Sunday, October 21, 2018

2018 Lexus RC350 RWD: One Of The Few Luxury Coupes Still Available On The Market

Highlight: The two-door coupe is available with a 4-cylinder, 6-cylinder or an 8-cylinder engine.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $56,655 (Base model $41,665)

Seating Capacity: 4 (2 small kids in the rear)

Standard Safety Features: ABS; Daytime Running Lights; a vehicle stability control system; traction control system; heated outside rearview mirrors; an automatic rearview mirror; a tire pressure monitoring system; a rear-view back up camera; a pre-collision braking system; a lane departure alert system, a radar-activated cruise control system and an automatic high beam headlight system

Standard Equipment (Base Model): 18-inch wheels; rear wheel drive; an electronic fuel injection system an 8-speed automatic transmission; a push button keyless ignition system; an automatic rearview mirror; a manually operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; dual chrome exhaust system; power front seats; and 60/40 split rear seats

Options On Test Vehicle: F Sport Package: F Sport front bumper and spindle grille, 19-inch wheels, a blind spot electronic mirror, heated/ventilated front seats, F Sport seats with driver memory, perforated leather steering wheel/shift knob, aluminum pedals, a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, silver perforated trim, an adaptive variable suspension system, and a variety of driving modes; premium triple beam LED headlamps; a navigation system; a Mar Levinson 17-speaker/835-watt audio system; orange brake calipers; a Torsen limited-slip rear differential; and a variable gear ratio steering

Other Trim Level:


Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 10-speaker AM/FM/CD/HD with a satellite radio

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 70,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder/241-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage:


What’s New: With the exception of a few changes, the gracefully aging RC is virtually a carryover for the 2018 model year. The 6-cylinder engine boasts an additional 5-horsepower, bringing the vehicle to 311.

Why: Lexus’ eye-catching coupe is available in a rear wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration. The luxury coupe is also powered by three powertrains: a 4-cylinder turbo, a 6-cylinder and an 8-cylinder engine.

The RC model we reviewed was powered by a slightly more powerful 311-horsepower, 6-cylinder engine. The sporty coupe was outfitted with a variety of driving modes: normal, sport and manual. And, with the optional more aggressive looking F-sport package added to our RC, we had the opportunity to select from the Sport S+ mode.

Our rear wheel drive, two door Lexus embodies everything one expects from the brand. The heavy body RC, with its sporty appeal, can be outfitted with such luxury amenities as leather seats, a high quality audio system and a rear back up camera. The vehicle even includes a touchpad system which duplicates controls for the infotainment system. All of this is wrapped into a package that has all of the right exterior curves and shapes that makes this vehicle a standout in terms of the overall design.

Moreover, the sporty coupe now falls in line with the Lexus line up making a lane departure warning system, a pre collision braking system, an automatic high beam light system and a radar-activated cruise control system standard equipment for the 2018 model year. By adding these features, this barely raised the vehicle price by $500, when compared to the 2017 model.

But: This is really a two seater with storage room in the rear seating area or in some cases room for small kids.

And, while we haven’t been behind the wheel of the 4-cylinder turbo, beside the brand attempting to meet CAFÉ regulations, we’re not sure if this aids the fun to drive factor buyers in this segment are seeking.

Lastly, it wouldn’t hurt if the engineers paired this vehicle with a manual transmission. Could you imagine how this would heighten the fun factor?

Verdict: In a market where consumers are passing up coupes and sedans to snap up crossovers, trucks and SUVs, the RC is one the brand’s diamonds in the rough. For buyers seeking a thrilling, driver-oriented vehicle, which offers performance, with its six and eight-cylinder powertrains, a head-turning design and the latest safety driving aids, the RC (and RC-F) are worthy contenders to consider. Also for buyers who can’t afford the more futuristic looking LC, which was the featured vehicle in the ultra-popular movie Black Panther, the RC is perfect downgrade, so to speak.

With all that said, buyers in the market for a coupe, should be able to get a steal on this vehicle.

Competition: BMW 3-Series Coupe and Infiniti Q60

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