Lexus RC

High-performance Coupe, Big-time Fun

Roseville, Calif.- The 2021 Lexus RC F is a high-performance coupe that is both sporty and refined. Yet the mystery here is why are sales so paltry?

Judging by its historic sales figures, one would think the RC brand (it also includes RC 300 and 350) would be on the endangered list.

Lexus sold a record-number 14,784 RC models in its debut year in 2015. Sales have dipped significantly over the last five years, including 3,358 in 2018 and another poor showing in 2020 (3,808).

The only Asian automaker competing in the high-performance luxury coupe category, Lexus has a rough time competing with such notable high-performance coupes like the Audi RS5, Mercedes-AMG C63 and BMW M4.

Regardless of its struggles, we’re fans of the Lexus RC F, a sports car that looks cool and inviting. It delivers some big-time fun, thanks to a powerful engine that has it zipping along roadways with a bit of a roar when pushed.

Performance

Available in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the RC F has one engine and one model only. The engine is a powerful 5.0-liter, V8 that generates 472 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque, and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

As one would expect, the RC F is super quick, going 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds, with top speed a whopping 170 mph. Fuel economy is lacking at 16-24 mpg, but the fuel tank is huge (17.4 gallons).

Aside from the incredible performance, there are other reasons to consider purchasing an RC F. It features terrific interior craftsmanship, is one of the quietest cars in its class, and because it’s a Lexus, it will likely keep its value. Starting price is around $65,975, but can climb close to $100,000.

The steering is responsive and if the desire is to attack corners, that can be accomplished with no worries. Yet it isn’t as engaging or ferocious as competitors from Audi and BMW.

Standard safety features include forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.

AT A GLANCE – 2021 LEXUS RC F

  • Performance: 5.0-liter, V8, 472 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 16-24 mpg
  • $65,975 to $97,200
  • Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; drivetrain: 6 years/70,000 miles; roadside assistance: 4 years/unlimited; corrosion: 6 years/unlimited
Lexus interior

Interior

Other than the inconvenient infotainment interface, there’s much to like about the interior. It is well-built with attractive wood trim and high-quality material. Like most luxury vehicles, this one has lots of standard features that include the newly added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

Also standard is Amazon Alexa compatibility, which provides a Wi-Fi hotspot that allows for easy internet connection.

Touchpad controls are universally disliked because they limit driver attention. The system – both physical and touch-sensitive – takes a while to master due to the center stack layout and use of multiple types of inputs.

Seating is comfortable up front in the RC F, yet like most coupes, the back seat is hard to access and no adult would care to reside there. On a more positive note, the RC 300 cargo area (10.1 cubic feet) is spacious enough to accommodate a large golf bag and several other items. But there’s no additional space because the back seat doesn’t fold down.

The 2021 Lexus RC provides outstanding performance, comfort, a sporty look, and checks other boxes that are important to luxury sport owners. Despite its overall appeal, sales continue to be nearly nonexistent for the RC brand.