Lexus RC 350 F Sport:
A ‘radical coupe’…for Joe Biden
Lexus owners love their cars and SUVs. To them, the brand stands for vehicles with highly reliable powertrains, interiors that are impeccably finished and dealerships where they are treated like royalty. And for all those qualities, Lexus owners happily pay a premium to own a Lexus. I understand and appreciate Toyota’s luxury brand since I own an almost 15-year old Tacoma pickup with a highly reliable powertrain. And owning a Lexus GX is on my bucket list.
So I was really excited to have the opportunity to experience a week-long test drive in a Sonic Chrome 2021 Lexus RC350 F Sport, which came to me along with a $60,520 price tag, about $18,000 more than a base model. It had a 311 hp, 3.5 liter V6 under the hood, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Although an AWD trim is available, the RC that I drove was rear-wheel drive.
The RC began life as a 2015 model and it’s still in its first generation. Designed as a two-door version of the Lexus IS, the letters RC supposedly stand for ‘Radical Coupe’, although I didn’t experience much that was radical about the car. But, more about that later. The RC sold pretty well in its first couple of years, but as the case with most coupes in the latter part of their product cycles, sales have dropped significantly over that cycle.
The exterior design of the RC is simply gorgeous. The low-slung coupe sports a muscular stance, fronted by that aggressively distinctive Lexus grill that refuses to be ignored. This is a 2+2 that looks like it should blow past most anything on the road.
However, this is a Lexus and the brand is known for delivering a quiet, refined drive, not one designed to scare you a bit. Its 0-60 time (according to the Lexus press release) is just under six seconds, which is fast or an SUV, not so much for a coupe. Hit the start button and there is no exhaust roar, the kind of sound that can hit you in the gut.
The RC’s interior, as expected, is impeccable. The stitching on the leather seats is meticulous and wood trim is real solid wood, not paper-thin veneer. The driver’s cockpit is comfortable, with an instrument panel that can be adjusted to the driver’s preference. The rear seat can only be utilized by humans if the driver and the front-row passengers are short. Surprisingly, the trunk is roomy, probably adequate for two large golf bags.
If you love the Lexus brand, you’ll love the RC 350 F Sport. If you’re looking for an RC that is rip-roaring, fast and loud, check out the more expensive RC F, which starts at $65,975, has a 472 hp, 5.0 liter V8 under the hood and rockets from 0-60 in just over four seconds. With that, it’s clear that engineers at Lexus can bring out a sports coupe that stirs the blood. I just wish it was the 2021 Lexus RC F Sport.