For over four years we have wanted to get some time in the Lexus RC Coupe after seeing a prototype in Seattle at the launch of the Lexus NX. We are just like everybody else, where the lure of a coupe reaches out and gets our attention, just begging to be driven. This is especially true when the design is like the Lexus RC.
In the Lexus world, the RC actually stands for “Radical Coupe” and after a week of driving the RC we would be the first to admit it is all that and more! Coming in an all-wheel drive version really makes more sense here in the mountain west where we are going to have snowstorms that would impede a rear-wheel-drive-only version.
Having the RC 350 in what should have been great spring weather in mid-April turned out to be five out of seven days of rain. This was not a problem for the RC, conquering every challenge, even when that rain turned out to be very substantial and heavy. The coupe took it all in stride without even the hint of slipping tires.
Even if we tried to get them spinning from a dead stop in the rain, it was very difficult to accomplish with the AWD system installed in the Lexus. Getting into a rear-wheel drive version can be done with both a V-6 RC 350 of a RC 300 that drops the engine size to a 2.0-liter four-cylinder motor making 241 horsepower.
AWD is only offered with a V-6 engine, both in the RC 300 and the RC 350, with the 300 making 260 horsepower and the 350 pushing that to 311 ponies. We have to admit it was very hard to give up the 350 after a week, as it easily became our choice for the day-to-day to drive — some of that was looks and some was the fun injected into the coupe.
After a week that included a pretty good mix of freeway and city driving, we were averaging just over 25 mpg, which we felt was very good for a coupe that is meant to compete with the likes of the Mercedes Benz C Class and the Infiniti Q60. In fact, as the week was coming to an end, Deanne was questioning if we should take a look at the RC with its starting price of only $46,240 as our next everyday driver!
It did turn heads and got people talking. In fact, we have a neighbor named Jim who is a car junkie like us, and we are always able to judge the “coolness” factor of any car that lands in our driveway by how long it takes him to call and want a ride. With the RC, that was about 20 minutes. With this in mind we figured we were in for nothing but intense thrilling driving for the week!
About the only disappointment we had in the AWD RC is that it didn’t come with the eight-speed transmission that comes in the rear-wheel drive version. It is not a deal breaker, we just prefer the Lexus eight speed.
Since the RC still comes with all the standard Lexus DNA, that includes three different drive modes, Eco, Standard and Sport and all the inside luxury we could imagine. This was why it appealed to us so much in our advanced years, making it easy for us to justify.
Inside, all the standard safety features that now come with Lexus were included — those being:
- Brake assist with smart stop technology that helps in any sudden braking situation.
- A pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, which is really helpful, especially in parking lot situations.
- Dynamic radar cruise control that would start and stop the RC in heavy traffic, which we encountered on the way home from Salt Lake early in the week when the freeway came to a complete stop. Lexus was one of the first to offer this type of cruise control system and has continued to improve on it.
- Lane departure alert with steering assist that would nudge us back into the lane and automatic high beam headlamps.
Other really cool standard technology features were the inclusion of the Lexus Enform Safety System that is included for 10 years from Lexus, along with a Wi-Fi system that has a one-year trial. Most automakers only include one month or so much data with their systems. Seems to us that after a year you are going to be hooked or not. Most likely, it becomes a system that you can’t live without!
Also included is a one-year trial of the Enform Remote system that can interact with the RC in different ways. It also includes Alexa skills, which basically turns the RC into a remote on-road Alexa. Using only our voice, we could easily listen to audio books, stream music from our Amazon account, make lists, and check weather and all the other great features from Amazon.
It would even sync to the navigation system and provide us with on-the-go recommendations. On top of that, we could even turn our thermostat at home up or down by using the voice commands in the Lexus. How cool is that?
Of course, there were some additions to the basic package that we enjoyed, those being the heated and cooled seats along with the heated steering wheel.
We had a great week with the Lexus RC Coupe and at the end had a very hard time giving it up for our next vehicle. This is a great way and really quite an affordable way to get into a coupe driving experience. However, with a luxury line, the actual ride is much smoother than some of the other cheaper coupes we have driven over the years.
Base Price: $46,240
Price as Driven: $54,630