2022 Lexus RC

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2022
The Car Connection
2022
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor
January 13, 2022

Buying tip

Skip the base RC 300 for the more responsive—and refined RC 350.

features & specs

RC 300 AWD
RC 300 F SPORT AWD
RC 300 F SPORT RWD
MPG
19 city / 26 hwy
MPG
19 city / 26 hwy
MPG
21 city / 31 hwy
MSRP
$45,160
MSRP
$49,115
MSRP
$46,940

The 2022 Lexus RC has big V-8 ambitions of lap times, but the turbo-4s are better at cruising.

What kind of vehicle is the 2022 Lexus RC? What does it compare to?

The Lexus RC is a two-door coupe that scales the heights of performance, from turbo-4 to strapping V-8. Shop it against the Audi A5, BMW 4-Series, and Ford Mustang. 

Is the 2022 Lexus RC a good car/SUV?

Review continues below

The Lexus RC does a good job doing sporty coupe things, though a complicated lineup and so-so cargo utility—even for a two-door—dent it to a 6.0 out of 10 on the TCC scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2022 Lexus RC?

Changes for 2022 are limited to new wheel designs and another small run for the range-topping—and rather outrageous—RC F Fuij Speedway Edition.

Every RC F wears sporty coupe styling that pairs complex lines outside with an impressive, cohesive interior. F Sport versions up the racy-looking ante outside with unique bumpers, and they come in different upholstery hues inside. The RC F has suitably sportier looks, but the Fuji Speedway Edition with its huge rear wing and carbon fiber hood is over the top.

The RC lineup boasts a wide array of engine choices that can alter this car’s behavior. Base RC 300s come with a turbo-4 that’s light on power and refinement. A low-output version of a 3.5-liter V-6 powers all-wheel-drive RC 300s, but we’d still spend up for the RC 350 with its 311-hp version of the V-6. Rear-drive cars use an 8-speed automatic transmission, while all-wheel drive means a 6-speed automatic. 

The RC F swaps in a 472-hp 5.0-liter V-8 that offers up excellent performance and an even better soundtrack. 

Fuel economy is OK in RC 300 grade, but every other version can get quite thirsty. 

Handling-wise, every RC has a balanced feel that mostly belies a curb weight that easily surpasses 4,000 lb. F Sports have adaptive dampers that take the edge off, and we’d also spend up for the optional limited-slip rear differential where available. The carbon fiber package that slices some weight from RC Fs is a major cost, though.

Lexus fits the RC with an especially good array of crash-avoidance and driver-assistance features. The infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but its touchpad interface is a constant annoyance. At least other controls are arranged nicely. 

How much does the 2022 Lexus RC cost?

The 2022 Lexus RC lineup starts a little under $44,000 for a base RC 300. 

We’d spend up for the RC 350 for its more powerful engine. Stick with rear-wheel drive, add the F Sport package, a limited-slip differential, and a few other niceties and you’ll be on the hook for a still-reasonable $53,000. 

Where is the 2022 Lexus RC made?

In Japan.

7

2022 Lexus RC

Styling

Busy, busy, busy: The Lexus RC has a lot going on when it comes to styling.

Is the Lexus RC a good-looking car?

It’s not a subtle coupe—especially in Fuji Speedway trim—but the Lexus RC has interesting enough lines that have aged well. We rate it at 7 out of 10, particularly for its attractive interior. 

The RC wears Lexus’ standard vacuum cleaner-grade front end, but its coupe profile is more conventional. Its lines are both taut and flamboyant, depending on where you look. In F Sport guise, zippier-looking bumpers and blacked-out trim give the car an almost sinister look that works well to our eyes. 

Inside, the RC has a low dash with plenty of buttons and knobs that seem usefully arranged. The dash looks like a homologated race car, albeit a refined one. Lots of interior color and trim options help spruce things up, too.

Review continues below
7

2022 Lexus RC

Performance

The RC350 strikes the best balance between the Lexus name and performance aspirations.

Is the Lexus RC 4WD?

Both RC 300 and RC 350 models can be had with all-wheel drive, which adds quite a bit of heft to an already plump coupe. 

How fast is the Lexus RC?

That depends on the model. This is one complicated lineup, especially for a low-volume sports car.

Base RC 300 coupes with rear-wheel drive use a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that spins out a modest 241 hp, good for a somewhat lazy 7.3-second 0-60 mph sprint. The 8-speed automatic is geared to provide quick upshifts and delayed downshifts in the name of fuel savings, which makes this engine feel more lethargic than it ought to be—though a 3,800-lb curb weight doesn’t work in the RC’s favor.

Switching to all-wheel drive means an upgrade—of sorts—to a 260-hp 3.5-liter V-6 linked to a 6-speed automatic. The V-6 is noticeably quicker, but the 6-speed automatic can stumble more with gear changes. 

We like the RC 350’s engine more, a 311-hp version of the 3.5-liter V-6 regardless of drive wheels. An 8-speed automatic again does duty with rear-drive versions, while all-wheel drive means a 6-speed automatic. Again, the 8-speed handles this V-6 better, helping it zip to 60 mph in under six seconds. 

