CARS.COM — If this “ASC” button was in a Mitsubishi, its obvious meaning would be “Active Stability Control,” Mitsu’s name for an electronic stability system. Boring, right? But the “ASC” button in the 2016 Lexus RC 200t sports coupe engages a much more interesting feature: controlling the sound of the engine.
An acronym for “Active Sound Control,” Lexus’s ASC feature lets you tune the engine noise of the RC 200t, RC 300 and RC 350. It’s not going to make the RC 200t’s turbocharged four-cylinder sound like the Lexus LFA’s symphonic V-10, but ASC electronically augments engine noise by creating an engine-like sound audible through interior speakers at high engine speeds.
Generating certain frequencies or amplifying engine sound to make it fuller or more refined isn’t uncommon, but what’s unique about Lexus’ adaptation is that the ASC dial provides control of the overall sound volume as well as the ability to turn it off all together.
Cranking Active Sound Control all the way up noticeably enhances the volume inside the RC 200t when ASC is active in Normal and Sport modes. It isn’t a very pleasing noise to my ears, however, and sounded too digitally enhanced, like the soundtrack of Namco’s 1982 “Pole Position” video game. Favoritism for a particular engine sound is as subjective as the appeal of a genre of music, so you may like it. Either way, the adjustability is a welcome feature on a sports coupe like the Lexus RC.
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