While todays car buyers are favoring crossovers and SUVs, especially here in the Snowbelt, there’s still a market for coupes. And there’s only a handful of automakers that offer a model.
But true to its brand, Lexus’s RC 350 goes beyond the usual manner of coupes by offering it in all-wheel drive. A much needed feature for winter driving conditions.
Like other Lexus vehicles, the RC 350 has sculpted, chiseled styling lines that set it apart from the competition. And the RC 350 in F Sport trim has added sporty features that includes handling and extra zip. It actually looks like it’s going 65 mph standing still.
The F Sport tested sported a 3.5L, V6 with 311-hp and 280 lb/ft of torque. Coupled to a 6-speed automatic transmission (an 8-speed comes with the RWD model), the combination garnered EPA mileage estimates of 18 city, 24-highway mpg with start/stop engine technology. So powered, acceleration was exhilarating with a push-you-back-in-the-seat shove, especially when switching to Sport Plus mode and using the paddle shifters. The exhaust tone also changes a bit with a sweet rumble and pop’s emanating from the dual Ovid tailpipes. There’s certainly no want for power as it was independently 0-60 tested at 6.2 seconds. Not bad for a 3,800 pound coupe. If craving more performance, there’s the RC-F model with 5.0L, V8 generating 467-hp and 389 lb/ft of torque.
For normal driving, there’s Normal, Eco, Sport, Snow and Custom modes, the latter allows tailoring performance/handling to your driving habits.
Slip into the RC’s cockpit and it resembles that in a LearJet with a vertical stack flush with operating controls, trans shifter and HVAC controls. A 10.3-inch display takes its commands from a console mounted touchpad that we found very sensitive and not wise to use while driving as it requires eyes-off the road for selections. This is also tied in to Lexus’ infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay, Yelp, Pandora, Wi-Fi and Amazon Alexa integration among a few other apps, plus rearview camera and Lexus Enform connect. The system does lock out certain functions while the car is moving.
HVAC controls, however, are easy to use with the flush buttons on the stack and a touch slider for heat/cool control.
A single, large instrument gauge combines a digital speedometer within an analog tachometer that also displays the transmissions’ gear. A driver’s information display is flanked to the right of the gauge.
Heated, cooled, perforated leather front seats are Recaro type and very supportive. They’re a tad on the firm (sporty) side. Wearing a belt mounted cell phone, the outer seat side ripped mine off upon entering the vehicle for the first time. Lesson learned, turn the phones’ cradle sideways.
Ingress/egress into the back seats is a squeeze for any adult. They’re mainly for youngsters as leg and headroom is tight. Nonexistent if the fronts are racked well rearward. Then maybe only the family pooch can perch back there.
The trunk area is rated at 10.4 cubic feet and measures 41 inches deep, 41.5 wide and 18.5 high. Flipping the seatbacks increases capacity but you must crawl into the back seats to pull a release to flip them. Much lesser cars have pull handles in the trunk area for releasing the rear seats. Lexus needs to correct this.
Handling wise, the RC 350 provides a profound eagerness to please. It possesses a nice touch of sportiness with sharp turns taken at speed resulting in nary any body lean. Steering gives good road feel feedback and the car parks easily.
The ride on Bridgestone 19-inch tires is smooth and quiet as is expected from a Lexus vehicle. On pocked-mark roads, RC’s adaptive variable suspension nicely absorbs the bumpys and works to smooth bad road surfaces.
With Lexus’ Safety System, it includes all the latest safety features to make motoring safer. Included as standard are pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, brake assist with smart stop technology, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert, and more.
The options list is short as most every desired feature is included Extra’s though included: All Weather Package ($220) that adds headlamp washers, windshield wiper deicers, water repellent front door glass; triple beam LED headligths ($1,160); Navigation system with Enform infotainment, 10.3-inch display, and premium Mark Levinson audio ($1,080; power moonroof ($1,100); and F Sport heated steering wheel ($150), all of which took the base price of $52,400 to $57,135 with delivery ($1,025). The RWD version carries a base price of $44,075.
RC 350 comes with a 4 year/50K mile basic warranty, 5/70K powertrain and 5 year/unlimited corrosion perforation coverage.
For the spirited, young, young at heart driving enthusiast, the RC 350 with AWD is an all-weather coupe for everyday driving needs.