The RC is the smallest coupe in the Lexus stable, and, in fact, is one of the smallest luxury cars on the market today. It’s definitely a head turner; I got lots of thumbs up and positive comments during my week-long test drive.
The four-passenger RC comes in four trims: 200t, 300, 350 and F. Starting prices range from $40,155 to $64,165. The 200t is only available with rear-wheel-drive; the 300 gets all-wheel-drive; the 350 is available with rear- or AWD. F is the high-performance model.
With its different power trains and availability of all-wheel-drive, there’s an RC for different kinds of buyers. Four engines are available. My tester, the 200t gets a 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged engine that makes 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque paired with an eight-speed automatic. The 300 gets a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 255 hp and 236 pound-feet. The 350 gets a 306 hp version of the V6. With rear-wheel drive, it’s got the eight-speed Sports Program Direct Shift transmission; with all-wheel drive, it’s a six-speed automatic. The F gets a 5.0-liter V8 that has a whopping 467 horses and 389 pound-feet of torque. All RC models offer the F Sport upgrade.
While the RC looks like a fast sports car, the performance doesn’t quite live up to that. Yes, it’s definitely sporty but doesn’t have the agility of its German rivals. Still it’s a fun ride. You may notice a slight turbo lag when you punch it from a stop, but then you’re off. There’s more than enough power for everyday driving; at the same time, it doesn’t feel overpowered when you’re running errands and driving to work. My tester has the optional F Sport package with its adaptive suspension and upgraded brake pads. Four driving modes, Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport+ let you tailor the performance to fit your mood.
For those who expect the cushy feel of most Lexus models, be warned that the RC has a very firm ride that can feel jarring over rough roads and bumps.
Fuel economy is less than many rivals. EPA mileage ratings for my tester are 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway with a combined rating of 26 mpg. I got 23 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The interior is attractive and upscale with quality materials. Front passengers enjoy decent leg- and headroom, but the backseat is cramped as you’d expect in a small coupe. While most humans won’t be comfortable back there for long, at least it gives you a place to put some grocery bags or gear for a weekend getaway.
The infotainment system gets a thumbs down from me. It’s operated with a touchpad located between the two front seats. It is not intuitive and I found it to be extremely distracting. Maybe you’d get used to it after driving the RC for longer than a week. Thankfully, you can use steering wheel-mounted controls and buttons on the console to control many functions.
My tester has the optional Mark Levinson premium audio system with 17-speakers—that’s a lot of sound for a small coupe!
The RC has one of the smallest trunks in the class at just 10.1 cubic feet. The 60/40 split-folding rear seats help accommodate items that won’t fit in the trunk. There aren’t many spots in the cabin to stash smaller items.
It’s a head turner!
Choice of different engines and AWD
Optional packages available on most trims
Seats not particularly supportive
Ride can feel too firm at times
Mouse-based infotainment system is distracting and takes getting used to
Tight backseat, even for a coupe
My tester starts at $40,155. LED fog lamps are $410. F Sport Package is $4,105 and adds F Sport front bumper and spindle grille, 19-inch, 10-spoke F Sport wheels with summer tires, Blind Spot Monitor, heated and ventilated front F Sport seats and driver memory seat, perforated leather steering wheel and shift knob, Aluminum pedals, power steering column, adaptive variable suspension and Sport S+ mode, and cool air intake with sound generator. Navigation system and 835-watt Mark Levinson premium audio system with 17 speakers, 7.1 premium surround sound DVD/CD player with GreenEdge and Clari-fi technology backup camera and remote touchpad controller are $2,550. Intuitive Parking Assist is $500. Premium paint is $595. Rear differential-limited slip differential is $390. Moonroof is $1,100. Trunk mat is $105. Delivery fee is $975 bringing the grand total to $50,885.
The RC is a stunner. While its performance isn’t as sporty as its looks would suggest, it’s still a fun and stylish ride and is available with a variety of powertrains to suit your taste. If you’re ok with a luxury coupe that’s best for two passengers and doesn’t have much trunk space, the RC is worth considering. But you may want to pass on the optional touchpad system.