Test vehicle’s MSRP: $53,880 (Base Price $43,715)
Seating Capacity: 4
Standard Safety Features: airbags; daytime running lights; LED headlights; ABS: electronic brake distribution; a brake assist system; a traction control system; heated outside rear mirrors; and Lexus’ Enform Safety Connect Automatic Collision System
Standard Equipment: 18-inch wheels; an 8-speed automatic transmission; steering wheel mounted paddle shifters; dual chrome exhausts; genuine wood trim; leather-like seats; power front seats; folding rear seats; push button ignition starter; a keyless entry system; an automatic climate control system; three driving modes: economy, sport plus and comfort; and a manual tilt/telescopic steering wheel
Options On Review Model: Blind spot with rear traffic cross alert; fog lights; a parking assist system; a radar-activated cruise control system; variable gear ratio steering; cargo net; a trunk mat; wheel locks; a navigation system; a rear back up camera; a 17-speaker (835-watt) Mark Levinsion audio system; and the F-Sport package, which consists of 19-inch wheels, summer tires, heated (and ventilated) front seats, a black headliner, aluminum pedals, a stainless steel scuff plate with a Lexus logo, a driver’s memory seat and a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel
AWD (all-wheel drive)
RC-F (an 8-cylinder engine)
Suspension System: double wishbone (front); multi-link suspension (rear)
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 10-speaker, 256-watt AM/FM/HD/CD with satellite radio
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 mile warranty
Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 70,000 mile warranty
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.5-liter, 6-cylinder/306-hp
Recommended Fuel: Premium
Standard Fuel Mileage: 19-city/28-hwy
What’s New: The RC 350, the brand’s entry-level coupe, is one of the latest vehicles to join the line up. Unlike a few other Lexus products, which shares a platform with its sibling Toyota, this vehicle was designed exclusively for the luxury brand.
Pros: The extremely stylish and sporty RC 350 is available in a rear-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration, with either a 6-cylinder or an 8-cylinder engine. Lexus’ new stylish coupe, which oozes out loads of sex appeal, is competitively priced to go head-to-head with the other coupes in this niche premium class segment.
The RC 350 eye-popping exterior design takes styling cues from the brand’s LF-LC halo concept vehicle, which is a true head turner, too. In our opinion, the RC wears the brand’s bold, wide-mouth, spindle grille better than any other Lexus.
In fact, the addition of the RC 350 to the Lexus line up is bound to add some stiff competition to this segment. In addition to the stylish exterior design, the RC 350 offers more horsepower and a lower price point than all but one of its competitors, when outfitted with the 6-cylinder engine. Conversely, the Infiniti Q60 coupe, which is up for a major redesign, is the only vehicle in the segment spewing out slightly more horsepower than the RC 350, when comparing 6-cylinder engines.
The RC is also available with an 8-cylinder engine, which is something that is lacking in the Infiniti. With that said, RC drivers can also alternate between three driving modes: economy, comfort or sport/sport plus. And for those seeking a stiffer suspension system and the ability to unleash their inner race car ambitions, the RC-F, which goes after the BMW M Series, has the ability to blow out 467 horses from its dual tailpipes, while riding on 19-inch or 20-inch wheels. Yes, Lexus has made great strides in building a more driver-oriented performance vehicle.
Moreover, besides offering a standout design and loads of power flowing from the RC, the interior design team incorporated a variety of configurable and personalized driver-centric, race car-like gauges, too. The gauges are similar to those found in the new entry level IS sedan. Also Lexus replaces the brand’s signature mouse-like pad, which controls the infotainment system, with an iPad-like remote touch pad control system. Overall, the interior design team has outfitted this coupe with the highest quality of materials. The workmanship and craftsmanship is what one would expect in a Lexus.
Furthermore, the RC can be accessorized with a number of safety driving aids, too, as noted in our ‘Optional Features’ section.
In addition to the sound system, we were shocked to learn that a sunroof is not a standard feature on the RC. Ironically, every IS, which is the brand’s entry level sedan, is built with a power sunroof. Shouldn’t this be the case with the RC too?
Added to that, a car graced with such beautiful curves, should be available with a manual transmission just like the Infiniti Q60 coupe and the BMW 4 Series coupe. The paddle shifter attached to the steering wheel doesn’t adequately allow the vehicle to be a true luxury sport performance-oriented vehicle.
Furthermore, like some of its competitors, it’s a tight fit to squeeze occupants in the rear. Lastly, with the exception of Infiniti, fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines have made their way into the segment. Lexus should possibly consider following the pack. This would allow the luxury brand to offer a more fuel-efficient powertrain option for those seeking style and not necessarily all of the power.
Verdict: Lexus has finally gotten its sexy back, offering a stylish, sporty and competitively priced coupe that will appeal to both males and females alike. Unlike a number of its competitors, the brand’s new entry-level coupe manages to find the perfect balance between the ride and the handling capabilities without being too firm or too mushy. In fact, this is one vehicle that is not only great for cruising around town, but for the open roads too, especially when throwing in some twists and turns.
And while Lexus has made great strides in making a vehicle that is more engaging and performance-oriented, the RC 350 is seen as a luxury cruiser, lacking the stiff performance feel one finds in a BMW, even with the F-Sport package on our test vehicle. However, that was quite okay with us.
Moreover, because of the comfortable (and supportive) power operated front seats, this is one vehicle that we can spend hours behind the wheel, without feeling fatigue. With that said, we can’t wait until a RC convertible makes its way into the line up!
Competition: Audi A5, BMW 4-Series Coupe, Infiniti Q60 Coupe and Mercedes-Benz C Class Coupe