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by Tony West
The highly anticipated Lexus RC makes it way from the concept podium to showrooms this fall. The new RC gives Lexus fans the sports car they’ve been missing with efficiency, confident city driving and a luxury interior. The RC 350 is a marriage between the unrestricted power of the LFA and the refined athleticism of the GS. The new RC coupe is stylish with many performance enhancing attributes from the GS and IS. The 2015 RC will offer rear-wheel drive versions of its base RC 350 and RC-F models. Get ready to see the new RC stunt on the Cadillac ATS, the Subaru BRZ, and the new Infiniti Q60.
Sophisticated Sporty Style
The new RC 350 is brawn meets brains and a sexy body. Along with offering some new vibrant colors with a new five layer paint technique, the RC perfectly tailors the front and rear with stylish aerodynamic enhancements.
The 2+2 coupe is 184 inches long with a low wide stance ideal for sporty driving. Yet the RC Coupe has adequate legroom for front and rear passengers. The RC’s sexy spindle grille is tighter to now make a subtle “F” shape. And the front fenders, with deep air intakes slope forward for a sportier nose. The LED headlights are separated from the cool LED “L” shaped daytime running lights on the RC-F.
The RC looks much more stylish than other sports coupes at its price. The RC has a sexy rear design with LED tail lights that have a cool wraparound LED effect. And the new RC 350 also offers 18 inch and 19 inch wheels and the RC-F a glass roof.
Enhancements to the exterior design give the RC 350 impressive performance. Small stabilizing fins are fitted to the tip of the doorframe and the rear lights for high speeds. Air ducts in the front bumper help to redirect air as does the trunk design and fender grooves. Aerofins in the underbody and an aero stabilizing guide behind the front bumper direct airflow and cooling. And the angle of the rear undercover has been raised and underflow aerodynamically enhanced to keep the RC-Firmly planted on the ground. The high strength steel body of the RC allows for resilience and strength at high speeds as does the door design, with a new belt-line molding, and stainless steel components.
Outstanding Performance with City Driving Comfort
The sexy RC coupe has subtle speed in its veins. And the F version boasts track-capable dynamic driving. Standard is a 3.5 liter naturally aspirated V6 with 306 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. The V6 has dual variable valve timing and Lexus’ D-45 direct fuel injection. The RC’s V6 engine also has aluminum components that add efficiency and road prowess.
The key to the RC’s dynamic performance is its 8 speed Sports Program Direct Shift Transmission (SPDS). The 8 speed delivers smooth torque conversions and a .10 second downshift time. In Manual “M” mode, the transmission’s throttle blipping controls match the engine speed to the gear. Shifting has been fine-tuned to adjust to slight revs. In Normal mode, fuel economy is increased with more seamless shifts and refined throttle control. In Sport mode, the transmission will automatically downshift during hard braking when cornering, hold a lower gear through the curve, and adjust to a lower gear coming out of the corner. In addition to the transmission modes, the Lexus RC offers a Drive Mode Select, a rotary dial at the center armrest that adjusts powertrain, electric power steering and climate control with Normal, Eco, or Sport modes.
The Lexus RC 350 travels slightly faster than the IS F-Sport with a 0-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds. Yet the RC is just as efficient with a 34 mpg highway EPA. On the highway its chiseled frame cuts through the air like a knife through butter. And the RC has fluid turns, precise cornering, and to-a-dime stopping power. The RC coupe features double wishbone front suspension and multilink rear suspension. The AWD RC delivers exceptional handling and smooth response in any road condition corner to corner.
RC-F Boasts Supreme Driving Dynamics
Along with a fresher tricked-out exterior the RC-F adds more technology under the hood for real thrill ride. The RC-F has a 460 horsepower 5 liter V8 with 360 lb-ft of torque. The RC-F adds a Sport+ mode to the Drive Mode Select with an Adaptive Variable Suspension system (AVS). The AVS system adjusts dampers more frequent to account for varying road conditions and added comfort at high speeds. The AVS continuously optimizes roll attitude and rebound control. In Sport+ mode, the AVS maximizes damping force for track-like handling.
The RC-F also offers Variable Gear Ratio Steering that automatically adjusts the steering gear ratios in response to vehicle speed and driving condition. Dynamic Rear-wheel Steering (DRS) works with the VGRS to provide an AWD feel to RWD.
The RWD RC-F exclusively offers the Lexus Dynamic Handling (LDH) System that works with the VGRS, Electric Power Steering, and the DRS to create a beast of a coupe. The Lexus Dynamic Handling system adjusts steering efforts to speed requirements and can enhance control at high speed cornering.
Sport-Tuned Safety Technology
Both the RC350 and the RC-F models boast high performance disc brakes; the RC 350 with 13.5 inch front and rear rotors and the RC-F 14 inch two-piece rotors and high friction brake pads. Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management (VDIM) is standard on both models, and coordinates the EPS, traction control, Vehicle Stability Control, ABS and powertrain to auto optimize performance. The Adaptive Variable Suspension system interacts with the VDIM and Pre Collision system to respond to emergency situations. The Pre Collision system and Pre Brake system anticipates a rear or forward collision and can auto apply the brakes. The RC Coupe also features a Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
No-Comprise Lux Sport Interior
Lexus gives its RC a cool luxury interior with sports car swag. Leather racing seats position the driver with a raised sweeping center stack with dynamic driving controls at their fingertips. Lexus offers four high-contrast interior colors: Stratus Gray, Flaxen, Black, and Roja Red for the RC-F, each with contrast stitching. Two types of available shimamoku wood trims give sophistication to the center stack, dash, and doors. Front and rear passengers have adequate legroom with a special manual/ electric folding function. And the RC-F features LED ambient interior lighting.
The RC-F adds F perforated leather to the shifter and the steering wheel with an embossed F emblem. The RC-F also adds an aluminum pedal and foot rest.
Gauges trimmed in a silver ring surround a 4.2 inch TFT LCD multi information display that displays driving information, audio, and navigation information. The leather-wrapped steering wheel has controls for the phone, cruise control, audio, and the multi info display. The RC also features a Remote Touch Screen at the center stack for the 8 inch LCD screen that displays navigation, infotainment, and vehicle settings. Standard is a 10 speaker audio system, with an optional 17 speaker Mark Levinson audio system.
The Lexus RC coupe picks up with the IS-F left off adding more sports car swag to the luxury brand. Where many $40k sports cars compromise interior luxury and technology, the Lexus RC perfectly combines subtle racecar cues with a cool stylish cockpit. The Lexus RC starts at about $40,000.