2016 Best Drives: Sharp Dressed Ride Lexus RC Coupe

Recently I have the opportunity to sample two impressive models from the Lexus RC portfolio. Both the RC 200t with the F sport package and the RC 350 with rear wheels drive. With the exception of the limited edition mega dollar super car the LFA, the Lexus brand has never offered such dramatically styled and beautiful vehicles as the 2016 RC series. It is worthy of one of the top drives of 2016 awards.

Now in its second year, the luxury sports coupe gets two new engines, broadening its appeal as an alternative to to folks shopping for a BMW 4 Series a Cadillac ATS or the A5 from Audi. Unlike previous Lexus coupes like the SC 400 from the 1990s, along with awkward styled SC 430  convertible. the 2016 Lexus RC emphasizes performance over comfortable grand touring.

It’s one of the most expressively styled Lexus cars to come along in decades, filling a gap in the Lexus lineup to entice younger, well-heeled buyers  who are seeking a 4-passenger premium sports coupe. While there’s a Lexus RC available in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (RWD, AWD) for just about anybody, the truly power-hungry will want the V8-powered monster known as the RC F.

It used to be that to get Lexus levels of reliability you had to sacrifice personality. One look at the 2016 RC tells you those days are long gone, and this aggressively styled luxury-sports coupe has the goods and the attitude discerning buyers demand, all starting in the mid-$40,000s.

The 2016 RC is definitely snug, but it’s comfortable, at least up front. There are four seatbelts, but in reality the rear seat is way too small for most adults, but is fine for small kids or an occasional adult passenger. Up front is a much different story. The seats are comfortable in all trims and feature extra bolstering in RC Sport and RC F models. With the 7-inch display, rounded dashboard and angled audio/climate control interface, the dash is busy but a wonderful place like the rest of interior to spend time..

While it’s great that Lexus is pushing its styling envelope, not everyone loves the new direction. In fact, it’s a little hard to believe this wild-looking luxury coupe is a Lexus at all, which may be the point. For the most part I think it works  great here. The angles and muscular bulges are eye-catching at the very least, and give this coupe a distinctive look compared to its European and American competitors,  Everywhere I drove around the Orlando Fl area I got nothing but positive feedback from people from all age and demographic groups.. From the Lexus “spindle” grille to the fins on the sides paying tribute to LFA super car, and other details, there’s nothing else like it on the road especially at this price range.

The 2016 RC comes as nicely equipped as you’d expect of a luxury-sports coupe. There are standard automatic climate control, a self-dimming rearview mirror, and an infotainment system with a 7-inch display screen, rearview camera, and Lexus Enform Service Connect service. The 10-speaker audio system includes HD Radio, dual USB inputs and Bluetooth streaming with Eyes Free iPhone integration.  My test drive the four cylinder 200t RC was equipped with the optional F sport package which gets get standard variable suspension and Sport+ driving mode plus heated and ventilated front seats, a suspension tuned for higher performance, and a power-adjust steering wheel.

The options list starts with a navigation system that uses a touch-pad controller and includes an upgraded Enform suite with services such as Yelp, Pandora and stock prices. There are also heated/ventilated front seats, a leather interior, heated steering wheel and a moonroof. The Mark Levinson premium audio system makes even your iPod or bluetooth streaming digital device sound quite good.Advanced safety features include blind-spot monitoring and a pre-collision system that can automatically brake the car.

For one week I was treated with the 200t RC with the great F Sport package. Thos vehicle is propelled by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 241 horsepower along 258 lb-ft of torque. It delivers 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway. The F sport package gives you access to the Sport + driving mode along with great deal of suspension tuning making the entry-level RC is a hoot to drive. Without the V6 engine under hood the weight savings add a playful feeling that was absent in the RC 350  model that I also drove for a week.

My other Lexus test drive for a week was the RC 350 with Rear wheel drive with a bit more power, but not much.  With two different incarnations of the 3.6 liter V-6 lineup my test vehicle put out 255 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque.  So it loses some torque bt gains a ew ponies over the turbo for an  EPA city/highway fuel economy of: 19/26 mpg

Like the ZZ Top song “Sharp Dressed Man: written and performed by good friend Billy F Gibbons the RC series is a sharp dressed ride and one of best of 2016.

You can’t go wrong with any model in the lineup. I hope one of the days I get to sample the V-8 powered RC F.

The Long Drive Rankings The RC 350 and RC 200T

Front Engine-RWD 8 speed automatic

Highlights

Styling

Performance

Stereo System

Navigation

Lowlights

Snug interior for some

 

The Long Drive Rankings 1 Low 10 High

Exterior Styling 9
Interior styling and quality 9

Handling 9

Braking 7
Fuel Economy 6
Stereo System 9

Performance 8
Trunk-Cargo Capacity 7

Navigation 9
Audio System 9

s

2017 Best Drives— MercedesAMG C63 S Coupe

By Bob Long

I remember the first time back in Boston around 2009 when I got a week test drive in C63 AMG Sedan.  The massive V-8 power plant stuffed into this compact car combined with an exhaust note right out heaven,  I still remember it so fondly.  The exhaust  sounded like a German World War II howitzer cannon and I loved it.

