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Quick Spin: 2015 Lexus RC 350 AWD

Kamil Kaluski December 1, 2015 Featured, Lexus Reviews, Quick Spin 15 Comments

2015 Lexus RC 350 front left 2

I may be in the minority of people, especially for people under the age of forty, when I say that I like many of the Toyota and Lexus cars. Toyotas make for well built, reliable, long lasting, basic transportation. Lexus builds on Toyota’s philosophy and adds nice, quiet, interiors, better materials, and unique styling. Most of the cars, such as the IS, GS, and LS, do not have a Toyota equivalent, making it a mostly stand-alone brand, which is great in world of never ending badge engineering.

Lexus’ newest addition to its line-up of cars is the RC coupe. The coupe is loosely based on IS and GS architecture, and being that I really enjoyed the IS and GS F cars, I had high expectations of it. The RC is set to be a direct competitor for the Audi A5, BMW 4-series, Mercedes C coupe, and the Infiniti G37/Q60, which is to say it should attract image-conscious yuppies.

2015 Lexus RC 350 side

The outside styling is interesting and rather original, but somewhat bland at the same time. The side profile of this coupe has hatchback-like dimensions with some typically Japanese cues, but remains rather generic. The front features the Lexus family sea monster grill which is surrounded by LED headlights, below which are LED running lights which resemble the Nike swoosh. The rear end is typical Lexus, unfortunately more ES than LFA. There is a mix of black and chrome trims, which attempts to give an aura of sport and luxury at the same time. Overall, the RC looks pretty much like one would expect a two-door version of the IS or GS to look like.

2015 Lexus RC 350 interior

The interior is similar to other current Lexus cars, with one striking difference – less headroom. The dash layout is clean and the buttons and knobs are big and easy to use. The front seats are comfortable and supportive but the rear seats are best used by passengers under five feet tell. The designers seem to have given lots of thought to the little things: there are places for your drinks, phones, glasses, and other little crap we all seem to carry around these days.

Generally speaking, it’s just a nice place to spend time in. Visibility is good for a coupe and modern day features such as blind spot sensors, parking sensors and a back-up camera make maneuvering easy. New here is an infotainment touch-pad that replaces a nifty mouse-like mushroom-top control thingy that has been in Lexus cars for a few years. I liked the mousey better as it gave back on where on the screen the pointer is located whereas this new setup requires the driver to spend more time looking at the screen.

2015 Lexus RC 350 interior details

On the road, the RC 350 is more of a grand tourer than a sports car. The quiet cabin, comfortable ride, and apparent weight will make you want take road trips rather than taking it to the track. With three drive modes, eco, normal, and sport, most enthusiast drivers will want to be in the latter. Interestingly, where the GS and IS always seemed to me quick off the line, the RC has a little delay between the gas pedal application and actual movement, almost as if it was turbocharged. Perhaps it has to do with the six-speed transmission that comes on the AWD models, rather than the eight-speed on the RWD models.

With 306 horsepower and 277 lb.-ft coming from the 3.5-liter V6, the RC 350 has good power, but it isn’t a powerhouse by modern day standards. This lack of athleticism can be contributed more to the 3900 pound curb weight than lack of engine power. On the street, the RC is both fast enough and handles well enough to be entertaining, and is a very nice blend of sportiness and comfort. When compared to the aging Infiniti G37/Q60, which tries to be sportier by having a much stiffer suspension, the RC wins. Will the weight matter to most people who just want a comfortable coupe? Nope, but it would be so much better with even just 500 pounds less.

2015 Lexus RC 350 other details

The Lexus RC starts at about $40,000 and is available with a four-cylinder turbo and two naturally aspirated V6 engines. AWD is optional on the V6 models. For enthusiasts, Lexus offers the F Sport package with bigger brakes, an honest limited slip read diff, and sporty trim. Those wanting more power should consider V8 RC F. The RC, no matter which trim, is a very nice car for a yuppie or anyone to drive around in on daily basis, but a young internet forum-fighting enthusiast might look into something faster and more furious.

2015 Lexus RC 350 rear

Lexus provided the vehicle for this review. All images copyright Kamil Kaluski/Redusernab 2015. 

  • mr smee

    I know the IS and the GS are a little underpowered, a little too heavy, and little too understeery (?), but for me, I can live with that and benefit from a beautiful interior and great reliability. As much as I want the performance of a Camaro, I just can’t imagine owning one for more than a year. As a GS400 driver, I’m still miffed Lexus doesn’t offer a V8 in all the GS trim levels. Do love the new charcoal-grey metallic on the car pictured.

    • V8 in a GS? Sure they offer it, it’s called the GS F –

      • mr smee

        Yes indeed, on the GS-F, which is a big price bump. I would like them to offer the V8 on the standard model as well for a “sleeper” kind of Lexus.

  • Fred Talmadge

    I wasn’t impressed with the IS250 interior of a couple years ago, and this looks to be about the same. Stereo controls look cheap, seats were not comfortable for me and the center console is so wide making the interior feel more cramped than my then current ride A3. The price was pretty high especially with options added on and the dealer is not much into dealing. So I looked else where.

    • Was that the current or previous generation? There is a huge difference between the two in terms of quality, space, and comfort. And even technology, the last gen nav system was a joke.

      • Fred Talmadge

        I was shopping around 2013, they still had the little V6 in the 250. Visually it looks a lot like above.

        • Odd. I actually like that car a lot, probably more than I should have.

          • Fred Talmadge

            If it was cheaper or had a manual I might of gone for it. Also that little A3 was probably the best car I ever had and even the TSX Sportwagon I ended up with suffers in comparison.

            • I was surprised by how I liked the basic A3 sedan. I was surprised by how much I didn’t care for the TSX Sportwagon. 🙁

              • Fred Talmadge

                I had a 2007 A3. The TSX won because it was a wagon and the price was right.

  • Remember that old SNL bit where John Lovitz was a snobby but not very good thespian who would pop in and shout “Acting!” with a dramatic wave of his hand? Every time I see one of these I picture Lovitz shouting “Styling!”

    Man there’s a lot of shape salad going on here.

  • I feel like for their average buyer, Lexus’ infotainment is a little too…complex. It just doesn’t function as smoothly or simply as does even UConnect. Haven’t had a chance to try it out in an RC yet, but in the 3rd-gen. RX it really seemed like the whole thing needed an overhaul from the second it came out (touchpad included).

    • You know, I would agree with you. I clearly remember being somewhat overwhelmed by that system when my mother’s friend bought one of the early RXs of the generation.
      Maybe I have become accustomed to these systems, but it seemed rather easy to operate and not much different than what other cars have now.

      • Right, but I’m guessing you’re reasonably good with tech stuff…whereas the average person buying a Lexus may have slightly more difficulty getting accustomed to a Nav/infotainment unit. I guess it doesn’t matter the automaker, it’s somewhat of a generational thing? But even my parents can operate the UConnect in their JGC without much issue (and neither are tech wizards) whereas when my grandmother bought her most recent (of ~6 she’s had) RX the infotainment perplexed her so much that I set up a preset for the Sinatra XM station and one for AM radio, showed her how to control the volume, then cut my losses and left it at that.

  • Maymar

    Maybe it’s because I’m not an image-conscious yuppie, but I can’t think of a single reason I’d take the RC over the IS – more expensive, more ugly, and less useful are not good qualities. Which is a shame, because the IS is a pleasant enough car in its own right (I’m intrigued to try out the IS200t, although if it’s the same four used in the NX, I found that a little laggy).

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