Lexus RC — Creating a perfect balance

By David Finkelstein 

Toyota's upscale premium car division Lexus has struck a perfect balance with styling, performance and agility as never before, with the introduction of the all new 2015 RC line of sport coupes. You can choose your own definition in regards to the “RC” badging such as; radical coupe, really cool, right car, real cleaver, road commanding, etc.

Regardless, the RC line of Sports Coups is offered in a variety of trim levels and performance options. This includes the base RC 350, RC 350F and the high performance “track ready” RC F edition.

RC’s all new chassis is also quite unique overall. It is based off of the underpinning architecture of other Lexus automobiles drawing from the best of two proven mechanical setups that have been very successful thus far. More exactly, the car's front end chassis is mimicked from the highly acclaimed Lexus GS, which by the way has set new standards for stiffness and chassis response for a mid-sized luxury sedan.

Making the RC even more interesting is it's rear platform which is based on the newest generation IS sport sedan from Lexus Motors. The IS is recognized for its performance and handling in its highly competitive automotive global segment. And to further add to the car's underside mechanical cross mix, the mid section of the RC has chassis components added from the IS convertible structure adding strength and a high level of rigidity overall.

With the total sum of these contributing sub sections, the resulting platform provided the specific high-performance character sought after by their development engineers. Quite honestly, this was quite an engineering marvel in itself. Due to the car's uniqueness with individuality as well as quick performance and on-board technologies, the RC is expected to attract the next generation of luxury buyers to this brand.

As expected, the RC has a striking exterior from any angle. The “cool factor” is off the charts! The car turns heads wherever you go with a curb appeal for just about all age groups and social backgrounds. Certainly, there wasn't any compromise in the design. The vehicles low profile and wide stance along with it's fairly short wheelbase and large diameter wheels is intended to provide an emotional charge.

The Lexus signature front spindle grille is also a major focal point of the design. The F SPORT version takes the spindle grille design even further. The mesh pattern of the upper section gradually transforms into an “F” character as it approaches the lower extremity.

“To make the exterior immediately recognizable, we adopted a design with a compact cabin contrasted by boldly protruding fender flares and body contours etched with deeply sweeping lines,” said Eiichi Kusama, RC 350 chief engineer.

That design, however, challenged conventional production methods. It also inspired solutions. “Creating these characteristic lines required advanced steel stamping technologies that surpass conventional production line standards,” Lexus further wanted it to leave a distinct impression as the car motors down the road.

To help achieve this objective, a combination of multiple LED tail lamps and cutting edge lens technology give the rear lights a sparkling effect, reminiscent of glittering gems. 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 tail pipe exhaust outlets.

On the RC's interior, there is enough room in back for two passengers. The seats are designed for rear occupants to get "in and out" with minimal effort. As expected, the 2015 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. Additionally, large kneepads on the sides of the center console helps relieve leg fatigue.

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 the four dial gauge layout, the RC driver feels immediately connected to the car. Silver rings trim the speedometer and tachometer, which are flanked by engine temperature and fuel gauges. A 4.2 inch thin film transistor liquid crystal display mounted in the center of the instrument cluster presents a full color multi information display which is linked to the car’s multi-media system, displaying vehicle audio and navigation information.

The RC’s steering wheel integrates switches to control the phone, audio functions, cruise control and other on-board electronics. If you upgrade to their F-SPORT version, the car has a more aggressive outer appearance and special enhancements on the interior as well. The F-SPORT seats were also developed for additional support. Eight air bags are standard.

Under the hood is Lexus standard, naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 engine, designed for it's instantaneous response and performance with a rating of 306 horsepower output and is matched  with their highly acclaimed eight-speed automatic transmission. It's tied into three driver selectable modes — NORMAL, SPORT and MANUAL.

This model is also available in either rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. It's also built with an optional rear wheel steer feature. This of course raises the bar when it comes to overwhelming road hugging agility. If additional passing performance is on your wish list, the RC F Model comes with a powerful 5.0-liter V-8 engine rated at 467-horsepower.

This version is clearly track tuned with special tires, wheels and racing enhanced outer body components as well has heavy duty brakes and an automatic rear extend/retract air wing wind spoiler. It too is also matched with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Both the V-6 and the V-8 engines are recommended from the factory to operate on premium/high octane fuel.

All models are covered by the factories 48-month/50,000 mile basic limited warranty which also includes roadside assistance for 48 months/unlimited miles. The starting price of the 2015 Lexus RC line of sport coupes is listed at $42,790 with rear-wheel-drive. The RC F high performance version has a pricing structure of $62,400, which does not include $925 for shipping.