The Lexus RC is much more than simply an IS with two doorways lopped off. Ever because it was launched in 2014, the RC has blazed its personal visible path, leaving the IS’ lamentable appears to be like behind, however holding onto its plush driving manners, respectable inside high quality and luxury.
What the RC provides to the bundle is healthier tech — a few of which you’ll be able to’t even get within the IS. And for 2019, the RC will get a big exterior design replace, placing much more distance between itself and its oddly-styled sedan sibling.
Not that sporty
It is daybreak on Angeles Crest Freeway, the brand new day’s mild shining on the seemingly infinite ribbons of asphalt that beckon me deeper into the San Gabriel Mountains. These legendary roads make my proper foot develop heavier, however as quickly as I hit a brisk tempo, the Lexus’ suspension says, “Nah, man. We need not go any quicker.”
My RC 350 F Sport tester comes with a model-specific, adaptive, sport-tuned suspension, however on the Crest, it would not really feel as much as the duty of tackling turns. The suspension is nice at retaining harsh jolts out of the cabin, however as soon as I start to dial up the tempo, the RC’s chops begin to soften. Even within the sharpest “Sport S+” mode, the RC appears to prioritize experience consolation over agility. The automotive will take in a mid-corner affect, however then the rear suspension bounces, upsetting the automotive’s steadiness as you are regularly making use of throttle out of a flip.
My tester can be geared up with the $1,900 variable-ratio rack and rear-wheel steering. In idea, it is spectacular expertise that is supposed to assist low-speed maneuverability and high-speed agility, however in apply, would not appear to make the RC really feel particular. Fortunately, there is a respectable stage of street really feel that flows by means of the variable entrance steering rack, however you’d get that very same diploma of suggestions with the usual setup, too.
Slowing again towards a Sunday-drive tempo, the RC 350 F Sport feels relaxed as soon as once more. The place it lacks enthusiasm for athleticism, it makes up for it with its general plush demeanor. Within the occasion that you could return to a hurried tempo, although, the eight-speed automated transmission will get in your approach.
The RC 350’s Three.5-liter V6 engine posts respectable energy figures, however its eight-speed automated transmission would not take advantage of them.
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If you put your foot right down to extract the 311 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque from the RC 350’s Three.5-liter V6 engine, the transmission by no means appears to know what gear will put you within the coronary heart of the powerband. Maybe the reluctance to downshift is a product of Lexus engineers inserting precedence on effectivity, however the RC 350 wasn’t that fuel-thrifty throughout my check week. After 443 miles of blended driving, I averaged simply 21.9 miles per gallon, which is low for a automotive that is EPA-rated for 20/28 metropolis/freeway mpg.
Choosing the turbocharged, four-cylinder-powered RC 300 will fail to internet you way more effectivity with simply 21/30 metropolis/freeway mpg. Additionally, if the V6 is sluggish, the four-cylinder’s 241 horsepower and 258 pound toes of torque make the RC unquestionably sluggish — its 7.Three-second Zero-60 time is 1.5 seconds slower than the RC 350. The RC 300 nearly redeems itself with its cheap $41,145 (plus $1,025 for vacation spot) beginning value, which is $2,930 lower than the V6 350, however do no matter you’ll be able to to get the V6, even for those who should resort to foraging your folks’ sofa cushions for quarters.
Fetching outdoors, comfortable inside
The RC matches is comely exterior with a comfy, enveloping inside that is trimmed in typically high-quality supplies. There’s loads of room for entrance occupants to stretch out, although back-seat passengers will should be average-sized or smaller to stay comfy throughout prolonged drives.
The non-compulsory 835-watt Mark Levinson premium audio system is an efficient road-trip companion. With 17 audio system and seven.1 channels of surround-sound encoding, you’ll be able to fill your RC with the lion’s share of fine tunes. That stated, this method may stand to really feel a little bit extra full-bodied with the best way it reproduces low frequencies. In its present kind, the subwoofer can typically muddy issues up, however general, this is likely one of the higher stereos in the marketplace right this moment.
The RC’s inside is comfy and spacious sufficient for the entrance occupants, however taller rear passengers will discover the again seat cramped.
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After which there’s the Lexus Distant Contact infotainment interface. Its trackpad-based controller just isn’t as terrible because the mouse-based controller within the IS, however the RC’s system requires you to divert your consideration from the street in an effort to make sure you’re choosing your meant level on the trackpad because it corresponds to the out there 10.Three-inch heart display screen. It is maddening, however at the least the RC presents commonplace Apple CarPlay, which helps ease the anger with entry to superior phone-based navigation. Nonetheless, there isn’t any escaping Distant Contact. It is simply as arduous utilizing it to navigate by means of Apple CarPlay as it’s to maneuver by means of the built-in Lexus Enform infotainment menus.
It might be a handful to manage the entire RC’s devices, however at the least the coupe comes with a wealth of them commonplace. The bottom RC contains a 7-inch show, Amazon Alexa integration, a 10-speaker stereo, HD and satellite tv for pc radio plus a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. That commonplace tech is complemented with a segment-beating suite of driver-assistance options which incorporates collision-mitigation braking, adaptive cruise management (though it solely works above about 30 miles per hour), lane-keep help and automated high-beams.
How I might spec it
As geared up, my tester is priced at $59,685 together with vacation spot, however you should not be paying that a lot for an RC 350. First, it can save you $1,900 by ignoring the steering bundle. Subsequent, you’ll be able to overlook the $390 limited-slip differential. These go-fast goodies are actually simply gimmicks on the RC, which is a lot better at cruising and turning heads than setting them on hearth.
Most significantly, save $6,715 by turning the opposite cheek to the F Sport trim stage, which along with the aforementioned dynamic tweaks (I will not name them “enhancements”), provides distinctive 19-inch wheels wrapped in summer time rubber, heated and auto-dimming outdoors mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, an influence tilt and telescoping steering column, particular gauges, aluminum pedals, heated and ventilated entrance seats, embedded navigation on a 10.Three-inch show and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
That is numerous good things, however you’ll be able to choose many of those options à la carte. My excellent RC 350, for instance, is available in at $53,420, together with full LED headlights, the heated steering wheel, a sunroof and the Mark Levinson sound system.
Base costs for the RC vary from $41,145 to $50,790 plus $1,025 for vacation spot.
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There are two faculties of thought amongst customers within the luxurious coupe section. The hair-on-fire lot will fortunately fork over large sums of money for BMW M4s and Mercedes-AMG C63s — even Lexus’ personal RC F. On the opposite facet of campus, you have acquired the parents who’re extra laid-back in relation to efficiency, however nonetheless crave two-door panache. The RC 350 is the automotive for these individuals.
Along with a profusion of attention-grabbing aptitude, the RC 350 backs up its “discover me” disposition with a bevy of ordinary security tech and noteworthy experience consolation. In case you have a look at it as a sports activities automotive, you are lacking the purpose. It is merely a coupe that is simple to take pleasure in, and that is simply superb.
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