2015 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Review
A solid grand tourer that doesn't overdo it.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: March 6th, 2015
As with the Lexus RC F we've already tested this year, the Lexus RC 350 is an all-new beast for this year. It's a menagerie of three other Lexus vehicles (new IS, new GS, old IS convertible) that gives Lexus a new vehicle in the luxury sport-coupe segment, something often filled with BMW 4-Series and Audi A5s. And man, this car is coming out swinging.
Unlike the RC F, which is a big V-8 bruiser meant for smoky drifts and other yobbo tire-shredding action, the RC 350 is meant more as a quaint grand tourer, relegated to a life of boulevard cruising. However, it does gain back some of its bigger brother's sportiness with the F Sport trim; that gives the RC 350 bigger wheels, bigger brakes, adaptive suspension, sportier seats, a fancier gauge cluster, and additional exterior fascia add-ons. It's still a car meant for long, comfortable jaunts, but if you really want to stir things up a bit, the car will let you do so in a composed, sensible manner. It remains a Lexus deep down, after all.
It's a great interior, full stop. The shape of the dashboard is unique without intruding on personal space, and it presents the controls and other switchgear in a way that looks nothing short of futuristic. It borrows some elements from other Lexus family members, but it does so in a way that doesn't immediately scream, "parts bin engineering." Everywhere you rest your arm, you'll find a comfortable piece of material. The F Sport's upgraded sport seats have a bit more firmness to them, but it doesn't take away from the overall comfort.
Fans of technological bits will really dig the F Sport's display, which features a large single gauge that slides back and forth on its horizontal axis, depending on what settings you're trying to reach or display on the screen. You can conjure up nearly everything the car can do without having to shift your gaze left or right. Not only is it technologically impressive, it's visually impressive, as well. The whole interior is, really.
As with every other new Lexus on the block, if you're not a fan of the direction in which Lexus is moving its styling, you're not going to like the RC. It's a mixture of both soft and sharp edges, like poorly engineered safety scissors. The nose looks crumpled from one angle, but absolutely stunning from every other. It's a unique beast, that's for sure.
Moving up to the F Sport trim turns the RC 350 into a far more aggressive-lookin' sumbitch. The big wheels and big brakes scream, "I like to go fast, damn it," while the plastic fake rear fender vents scream, "Perhaps we overdid this a little bit." The RC 350 actually looks more aggressive than the RC F from certain perspectives, which we found a little confusing.
On the Road
After a few tight turns, you'll forget that the RC is a tripartite affair; all you'll care about is how good the chassis feels. With additional laser welding to stiffen the chassis, the result is a body that will grin and bear it when the going gets rough. If you get a little too overzealous, fear not; the traction-control system is quite good at reining in the back end. Thanks to the F Sport's adaptive dampers, that feeling of flat cornering is enhanced; just make sure you don't drive around town with the Sport+ setting on, unless you enjoy feeling uncomfortable at slow speeds. No matter what speed, the steering felt a little numb, but carried itself with good weighting, and the brakes were always more than eager to bring things to a halt.
From the cockpit, the world is your oyster in the RC 350. The car has a comfortably low seating position so you truly feel as if you're surrounded by car (in a good way), and it helps imbue some of that sporty feeling before the car even cranks over. As with all other Lexus models, the interior is impeccably quiet, giving you plenty of time to focus on the absolutely-freaking-awesome Mark Levinson premium audio system. It's in our top three for best in-car audio systems of all time, up there with Meridian and Burmester. High praise, that.
From the backseat, though, you're going to wonder about nothing other than when the ride is over. It's tight, headroom is seriously compromised for anybody taller than five-foot-six, and gaining any semblance of legroom requires the front passenger to essentially become one with the dashboard. Unless you have kids or dogs, this car is more or less a two-seater. It's kind of like a Porsche 911 in that sense.
All in all, if you're buying a Lexus RC 350 (F Sport or not), odds are you're not going to be taking it to the track. You're going to spend time driving it on highways and marked roads. But that's a good thing; that's where this car absolutely shines. It's well-composed, it is still capable of a little apex-clipping fun, and it's beautiful both inside and out (although that last bit is more on the subjective side of things). It's still got some of that Lexus sensibility, but thankfully, it's nowhere near boring. If anything, it's packing the character that its German competition has been lacking of late.
Specs & Price
Engine: 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V-6
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Power Output: 306 horsepower / 277 lb-ft
Fuel Economy (mpg): 19 city / 28 highway
Base Price: $42,790
As Tested: $54,815 (incl. $925 destination)
Navigation / Mark Levinson Package: 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium sound system, voice-activated navigation, single-disc CD/DVD player, remote touchpad, backup camera, Lexus Enform Destinations, Lexus Enform App Suite
Navigation System Package: Same as above, minus the Mark Levinson audio system
Individual Options: Variable-ratio electric power steering with rear-wheel steering, pre-collision system with adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, LED foglamps
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2015 Lexus RC 350, click here: 2015 Lexus RC 350.