NX
It’s easy to figure out which one we like best

British Columbia is a beautiful place. From the towering buildings butting up to the water in Vancouver to the snowy expanses lying to the north near Whistler, there’s something beautiful to see nearly everywhere you look.

A good way to break all of that up is by using something that some would describe as “polarizing”. That’s exactly how we’d describe the all-new 2015 Lexus NX. Some folks are going to love it, while others… well, they will let you know what they think.

For us, it boils down to how a car drives, and the NX drives surprisingly well. It’s clear that Akio Toyoda’s mission to make his brands more sporting is paying off. It should be no surprise that our favorite of the three new NX examples is, of course, the F-Sport version.

We touch on both the 300h and the 200t to start things off, but we quickly focus on the most interesting of the three.

[Disclaimer: Lexus flew us to Whistler and put us up in a swank hotel. Also, I cleared customs in like five minutes… I don’t know if that had anything to do with Lexus though.]

First Drive: 2015 Lexus NX
Dynamically, a step in the right direction

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[Editor’s Note: We have a First Drive coming soon too. The initial footage is not yet finished though, so GET EXCITED because you have more Lexus NX coming your way.]

It also happens to be damned perfect for its target market. The RX is comfortable, offers up an appropriate level of luxury, looks fancy enough without standing out, and is priced in line with the rest of its segment. If you’re afraid to test the diesel waters, the Lexus RX Hybrid is a perfectly fine vehicle for you.

Still, there are some who desire some engagement from their machines. Toyota President Akio Toyoda himself even said recently that he desires to see more a more sporting attitude and nature throughout the Toyota lineup. To that end, we’ve begun to see the initial results of his push. The Avalon no longer looka like the last car you’ll ever buy your grandmother, the Lexus IS and GS are truly entertaining machines both on the street and the track, and the Toyota/Scion GT-86/FR-S are rhythm car blasts from enthusiast heaven.

It should stand then, that a compact crossover from Lexus should be enjoyable to drive as well. This is one of the hottest segments out there, so Lexus needs to offer something unique. Enter the 2015 Lexus NX… and even if you hate how it looks, prepare to love how it drives.

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Video Review: 2013 Lexus GX 460
A business suit that can be covered in mud

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Around the world, a vehicle called the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado is the go-to machine for areas that require traversing less than hospitable paths and roads. It’s a tough truck that can go almost anywhere. In fact, the UN regularly relies on the Prado to help its members reach every nook and cranny of the globe.

Sounds like a pretty sweet ride, right? Too bad we don’t have that in the States…

Allow me to introduce you to the other side of the 2013 Lexus GX 460.

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Understanding and Hooning the Lexus F SPORT Cars

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The BMW M3, in theory, has always been simply a base sedan turned into a sports car by BMW M GmbH. There were substantial improvements in its chassis and engine, but it was still a 3 Series. Over the years, many have attempted to duplicate the performance and success of the M Division, but most always fall short of the mark. For instance, Audi’s S4 was too slow and too heavy, so much so that Audi had to create the sportier RS4 version. The Mercedes-Benz AMG version of the C-class was fast and powerful, but the driver involvement just was not there.

In 2007, an M3 competitor came from the least likely of places, Lexus, in the form of the IS F. Like the E90 M3, it too had a powerful V8 engine that sent its power to the rear wheel via a proper limited-slip differential, and the car boasted a strong, well-tuned, chassis. While the IS F did not knock the M3 off its throne, it may have come closer to doing so than many others.

To further show how serious it was about its performance, Lexus put the much-hyped LFA supercar into production. The V10 two-seater was aiming straight at Italy’s exotica, offering parallel performance but with a Camry-level of reliability and none of the drama. To say that Lexus is serious about performance brand image would be an understatement.

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Video Review: 2014 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport
This brand is starting to embrace sportiness

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Lexus has been a builder of luxury cars since the late 1980s. They’ve gotten really good at producing cushy cruisers that appeal to their intended demographic. During that time, there’s never been much to get excited about from a sports-oriented driving experience. Yes, the IS-F is a blast and the LFA proves the company is capable of tremendous feats of engineering. Still, the standard IS has been the sportiest machine in the lineup, and it can’t hold a candle to offerings from BMW, Audi, or even the the new Cadillac ATS.

Now, however, Lexus is pushing itself. This is happening in both the style department and the in-seat experience. The cars are far more bold, whether you like it or note. Additionally, they’re becoming rather entertaining to drive. For example, I had a chance to sample the latest GS on a track, and I was nearly shocked at how well it behaved. One of my best burnouts was recently accomplished in the F-Sport version of the LS. These machines are still holding on to their luxurious roots, but their also broadening their horizons… and it’s about time.

The 2014 Lexus IS now has to step up to this improvement plate. As the entry-level member of the family (forgetting the CT200h), it has to capture the heart and soul of folks so Lexus can keep them climbing up the product ladder as they grow older. Can the new IS pull off this emotional encapsulation?

Click past the jump to find out… and watch the video all the way through to catch the worst “donuts” ever.

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