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2015 Lexus RC 350 Fast. Agile. Daring. +VIDEO


2015 Lexus RC 350  (select to view enlarged photo)
2015 Lexus RC 350

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

On the first weekend in March my wife and I needed to be present at a family gathering that was taking place about 250 miles to the east of our Chicago digs. Neither of us had the time for an overnight stay, so a day-trip it was.


2015 Lexus RC 350  (select to view enlarged photo)

Consider that March weather in the Midwest can be wonderful, or not so. The later is more the case. I was scheduled to drive a new entry from Lexus that just came to market last fall. The 2015 Lexus RC 350 2-door coupe would either prove to be a joy to drive for the trip or, if ole man winter had his way, perhaps a chore. As it turned out, the stars aligned, the skies were clear and we had dry roads for our day trip. Wonderful!

Off we went in this Ultrasonic Blue Mica, 306HP 3.5-L V6 powered 2-door rocket. The coupe’s V6 is mated to an eight-speed automatic and it will get you from stop to 60mph in 5.8 seconds. It has paddle shifters to play with on toll booth exitss. Top speed is 143mph. We didn’t confirm that! My tester was rear drive, but all-wheel-drive is offered and that’s mated to a six-speed automatic.

Making the drive more interesting was the F-Sport Package on this car that adds 235/40R19 front tires and 265/35R19 rear tires. And, these are performance summer tires, so now you know why I was a little concerned with the weather. Snow and summer tires DO NOT mix.

Lexus says they expect the RC to attract the next generation of luxury buyers and those new to the brand. Up to now most of the luxury coupes on the market have been German brands along with the recent addition of the Cadillac ATS coupe.


2015 Lexus RC 350  (select to view enlarged photo)

My RC350 tester had a base price of $42,790. Options added up quickly from there, taking it to $54,815.

The F-Sport Package at $3,985 gives you, along with the wheels and tires, very nice and not-too-snug for me sport seats, a power adjust steering column, aluminum pedals, and adaptive variable suspension, plus some other items. A navigation package added another $2,610. This also includes a Mark Levinson 17-speaker audio system, rear back-up camera, and a touch pad controller. The moonroof cost $1,100. Variable Gear Ratio Steering is $1,900.

I mentioned the availability of all-wheel-drive that Lexus calls All-Weather-Drive. Lexus clearly intends for this to be a popular choice in wintery-weather regions of the country. The RC350 AWD model is priced at $45,025. An optional all-weather package is only offered on this model. If you choose an F-Sport AWD RC 350 you get all-season tires and also a heated steering wheel.


2015 Lexus RC 350  (select to view enlarged photo)

We found the RC 350 to be a great road trip car. The four-seater is really suited for just two…you could fit some young ones in the rear seat if needed. The trunk is not very large at 10.4cuft, but it’s plenty for two short-trip suitcases. Plus, you have the rear seat to hold smaller items, and it does fold if needed.

On the outside the exterior turns heads. Lexus’ large spindle grille dominates the front and the F-sport’s version is unique along with the front fascia. From the rear there’s lots of “go-fast” design elements from the dual exhaust and flared fender vents.


2015 Lexus RC 350  (select to view enlarged photo)

I’m fan of seats that hold you in place and support the lower legs and the RC F-Sport seats did just that. Ingress and egress is easy, in spite of the low overall vehicle height. The ride is a bit firm, especially due to the tires in cold temperatures. Did I mention that summer tires get very hard below 40-degrees. Around town on the chewed up city streets, I might say the ride is harsh and a bit bouncy. My choice if I were buying an RC coupe would be the V6-powered RC 350 F-sport with AWD.


2015 Lexus RC 350  (select to view enlarged photo)

We got about 23mpg overall on our round-trip day drive. EPA test fuel economy ratings are 22mpg combined, with 19 city mpg and 28 highway mpg. I had no complaints on the fuel consumption, as we had open roads and clear sailing most of the way. Oh, and the car is pretty quite on the inside while cruising.

If you have a need for more speed, Lexus does have an RC F for you. You might recall that Lexus launched the F brand back in 2007 with the V8-powered, 416HP IS F sedan. The “F” stands for Fuji Speedway, where Lexus conducts much of its high-speed development. Following the IS F was the Lexus LFA carbon-fiber 552HP V10-powered supercar. Both of these are no longer in production.            

Developed alongside the new RC sports coupe, the RC F is the most powerful Lexus V8 performance car ever. RC F features a new 467-horsepower version of the F-tuned 5.0-liter, DOHC 32-valve V8, backed up by a close-ratio eight-speed Sports Program Direct Shift transmission and available Torque Vectoring Differential.

Priced at $62,400, the RC F will go from stop to 60mph in 4.4 seconds. It’ll top out at 170 mph and cover the standing start quarter mile in 12.5 seconds. Of course fuel economy takes a hit, with lower EPA test ratings than the V6 RC. But, is this a concern? Perhaps not.

There’s lots more detailed information and specs on the 2015 Lexus RC 350 and RC F models only a mouse click away at www.lexus.com. If you want to compare these Lexus RC models to other luxury coupes you can do that right here on TheAutoChannel.com.

If you are shopping for personal coupe, no matter in what generation you fit, I would give the Lexus RC coupe a good look. From what I can tell while cruising U.S. highways, the RC coupe is also an autobahn burner.