Pity poor BMW. Once the golden boy high school quarterback of the luxury sports sedan market, with handsome good looks to match its unassailably limber moves, it is now being jeered by even its most resolutely adoring fans, who claim that it has begun losing its perfectly coiffed hair and acquiring a wobbly running game. Moreover, it’s being rushed well behind the line by a fresh crop of hard-charging underclassmen like the crisply cut Cadillac ATS and the maladroitly muscular Lexus IS.
At least it had the coupe market quite well to itself, with its rigid, nimbly two-door, heretofore known as the 4 Series. Not so much anymore. Rumors abound of a small Caddy coupe, and more than rumors just presented themselves here in Tokyo in this, the production-ready version of the Lexus’ IS two-door variant. Following nonsensical contemporary naming rules, it has introducing itself to the world as the RC.
Neither a monarchial cola nor a remote controlled toy, this swoopy coupe will pack much the same punches as its doubly-portaled sibling, with a 3.5 liter V-6, and a 2.5 liter I-4 (albeit in this guise, shown in hybrid gas/electric form). Each of these powerplants churns around 300 hp. It will also have its relative’s gimmicky LFA-inspired interior with Ouija board sliding dashboard display nodule, and an imprecise infotainment input module robbed from a 1992 IBM ThinkPad.
However, instead of wrapping all of this in a body that looks like something that crawled from a stewing Saturnine sea, like the IS, it will do so in something that looks like it crawled from an in-vitro Petri dish shakeup between an Infiniti G37, a Ford Mustang, and a Subaru BRZ.
These are all generally handsome coupes. But even the handsome hold within their genetics occasional strands of what we call “recessive ugly,” and the chromosomes have aligned to reveal themselves here. To our eye, it’s unconscionably lumpy. The head and chest are orotund, but the flanks appear imprinted with the crisp outline of a coffin. And the grille these lights flank looks like the jaw of a Burmese python unhinging itself to devour your corgi, or a thresher hankering for a field of wheat.
As at a football game — or an over-extended football metaphor — competition forces each team to bring their best skills to bear, so we look forward to seeing how this introduction impacts the category. Also, as at a football game, we like to watch a fight, as much between players as between fans. So we welcome you to agree or disagree. Simply pick your team and start jeering.