F Sport versions come with adaptive dampers, which take the edge off of a somewhat firm ride. Special Sport and Sport+ modes for the drivetrain tighten things up, including steering response and suspension firmness. An option package with rear-wheel steering and variable steering response costs a hefty $1,900 but can make this coupe feel more nimble. We’re not totally sold on its steering feel, though, so try before you buy. 

While not quite as chuckable as a BMW 4-Series coupe, the RC has a planted, grand-touring-type feel and it makes a great interstate mile-eater.

The RC F delivers 472 hp from its roaring 5.0-liter V-8, which sends power rearward via an 8-speed automatic. While not BMW M4 Competition-grade quick, the RC F is priced reasonably and scoots to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds with one of the best underhood wails you’ll find from any car. 

A standard limited-slip rear differential helps tame that power for faster, more responsive cornering. 

This year’s RC F Fuji Speedway edition looks like a GT3 racecar (and is priced almost as high). Its Brembo carbon ceramic brakes are likely best appreciated on a track, though we like the idea of its titanium exhaust. Lexus says it hits 60 mph nearly 0.3 second faster than the standard RC F, too. 

Overall, we give this range a 7 out of 10 on the TCC scale due to its good handling and available powertrains. RC Fs would probably rate a point higher if evaluated individually, but we base our scores on the top-selling versions. 

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6

2022 Lexus RC

Comfort & Quality

By coupe standards, the 2022 Lexus RC is a spacious, comfortable choice.

Coupes tend not to score highly on the TCC scale, though comfortable front seats and a high-zoot interior elevate this coupe even if its small rear seat dents its overall score to a 6. 

Synthetic leather is standard on almost every version of the 2022 Lexus RC, but it does a good job imitating (and maybe even bettering) the real stuff. Power-adjustable front seats can be heated and cooled, and they offer a wide range of support. 

The rear seats are best for kids or storage, and access is typical coupe-style tight.

The 10.4-cubic-foot trunk is predictably small, though the rear seats fold to accommodate carrying larger items.

Interior materials are generally excellent, and fit and finish has been top notch on models tested so far.

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2022 Lexus RC

Safety

The 2022 Lexus RC comes well-equipped with crash-avoidance tech.

How safe is the Lexus RC?

The Lexus RC sells so few cars, the NHTSA hasn’t tested it, but the IIHS gave it top marks in all tests completed so far. 

We’ll have to wait for the NHTSA to evaluate the RC and for the IIHS to wrap up its testing, but signs point favorably so far.

Also likely to bolster the RC’s score are its standard automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, and adaptive cruise control. Outward vision, though? It’s not great.

Review continues below
6

2022 Lexus RC

Features

The 2022 Lexus RC wants for little when it comes to amenities, but its infotainment is behind the times.

Lexus outfits the RC like a proper luxury coupe when it comes to spec sheet luxuries, but this car’s infotainment system is a downer. The points we give the RC for standard fare and a 4-year/50,000-mile warranty (with a year of maintenance costs covered) are erased by that interface. 

The RC is a 6 on the TCC scale. 

Which Lexus RC should I buy?

The Lexus RC 300 starts at around $44,000, while all-wheel drive brings a V-6 engine and seat heaters for about $2,500 more. 

Standard fare includes synthetic leather hides, a 7.0-inch display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a touchpad interface that frustrates at nearly every opportunity. 

For about $4,500, the F Sport tosses in unique styling plus adaptive dampers. The package suits this car well.

The RC 350 is outfitted more or less like the 300, except with more power and a $46,500-or-so base price (plus $2,200 for all-wheel drive). 

Additional options worth considering on the RC include packages containing navigation, a Mark Levinson audio system, cooled front seats, upgraded LED lighting, and moonroof. 

How much is a fully loaded Lexus RC?

The RC F starts at around $68,000, though the Fuji Speedway Edition with its uprated brakes, carbon fiber trim, and other go-fast bits runs about $102,000. You probably missed the boat on one of those, though, since Lexus planned to build just 50. 

As for the RC F, packages can dress the interior and exterior in carbon fiber similar to that on the Fuji Speedway Edition to boost the “base” RC F to more than $90,000 if you’re not careful. 

Review continues below
4

2022 Lexus RC

Fuel Economy

The 2022 Lexus RC is quick—both in terms of acceleration and fuel consumption.

Is the Lexus RC good on gas?

The base Lexus RC 300 offers acceptable horsepower, but it’s all downhill from there. We base our 4 out 10 score on the RC 300, which checks in at 21 mpg city, 31 highway, 25 combined. 

All-wheel drive means a V-6 engine, which slides that version of the RC to just 19/26/22 mpg. 

The more powerful—but rear-drive—RC 350 is better at 20/28/23 mpg. 

Meanwhile, the RC F is unlikely to hit even 20 mpg.

Review continues below
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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$42,470
MSRP based on RC 300 RWD
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6.0
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 6
Safety N/A
Features 6
Fuel Economy 4
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