Edgy appearance and fun to drive
Lexus is reaching back in the company playbook for this choice, introducing its first hard-top coup since we hit the new millennial age in 2000.
Indeed, 15 years seems like a long time before developing another two-door vehicle. But the long wait between the SC 400 and the 2015 RC 350 makes sense because it gives Lexus something it was missing – a gap-filler in its lineup.
There was definitely some thought behind the RC 350, an entry-level sport coupe. Known for manufacturing rather conservative-looking vehicles, the RC 350 is rather edgy for Lexus. The coupe has some definitive curves and a somewhat macho appearance. The exterior also features Lexus’s signature spindle grille, side fins and twin rear tailpipes.
The test model driven here certainly was a scene stealer. There’s no escaping people’s glances when driving what Lexus refers to as the Molten Pearl-colored RC 350. It was bright orange and very appealing to my wife, who wanted to know if I could get it again for Halloween, a holiday she adores. More conventional colors are available as well.
2015 Lexus RC 350
- Performance: 3.5-liter, V6, 306 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 19-28 mpg
- Estimated price: $42,790 to $45,025
- Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain: 6 years/70,000 miles; roadside assistance: 4 years/unlimited; corrosion: 6 years/unlimited
Although it’s an appealing coupe and has plenty of performance, precise steering, and an overall sophisticated ride, the RC 350 has some tough competition in the luxury sport coupe division. Among its rivals are some heavyweights like the Audi A5, BMW 428i and 435i, and Cadillac ATS.
While some of its competitors offer more acceleration, the Lexus RC 350 is certainly no slouch in the open road. It comes with a 3.5-liter, V6 that produces 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. The eight-speed automatic transmission comes standard for rear-wheel models, while a six-speed automatic pairs with the all-wheel drive RC 350.
Most drivers who enjoy speed will appreciate the RC 350, which has been clocked going 0-60 mph in 5.9 seconds. Expect to get approximately 19-28 mpg, depending on which version of the RC 350 is selected.
Note that the RC 350 should not be confused with the new Lexus RC F, a high-performance coupe. However, Lexus does offer an F Sport Package that can be added to the RC 350. The performance of the F Sport is certainly appealing. It features a 5.0-liter, V8 that generates 467 horsepower with 389-pound-feet of torque and reportedly goes 0-60 in a brisk 4.7 seconds.
Like all coupes, the RC 350 seats four people. And like practically all coupes, the back seat is no place for any reasonably sized adult thanks in part to its sloping roofline. It’s a snug fit at best and much better suited for small children. The front seat is comfortable for both driver and passenger. As expected with a coupe, the trunk space is modest (10.4 cubic feet).
The RC 350 has a well-fashioned interior. The upscale design is modern and built primarily with high-quality materials and offers lots of padding for comfort. What some folks won’t like is the touchpad mouse that comes with the navigation system. It is the primary device for making navigation and audio selections and takes a while to master and requires more concentration for a driver than is necessary.
Although the RC 350 needs some altering in certain areas, most notably its touchpad mouse system, it should be an appealing buy for some with a starting price of $42,790. It features a somewhat edgy appearance, is fun to drive, and has enough performance to entertain drivers who savor a speedy ride.