2015 Lexus RC 350 F Sport
List - $42,790
As Tested - $54,815
Ever since Lexus released the RC line up, it’s really set the future path for what they have planned for the luxury performance market. Earlier I had the opportunity to spend some time with the RC’s bigger brother, the RCF…a machine that is unbelievable. I had great time with it and only wish I would have had it when it was warm and not when it was the beginning of winter. But I can say it got my wife and our soon to be born newborn to the hospital FAST!!!
This time around I had the pleasure to drive the RC 350 F Sport. With the RCF starting at $62k pushing out 467hp in a 5.0 L V8, the RC 350 F Sport is more on the affordable level and geared towards someone not looking to have that much power. A starting price of $42k and a 3.5L V6 pushing out 306hp is more realistic for today’s roads.
Having already spent some time with the RC line up, I knew what I was in for a treat. The RC is such a cool and sporty looking car that certainly will turn heads wherever you drive. It is ever so slightly different from the RCF that you’ll really have to know the differences between the two to even notice. As with the rest of the Lexus line-up, from the IS all the way to the SUV’s, the big front grill was the real focus point upon first look. I received the F-Sport model, so the grill was complemented by bigger wheels and interior accent pieces.
On the exterior, the RC 350 has quite a bit of subtle aerodynamic changes from the RCF. First the front is different with smaller intake holes and fog lights. The hood has intake holes, the fenders are smoother and don’t have the side ventilations, the lower side skirts are slightly different and the rear bumper is completely different. The RC 350 has small fish scales on lower corners of the rear bumper that is a black plastic. The exhaust is still dual exhaust but with single outlet. In contrast, the RCF has a smooth back bumper and the traditional quad tip exhaust. The roof is traditional on the RC, without the carbon fiber roof option on the RCF. Lastly the RC 350 doesn’t have a retractable wing, whereas the RCF has a rear wing that will raise up after it exceeds a certainly mph. It may seem like a lot of changes but honestly you really have to know both vehicles in order to see any differences other than the badging. My wife didn’t notice a thing and she was in both cars multiple times.
The interior has a sporty feel with carbon fiber trim along the dash and door panels, while retaining a touch of the Lexus luxury. The seats are slightly different then the RCF, which has more of a bucket seat that hugs you while seated, but they are still very supportive and comfortable for long rides. The interior is specious and really accommodates tall people. I had plenty of room to stretch out and think it would be great for long trips. The dash controls are pretty easy to navigate through. The control mouse pad does have a learning curve to get used to, and it can get a little frustrating until you do. Other than that, everything flows well and there is great driving visibility. This is the top model so it has a kick ass Mark Levinson Premium sound system.
Having a 3.5L V6 is certainly fun to have while driving around the city. The 306hp is enjoyable and provides plenty of power to get up and go. Be careful! You can still get in trouble if you don’t pay attention to how fast you’re driving. It really grips the road with the tight f-sport suspension and upgraded 18’’ alloy wheels. At times driving it I looked down and was in the triple digits. You really can’t tell how fast you’re going, it’s that smooth. There are four drive settings you can play with - Eco, Normal, Super and Super+. Really they just adjust the rpms to how aggressively you are planning to drive. For mileage I was slightly off from the advertised mpg, averaging 16 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The pedal shift is a nice touch, but I found it more distracting than anything (as my wife would say, if you want to manually shift, get a stick shift!) With all of that horsepower, it has great acceleration. This model is a RWD but you have option to purchase the AWD model, which will increase the price by approximately $2,000. I highly recommend it if you live in the upper Midwest or areas that get more snow than summer. Why just restrict yourself to driving it in summer when you can have fun year around?
Overall this is an awesome vehicle to own. It’s fun to drive around town and definitely turns heads. It also has sufficient power to put a grin on your face but not break the bank. It has good amount of room for everyday use, and the trunk is even big enough to hold some luggage. Don’t get too ahead of yourself, it’s not huge, but still a good size. For all you dads out there that wondered if a car seat will fit…yes it does. It will fit most cars seats, but I have to note that if you have a rear facing seat, you might have a little problem getting the seat in the car. The front seats only fold down a certain amount and it’s all motorized, so you are limited in room. Long story short, if you have toddler seat, you are all set.
Lexus is really making a stand in the luxury performance market and the RC line is a great start. There is tough competition with other brands like with Audi, BMW, and Mercedes, but they also have been making luxury coupes for some time now. Lexus does have several other models as in the RC 300 and soon to be released RC 200t (early 2016), which will start at $39k. Stay tuned for update on the 200t.
I’d like to thank Lexus USA for the opportunity to review this vehicle.