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2015 Lexus RC

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2015 Lexus RC Review

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The 2015 Lexus RC is an all-new coupe from the luxury Japanese automaker and the first mass-produced, fixed-roof 2-door model from the brand in over 15 years. The Lexus RC traces it lineage to the SC 400 and SC 300 of the 1990s, but unlike those coupes the new RC emphasizes performance over grand touring. As such, the RC fills a gap in Lexus' lineup and is a tantalizing new entrée for younger, well-heeled buyers seeking a 4-passenger premium sports coupe. Available in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (RWD, AWD), the RC 350 bursts forth with sights set on the BMW 4 Series, Audi A5 and Cadillac ATS Coupe, while the V8-powered monster that is the RC F is gunning for the BMW M4 and Audi RS 5.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you've been pining for a luxury sports coupe with aggressive design and the upscale amenities and enviable history of reliability that come with every Lexus, the RC might just be the mid-$40,000 coupe you've been awaiting. Want all that in a $63,000 track toy? RC F are the letters for you.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Even with a standard, 306-horsepower V6 engine, the RC 350 isn't as quick to 60 mph (or as fuel efficient) as a BMW 428i with its turbocharged 4-cylinder. Some shoppers could be turned off by the RC's design, while others may wonder if it's just a souped-up Scion FR-S (it's not).

What's New for 2015

The Lexus RC is an all-new sports coupe. Similar in size to the IS compact-luxury sedan, the RC is actually built on its own platform. And unlike the past Lexus SC 430 and Lexus IS C, the RC has a fixed roof, not a retractable hardtop.

Driving the RC
Driving Impressions

Lexus' new coupe comes in two main forms: the RC 350 and the RC F. The RC 350 is intended to be the mainstream model and the most popular seller,...

... while the RC F is a more exclusive, track-ready high-performance machine. The RC 350 offers a satisfying and sporty ride. Its ride isn't as pillow-soft as a Lexus ES, nor is it intended to be. The RC's suspension is tuned to hug corners, which makes it stiff on rough roads. Highway cruising, however, is refined. The RC 350's 306-horsepower V6 offers plenty of gusto and transmits a surprisingly satisfying exhaust note. RWD models enjoy a smooth 8-speed transmission, while AWD variants use an older and slightly rougher 6-speed auto (the Lexus RC does not offer a manual transmission). The 467-horsepower RC F has two personalities. On the road it's as refined as the RC 350. On the track, it's an absolute howl.

G-SENSOR AI-SHIFT CONTROL
Reads like alphabet soup, works like magic. The 2015 RC coupe uses a G-force sensor to judge which gear is optimal when driven in the more aggressive Sport mode. This works well on a curvy road and shines on a track, where it makes novices feel anything but.

MARK LEVINSON AUDIO WITH CLARI-FI TECHNOLOGY
How do you make today's low-res music worthy of a 17-speaker audiophile setup? The optional Mark Levinson system in the Lexus RC uses Clari-Fi technology to analyze a digital audio signal and correct and amplify as needed. It's among the first use of Clari-Fi in a car, adding to the RC's appeal.

2015 Lexus RC Details
2015 Lexus RC photo Interior

We'd call the 2015 Lexus RC comfortably snug. Though it technically seats four passengers, the rear is very tight for adults, and the coupe's sloping roof is attractive on the outside but skull-scraping within. The situation is much improved up front where it counts. The seats are comfortable in all trims and feature extra bolstering in RC 350 F Sport and RC F models. With the 7-inch display, rounded dashboard and angled audio/climate control interface, the dash is a busy place. In AWD models, there’s a hump near the driver's right calf from the differential housing. Make sure this doesn't impede your driving position.

Exterior
2015 Lexus RC photo

As with the interior, the Lexus RC's outward design is potentially polarizing. Some people may not even realize this is a Lexus. Known more for its conservative sedans, the automaker has deliberately gone for sex appeal with the RC. We believe it has worked with this coupe's prominent curves and muscular bulges. Every angle of the RC has interesting details. There's Lexus' signature spindle grille up front (RC F models get the extra-extra-large version, along with a raised hood to accommodate its V8), a smattering of fins on the sides, and twin tailpipes in back (the RC F boasts quad outlets).

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

A 2015 Lexus RC 350 coupe offers quite a bit even in base trim. Included are automatic climate control, HomeLink garage-door opener, Siri Eyes Free iPhone integration, self-dimming rearview mirror and 7-inch display screen. Audio entertainment is provided by a 10-speaker, 256-watt AM/FM/CD system with HD Radio (with complimentary traffic and weather data), dual USB inputs and Bluetooth streaming. F Sport models add variable suspension and Sport+ driving mode, heated and ventilated front seats, sport-tuned suspension and power-adjust steering wheel. Standard seat material is NuLuxe faux leather. RC F models include Brembo brakes, sport front seats and forged BBS aluminum wheels.

Optional Equipment

Enhancements for Lexus' 2-door performance coupe include navigation system that bundles a rearview camera, the Lexus Enform App suite with services such as Yelp, Pandora and stock prices, and a mouse-like touch pad to control it all; heated/ventilated front seats; leather interior; heated steering wheel; and moonroof. The Mark Levinson premium audio system (see Favorite Features) sounds excellent and is an easy recommendation for music lovers. Advanced safety features include blind-spot monitoring and a pre-collision system that can automatically brake the car. RC F models can add to their prowess with a torque-vectoring rear differential and carbon-fiber roof and rear spoiler.

Under the Hood

The 2015 Lexus RC 350 and RC 350 F Sport coupes are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that makes an impressive 306 horsepower. That enables the RC 350 to sprint to 60 mph in 6 seconds or less. Power is transmitted through an 8-speed automatic transmission in RWD models and a 6-speed automatic transmission in AWD versions. The range-topping RC F boasts a 5.0-liter V8 that churns out 467 horsepower and enables Lexus' high-performance coupe to go 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds and hit a top speed of 170 mph. The RC F also uses a quick-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission. The Lexus RC models have the edge against their BMW foes in power but are not as fuel-efficient.

3.5-liter V6
306 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
277 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28 mpg (RWD), 19/26 mpg (AWD)

5.0-liter V8
467 horsepower @ 7,100 rpm
389 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800-5,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25 mpg

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