Beauty and some of four-legged beasts
The Lexus RC 200t is a really fine thing that would capture the heart and wallet of Campbell Spray, if he had either
Does it really matter what these affectionate people do - so long as they don't do it in the streets and frighten the horses! That famous reply by the actress Mrs Patrick Campbell, to a young female colleague who asserted that an older actor in a production showed too much affection for the leading man, came in to my mind while out driving last Sunday.
We had been going down a country road in the Wicklow hills when we saw two horses and their riders approaching. We pulled over to let them past but the leading horse would have none of it. Eventually with the engine off, the rider coaxed her very unsettled steed past. "I'm so sorry about that," she said as she passed, "but I think it is because your car is so new, shiny and imposing."
Earlier that day when we parked outside the Insomnia in Kilmainham, a driver, caught at the pedestrian light, shouted "that's a real beaut, that is". Of course my partner thought it was about her but did eventually concede that maybe the Lexus RC200 coupe in "Sonic White" with "Dark Rose" interior may have had something going for it.
And it was really a beautiful car, inside and out. One of the sweetest drives of the year if a bit harsh over rough roads, courtesy of the 19" alloys and very firm suspension in all four available modes.
The steering was precise and the car felt very grounded even on mountain roads.
It will do the 0-100km sprint in 7.5seconds and there is a top speed if you need it of 230kmh or 143mph. Hybrid versions are more the norm but I was driving the 245bhp turbo petrol model which, in the F Sport spec, will empty your wallet a couple of lattes short of €65,000.
Yet there is a 300h Hybrid Executive model at €15,000 cheaper and hybrid F Sport and Premium models at €56,850 and €59,850. Are any of them worth it? I think yes.
The build quality is fantastic and you can see and feel why Lexus tops the JD Power reliability index.
Of course the seats in the back are really just for show - or children at most - but the boot is deep and can be augmented by folding those seats.
The comforts generally are first class. It is a heavy car, which affects performance a bit, but I think on balance the looks and prestige feel give it a great edge and nicely match Lexus comfort and luxury to something for a sportier and younger audience.
I'm sorry if it frightened those four-legged beasts - and our own smaller one didn't like being in the back with no windows that he could stick his snout out of - but I really enjoyed driving the car.
If I had the money I'd be sorely tempted. If I had a heart it would be broken after I had returned it.
The fourth-generation Mazda MX-5 has been named both the 2016 World Car of the Year (WCOTY) and the World Car Design of the Year. It is the second Mazda to win the WCOTY award, following the Mazda2 in 2008, and the first model to win both titles in the history of the awards.
The hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai won the Green Car of the Year award.