Lexus RC — Choices available with sports coupe

By David Finkelstein

Lexus has struck a perfect balance between styling, performance and agility as never before with the 2017 RC line of sport coupes. The RC's sports oriented chassis is also quite unique. It's based off of the underpinning architecture of other Lexus automobiles, drawing from the best of two proven mechanical setups that have been notability successful thus far.

More exactly, the car's underside chassis is mimicked from the highly acclaimed Lexus GS for overall stiffness and steering response.

Additionally, the RC's rear platform is designed from the newest generation IS sport sedan from Lexus. The IS is recognized for its performance and balanced steering dynamics. And to further add to the car's underside mechanical cross-mix, the mid section of the RC Sports Coupe has various components from the IS convertible, adding yet a higher level of body rigidity. With the total sum of these contributing sub sections, the resulting platform provides a high performance end-game achieved by the company's skilled development engineers.

With RC's uniqueness as well as quick performance and on-board technologies, this automobile is a great draw for luxury buyers to the brand. RC has a striking exterior from any viewing angle. The “cool factor” is way out there, attracting car enthusiasts from just about all age groups. Without any compromising in the design, RC's low profile, wide stance, fairly short wheelbase and large diameter wheels are intended to provide an emotional charge.

The 2017 version is distinguished by a new black front grille finish serving as the cars focal point. New designs now come with the 18- and 19-inch wheels and new available triple LED premium headlamps are offered.

The F Sport version takes the design characteristics even further with a true sports car signature.The car is unmistakable with its boldly protruding fender flares and body contours etched with deeply sweeping lines.

That design. however, challenged conventional production methods. Creating these characteristic lines required advanced steel stamping technologies that surpass conventional production line standards. With the cars striking paint luster, it tends to leave a distinct impression. A combination of multiple LED tail lamps and cutting edge lens technology give the rear lights a sparkling effect, reminiscent of glittering jewels.

Like the headlamps, the rear combination lamps show the distinct Lexus three dimensional L-shape. The rear lift hatch is nicely shaped and coupled with the large tailpipe exhaust outlets.

The RC's interior is engineered for four occupants. As expected, the 2017 RC was designed first and foremost with the driver in mind, offering a high degree of measured comfort and elegance. The car achieves that balance and integrates cutting edge infotainment technology and safety features such as eight SRS airbags, including a dual-stage driver’s airbag, dual-stage and dual-chamber front passenger airbag, driver’s and passenger’s knee airbags, front-seat side airbags and first and second row side curtain airbags. The factory also makes available a Pre-Collision safety system.

The center console and door trim feature a layered appearance, expressing Lexus quality elegance. Contrast stitching is also used as well as ambient interior LED lighting. With their Drive Mode Select system and using a dial on the center console, the driver can “dial in” the cars performance response. Drive Mode Select tailors the vehicle’s powertrain, electric power-assisted steering and on F SPORT, the suspension response.

Modes include NORMAL, SPORT and ECO. The F SPORT adds SPORT S+ mode for maximum handling performance from the Adaptive Variable Suspension and the available Dynamic Handling System. For navigation-equipped vehicles, a Remote Touch pad Interface uses smartphone-like touch control, including tap, flick and pinch gestures to control audio, navigation or system information displayed on the center screen - all without the user having to look down.

Both the standard and optional audio systems play all popular digital formats. The standard audio system includes 10 speakers and a 10-inch subwoofer with 256 watts total output. Available is as optional Mark Levinson Premium Audio system. The RC’s steering wheel integrates switches to control the phone, audio functions, cruise control and other on-board electronics.

A 2.0-liter four cylinder twin-scroll turbocharged engine, it helps to round out the '17 product mix. It produces 241 hp, with 258 lb.-ft. of peak torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The EPA mileage numbers show 22 mpg city / 32 mpg highway. A 3.5-liter V-6 is offered matched with a all-wheel-drive chassis. It's output produces 255 hp and 236 lb.-ft. torque. It's teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission.

A 306-horsepower version of the V6 is also available in a rear-wheel-drive setup. It comes with an eight-speed Sports Program Direct Shift automatic transmission. Its also sold with an optional all-wheel-drive design linked with a six-speed automatic. All engine variations are recommended to operate on premium grade fuel.

The RC models are covered by a  48-month/50,000 mile basic limited warranty. At road-test, including a number of factory options and delivery charges, the 2017 Lexus RC F Sport I drove had an MSRP of $80,389.