The 2017 Lexus RC F, shown, emphasizes high performance over the everyday appeal of the RC 200t version. Brady Holt/The Current

Driving many sporty cars in town can be an exercise in frustration. Performance-oriented suspensions slam their way over potholes, and big engines only tempt speed-camera tickets. Such is the case with the Lexus RC F, a sports coupe that looks flashy but that can’t offer true driving pleasure on city streets.

It’s actually this car’s base model, the RC 200t, that seems a better fit for urban conditions. The V8 engine in the RC F wins a race against the four-cylinder in the RC 200t, but the base model still blends driving enjoyment with the looks of a hard-edged performance car.

Even for drivers with an eye on country roads outside of D.C., the RC 200t is perhaps better for what it is — a fun, stylish coupe — than the RC F is at providing dominant performance. Lexus is best known for its smooth, quiet luxury cars, and the RC F doesn’t challenge the best European performance vehicles for their handling.

Shop the RC against the Audi A5, BMW 4 Series, Infiniti Q60 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupes, and also consider the RC 350 model whose V6 engine splits the difference between the F and the 200t. Prices start at $41,430 for the RC 200t and hit $80,000 for the tested RC F.