2015 Lexus RC

Starting MSRP: $42,790 - $62,400

Estimated MPG: 19 city / 28 hwy

2015 Lexus RC Review

The 2015 Lexus RC is a 2+2 sport coupe, sold in standard, F Sport and high-performance RC F editions. It is the first two-door model of its kind for the brand in more than a decade that is not a convertible. The RC brings a much needed edge to the Lexus line.

By Matt Keegan
Last Updated 05/03/2016

New for 2015, the Lexus RC 350 brings a wholly desirable performance coupe to the brand. It offers standard rear-wheel drive, available all-wheel drive and also includes a high performance RC F edition with a powerful V8 engine.

Exterior

Exterior
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Like other Lexus models, the RC 350 is dominated by a snarling maw counterbalanced by eye-shaped wraparound headlamp assemblies and LED daytime running lights that are similar in appearance to the logo for one very well-known sports brand named for the Greek goddess of victory (Nike).

The familiarity of its visage aside, there is another type of cognition at play here too and it has everything to do with its origins. Indeed, three other Lexus models contributed to the RC with the front structure taken from the GS sedan, its floor pan from the IS C and the rear architecture ported from the IS sedan. 

Rather than creating a design of Frankenstein proportions, Lexus delivers a coupe with sleek styling, strong accents, sweeping lines and a wide stance.

The Lexus RC 350 is a muscular coupe in every definition of the word, with strong angles, beautiful wheels and a unique rear quarter to amplify those points.

Interior

Interior
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Seating may be for four, but even Lexus admits that priority is given to the front seat occupants. Its 2+2 layout is snug and especially so for anyone in the back. Virtually nonexistent legroom and a sloping roofline effectively cancel rear seat usefulness.

Up front is a pair of generously bolstered sport seats with heating and cooling elements. Excellent support keeps you planted as you navigate the various twists and turns on your route. The seat material is NuLuxe, which passes for leather, but is derived from man-made materials. Leather seats are available as part of a Luxury Package.

The instrument panel is an unusual design, dominated by a digitized analog tachometer and surrounded by oil pressure, outside temperature, fuel gauge and odometer readings. Your speed appears in digitized form right in the middle of the panel.

In the F Sport model, the driver is treated to metal pedals, including a foot rest. The center console has a color display screen, an analog clock, and switches and buttons to operate the audio system and climate control. Between the front seats is the transmission shifter, a drive mode knob and a touchpad.

The touchpad is found between the transmission shifter and the armrest and to the left of the two cup holders. It works much in the same way as a mouse, enabling you to control the touch screen with just a flick or two of your fingers. This arrangement takes some getting used to at first, but soon you are operating the system with your attention focused on the road ahead.

Standard equipment includes aluminum door trim, Bluetooth connectivity, door courtesy lights, a 10-speaker audio system, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, a tilt and telescopic steering column, stainless steel scuff plates and power accessories. The F Sport adds a black headliner, a perforated heated leather steering wheel, a power tilt and telescopic steering column and F Sport badging. Factory options include a 17-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound audio system, navigation and a moonroof.

Performance

Performance
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The 2015 Lexus RC 350 is powered by a 306-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine. This engine is found in both the standard and F Sport models and comes paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission in the rear-wheel drive model. All-wheel drive models have a six-speed automatic. No manual transmission is available. The Lexus RC 350 is rated 19/28 mpg city/highway and takes premium grade gasoline.

Also available is the RC F, a high-performance model powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine. This rear-wheel drive model makes 467 horsepower and also comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It is rated 16/25 mpg city/highway and takes premium grade gasoline.

As tested, the Lexus RC 350 F Sport provides satisfactory power and compares favorably to the base BMW 435i in performance. Operate the transmission in manual mode, change the suspension to sport mode, take hold of the paddle shifters and you will enjoy the full benefit of hands-on driving.

While it may not be the fastest, the RC’s agility is quite good. Its low profile hugs curves effortlessly and with traction control turned off handling is deft. The F Sport, with its included adaptive variable suspension, stiffens the shocks at high speeds to mitigate body roll. The Lexus RC’s braking is average for the segment.

Technology

Technology
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Every RC 350 comes equipped with Lexus Enform, the brand’s connectivity platform for a host of services, including navigation. With a smartphone app, the system offers remote services, including engine start and stop, door lock and unlock, vehicle finder and vehicle status alerts. You can also view a guest driver monitor to check the driving behavior of anyone who uses your vehicle.

Lexus Enform provides numerous safety features, including roadside assistance, emergency assistance, stolen vehicle location and automatic collision notification. 

The app suite allows you to access the Internet, order movie tickets, read online reviews, make hotel reservations and connect with more than 1,700 local radio stations.

Safety

Safety
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In crashworthiness testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2015 Lexus RC received Top Safety Pick+ recognition, the institute’s highest award. The IIHS recognized the Lexus for its available pre-collision control system with dynamic radar cruise control, which automatically applies brake assist when a frontal collision is imminent.

Standard safety equipment includes a suite of eight air bags, traction and stability control and brake assist. 

Also available as part of the luxury and premium packages is a blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert. A backup camera with dynamic gridlines is included.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
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Lexus prices the RC from $42,790, which is in line with the base prices of other vehicles in this class. Add approximately $2,300 for all-wheel drive.

Choose the F Sport edition and that price starts at $47,875. Add approximately $1,800 for the all-wheel drive version. Package upgrades, including the moonroof ($1,100), variable gear-ratio steering ($1,900) and an upgraded audio system with navigation ($2,610) can bring your final price up to $55,000. The top-of-the-line RC F, marketed separately, retails for $62,400.
 

Overall

Overall
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With the RC, Lexus brings a much-needed performance coupe to the market. What it lacks in an available manual transmission, it makes up in build quality. The available RC F model brings raw performance to the line, satisfying enthusiasts who demand more.