Think 2.0-litre four-cylinder rear-wheel-drive coupe from Japan, think Toyota 86. But add a turbocharger to that equation and you can now picture a Lexus RC200t.
The RC200t should cost under $60,000 when it lands locally in December, just after the IS200t sedan with the same engine in September.
In the coupe range it will duck beneath the $66,000 RC350 that utilises a 3.5-litre naturally aspirated V6 and is barely more powerful, much less frugal and heavier.
Unlike the flat-four, Subie-derived 86 engine, the RC’s pots line up straight. Like its natural German rival, the BMW 428i coupe, the same-sized engine in the RC200t makes an identical 180kW and 350Nm.
A base RC coupe weighs a portly 1680kg, but while Lexus isn’t talking kerb weights with the new RC200t, the 2.0-litre engine itself weighs 160kg – or around 20kg less than the V6 that produces 53kW/28Nm extra.
Where the RC350 makes torque at 4800rpm and power at a peaky 6400rpm, the equivalent engine in the NX200t compact SUV makes its maximums between 1650-4000rpm and 4800-5600rpm respectively.
In short, the twin-scroll turbo unit lathers grunt over the throttle rather than forcing you to reach into the pedal to get it.
The fatty NX200t weighs 1700kg, gets 5kW less than RC200t and the same torque, with a 7.3-second 0-100km/h claim and 7.7L/100km economy.
The RC200t also gets two extra gears to play with, utilising an eight-speed torque converter automatic, and with along with around 50kg less to lug around, should achieve a ton run in the high sixes with low-seven frugality.
We won’t mention the 428i coupe can achieve high-fives and low-sixes respectively.
Still, Lexus will definitely want to mention that the RC200t will undercut the Bavarian coupe by more than $20,000. It will also slice into the pricing territory of the ageing Nissan 370Z that currently retails at $60,000. Which brings us back to square one – this could be a more powerful and posh 86.