After the SC400 was discontinued in 2000, Lexus, seemed to have given up on the concept of having a two door sports coupe in its lineup. After nearly a decade and a half, they finally realized other companies like Mercedes and BMW and were making money hand over fist in this segment. In 2013, Lexus finally responded as they released the Lexus RC 350. The RC 350 is the two door coupe Lexus had been needing.
As with all of the current Lexus models, the front consists of the, still controversial spindle grill, but as with the GS, it works. The faux vent looking plastic pieces on the back are a bit much, but add a nice dramatic flair to the rear end. In fact, they have even managed to spread to the new Camry SE and XSE. The Atomic Silver paint is also a personal favorite and works quite well on the RC. It’s ability to change from stereotypical Lexus beige, to a gorgeous, deep silver is just majestic. It is just the perfect amount of pop, but isn’t too flashy. The 19”, 10 spoke wheels add an aggressive factor that really help string it all together. The orange brake calipers look awesome but would be an easy option to skip; a day or two of driving turned them nearly black anyway.
On the inside, things are quite good, in typical Lexus fashion. High quality materials line almost every bit of the cabin. It takes a good amount of effort to find anything un-Lexus-like. The RC has the “trackpad” style infotainment system. Having tried the mouse in the GS, and the trackpad in the RC, I feel like it’s a wash as to which one is better. The screen is not as large as the GS, but was still plenty.
The seats though. Oh the seats.
The RC easily has the most comfortable seats I have ever sat in. The bolsters do not adjust like some but should be in just the right spot for most people. The leather is Lexus soft and the cushion is perfectly comfortable but not too couch like. The seats are, of course, heated and cooled making summer days breezy and cool summer nights nice and toasty. The back seats are not-unusable, but almost. It is definitely enough room for a run to lunch with adults in the back but any more than that would be quite uncomfortable. I tested and confirmed the RC will hold two adult hockey players and three hockey sticks in the ski hole, just make sure the passenger seat does not go back to far. In general, it is one of my favorite interiors furthering Lexus’ resume as the new king of the cockpit.
The RC 350 F Sport is no slouch on the driving side either. While driving to and from work, the ride, with some help from those great seats, is quite comfortable for a sports coupe. Or any car for that matter. Even with the F Sport suspension, the Lexus really shines. In the corners, the heft of the RC shows its face, but the car handles itself quite well. The traction control in Sport and Sport+ allow the back to squirm just enough but applies the power well after the apex. 311hp is just enough, but not what I would call fast in a car weighing two tons. I own an ISF, a car I cross shopped against a 2017 RC 350 F Sport, and the RC just does not have the “it” factor in the engine department. The 3.5L V6 still provided ample amount of enjoyment as the near 7000 rpm redline let the engine spool up and it seemed to love staying there.
According to reports and spy photos, the mid-cycle refresh should be coming out for the 2020 model year. The biggest changes, unsurprisingly, will be to the front and rear bumper. Also unsurprisingly, the LED running lights will be more incorporated into the headlights like the LS and LC rather than a separate “Nike swoosh” that this iteration has. The interior will probably also be updated but that is the least of what is needed in my opinion. In fact, a minor smoothing might be exactly what the RC needed. After a solid four years, it’s about time.
After quite a few press cars, I can truly say the RC has been one of my favorites. Only behind the Fiat 124 Abarth, it is absolutely one of the first cars I would pay to put in my garage. Between the comfortable interior, enjoyable V6, and the attention grabbing exterior it’s got it all. In the world of two door sports cars, the RC is definitely an underrated piece. Lexus really does deserve a larger share of this market as the RC 350 F-Sport gives you amazing value for your money. A similar BMW 440i with only seven more horsepower is nearly $7000 more and the closest Audi is nearly just as pricey. Lexus really provides you with a plethora of options making it my pick in the segment. How the actual mid-cycle refresh works we will see, but the RC is a very well designed car and it definitely shows.