Fast forward to recently when I was blown away by one best drives of the past year.  First off styling wise it is absolutely breathtaking in full zoot S trim.  This is one beautiful machine from every angle.  The 2017 Mercedes AMG C63S Coupe is simply stunning.

For those not familiar with AMG.  The former separate tuner company beat its path to high-performance credibility with a hammer. The German speed shop’s first street car, the 355-hp 1987 ( assembled by Porsche) Mercedes-Benz AMG Hammer sedan, set the record for the world’s fastest production four-door at 178 mph, then set the pace for the subsequent 30-year parade of raucous, tire-shredding AMG brutes.

The speed shop is now part of Mercedes and has in rent years produced the incredible SLS AMG Gull wing and the current AMG GT Coupe.  As of late, more civilized cars and the use of all-wheel drive suggest that today’s AMG swings its hammer a little more softly in exchange for greater chassis control and improved traction. That is upsetting period.  Loud and brash machines like the  C63 S AMG coupe are increasingly rare and that is a shame.

The new 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S coupe doesn’t come off as a brute at first glance. Twin turbochargers muffle the small-displacement 4.0-liter V-8, and the exhaust terminates in a quartet of pea shooter tailpipes hidden behind the jumbo trapezoid openings in the rear bumper.

Yet pin the throttle and this more efficient engine is almost as wild as the naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 that it replaces. The high-output C63 S model packs a 503-hp sledge of an engine that pummels the concrete, while a seven-speed automatic bangs through ratios and a bawdy, unmistakably eight-cylinder thunder blares. In true traction-be-damned AMG fashion, it sends all 516 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels.

Among its peers, the C63 remains the biggest bruiser. The C63 S holds a 78-hp advantage over the BMW M4 and a 39-hp edge on the Cadillac ATS-V. Non-S C63 models make 469 horsepower and 479 lb-fts till at the front of the pack, but you should pass on the upgraded S only if the extra eight to ten grand would bankrupt you. Beyond the extra power, the S version adds the option of carbon-ceramic brake discs on the front axle and replaces the mechanical limited-slip differential with an electronically controlled unit. It also augments the mode selector with a Race setting to relax the stability control, stiffen the dampers, and sharpen the shifts beyond Sport+.

AMG eagerly points out that the C63 coupe is not just a C63 sedan with two fewer doors. Engineers in  gifted the coupe with a shorter final-drive ratio 3.06:1 in the two-door versus 2.85:1 in the sedan for quicker acceleration. Helped by a 100-pound weight advantage, the C63 S coupe should tear down a straight one tick ahead of the four-door, clearing 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds.  Starting price for the pretty loaded machine is $75,925.  No longer does 6.3 V8 or to be correct a 6.2 liter V8 resides under the hood.  Todays C63 s uses
4.0-liter turbocharged 8-cylinder engine producing 503 hp and 516 lb-ft through a; 7-speed automatic transmission.  Mileage is rated at 17 city and 23 highway but really who cares?

The coupe also receives a unique rear suspension; it isn’t shared with either the C63 sedan or the less powerful C-class coupes. In pursuit of a more rigid assembly, AMG rearranged the upper links, replaced several bushings with ball joints, and widened the rear track by 1.7 inches compared with the AMG sedan. The wider rear stance should make the coupe more susceptible to understeer than the sedan, although we can’t say that’s definitively the case without driving the two back-to-back.

Even with the extra rear-end grip, the C63 S coupe does a nice job getting its front tires to bite and lead the car around a road course on fresh rubber. The steering is hefty and accurate, though largely unfeeling. But as the Michelin Pilot Super Sports heat up, the car becomes a 3800-pound pendulum, scrubbing the front tires in one corner and then swinging the back wide in the next. If you’re a track rat logging your lap times, the BMW and Cadillac are better choices. True to its predecessor, though, the C63 makes drifting as easy as tapping your big toe.

The interior is equally exquisite as the exterior design the Burmester audio system is fantastic.  The aero pieces are killer and compliment the sexy lines so well.

This is  a car that feels most at home on the road, where it’s an effortless and luxurious means to driving wickedly fast well within the car’s limits. It offers thrust at any rpm and comfort in any task. Public streets also are where the differences between the new and old car are most evident. On the road, the 2017 C63 feels more refined and its cornering abilities go deeper than that of its predecessor.

The pricing can escalade into six figures with all options checked but like my other favorite coupe the Jaguar F Type now available in SVR trim for 2017 is worth every penny.   I love coupes and I love this car.  Hand down it is one best drives of the year.

For those  lucky folks with means fall in love with the AMG C63S Coupe and you will be in automotive nirvana.

The Long Drive Rankings

Front Engine-RWD

Highlights

Performance

The Engine

SEX on Wheels styling

Comfort

Lowlights

No AWD option for some who want all power to the ground

Scale 1 low-10 High

Exterior Styling 10

Interior styling and quality 9

Handling 8

Braking 8

Fuel Economy 6

Audio System 9

Performance 10

Trunk-Cargo Capacity 76