New & Used Lexus RC: In Depth
2015 Lexus RC FEnlarge Photo
The Lexus RC Coupe is a new spin-off of the Lexus IS range--sort of. A brand-new model for the 2015 model year, the RC will come in a few different varieties: an RC350 rear-drive coupe, a version with all-wheel drive, and the sporting Lexus RC F, powered by a brawny V-8 engine.
With the new RC, Lexus finally has a direct rival for cars like the Audi A5, BMW 4-Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe, as well as the new Cadillac ATS Coupe.
MORE: Read our 2015 Lexus RC reviewThe 2015 RC Coupe effectively replaces the IS C hardtop convertible, which runs out a final model year in 2015.
Lexus offers two RC models: the V-6-powered RC 350 has a 314-horsepower 3.5-liter engine, while the RC F receives a 467-horse V-8. Both use an eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters, and there is no manual-transmission available. A first for a mass-market Lexus coupe, the RC 350 offers all-wheel drive, while the rest of the lineup is rear-drive.
At about 185 inches long, the RC is just slightly longer than the IS Sedan models and, like the IS, shares a platform with the somewhat larger GS sport sedan, though the midsection is derived from the outgoing IS C and the rear end, from the new-for-2014 IS sedan. A wheelbase that's several inches shorter gives the proportions a different look than either sedan; it has a more swept-back look, with some fairly ostentatious accents, not just for Lexus, for any brand playing in the segment.
The spindle grille in front is still one of the more abrasive parts of the appearance; behind there it's all grace, with nice, flowing sheetmetal from the fenders, a smooth roofline, and a surprisingly well sculpted rear deck that escapes anonymity. Sporty 18- and 19-inch alloys fill out the fenders nicely and set a good stance. Inside, the multi-tier cockpit look given to the latest IS and GS looks fresh here, too, with excellent materials, including real wood and leather.
The base RC 350 has ample acceleration and a supple ride, but is dialed down from the stiffness baked into a garden-variety BMW 4-Series. The RC F? It's a beast of a two-door, with an airy V-8 snarl and 0-60 mph times of 4.4 seconds, as well as a top speed of 170 mph. It's a version that's come much closer in this edition to the BMW standard of high performance and high-speed handling stability--but it's also a hefty car, with nearly 4,000 pounds pressing its wheels to the ground.
Both the RC 350 and RC F are two-door, four-seat cars. The rear seats can fit full-size adults in a pinch, but you'll want to avoid long-distance cruising with four onboard. Like in the latest IS sedan, the interior boasts upgraded materials that avoid the dark and dreary look of predecessors, with Lexus recently adding leather outside the black and beige spectrum. The front seats are also very supportive.
Lexus says that the RC is its first car to get a new blind-spot monitor system that detects vehicle approaching from behind at higher speeds. The RC also gets the latest version of the Lexus Remote Touch system, blending navigation and other services with a touchpad controller mounted on the console.