2017 Lexus RC350 F Sport

Here we go with the Alpha Numeric names. I wonder, does RC stand for Radio Control? I get that the 350 stands for the 3.5-liter V6. But what does RC mean?

Regardless let me start with the paint – Wow! Lexus calls it Infrared and boy was it red. And it was show car quality – just beautiful, one of the best paint jobs I’ve seen on a production car.

The RC350’s design, well I am not sure I like it. I like cars a little sleeker. But there’s no getting around that it stands out.

Lexus is realistic about the seating capacity of the coupe stating that it seats four. But like many coupes those in the rear seat shouldn’t be too tall. Leg room is at a premium if the front seats are slid fully rearward. I had to put a baby seat in the rear and it was a challenge; I had to do the police thing of putting my hand on the head to make sure I didn’t whack the child’s head! The front seats on the other hand are very comfortable.

I’ll skip ahead to what I usually end with – the price. On the face of it $43,010 (the base price) seems like a lot of money. It’s hard to compare a Lexus on an equal basis to similar vehicles but the price is in line with an Audi A5 Coupe or a BMW 4-Series Coupe. You could argue that the RC350 is just a gussied up Toyota and the German competition stand alone. So what? I judge a car on its own merits not its heritage.

What makes a sports coupe? Two things in my mind, handling and performance (one could argue that performance includes handling). I can’t speak to the ultimate handling of any car; I do not have access to a test track and I’m not that good a driver to wring the absolute best lap time.

I can tell you that the 3.5-liter is a thoroughly modern V6 – DOHC with continuously Variable Valve Timing with “intelligence.” It makes a modest 306 hp @ 6,400 rpm (Lotus gets over 400 hp from essentially this engine with a supercharger) and 277 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm.

The RC350 weighs a hefty 3,748 lbs yet Lexus says it will do 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds, the quarter mile in 14.3 seconds, and top out at 143 mph. These figures are very close to those obtained by some magazines.

Power goes through an 8-speed automatic transmission to the rear end (the RC is primarily a RWD vehicle although an AWD version is available). The AWD version adds 148 lbs to the front end.

The suspension is independent front and rear. The F Sport package includes bigger wheels and tires (235/40R19 on the front and 265/35R19 on the rear; these tires are summer rated only), and an adaptive suspension. Yes the suspension (including the tires) is stiff but the ride itself wasn’t harsh (except over some speed bumps).

Being a Lexus the RC is no bare bones sport coupe. It has a ton of luxury touches, maybe too many in my opinion. I’d prefer a more basic RC350. Yes I’d like a manual transmission but I can’t fault the operation of the automatic. It had the requisite paddle shifters and mode switch (ECO, Sport, and Sport S). My only complaint is that the default setting is ECO. I understand why but I’d like to be able to switch the setting to my preference and have it stay there when you restart the car.

Fuel economy probably isn’t a big worry for the purchasers of sport coupes. The RC350 isn’t great in the bigger scheme of things but for a luxury sport coupe it’s not bad. The EPA ratings are 28-mpg on the highway and 19-mpg around town.

Now back to the price. Although the base price is $43,010, the total price shot up to $56,323. The majority of the increase is from the F Sport package - $4,105. Other options and the delivery and handling fee also drive up the price.

I’d like to see an F Sport option that adds a supercharged engine and deletes at least 200 lbs. But I couldn’t afford it so I don’t think Lexus will build one just for me.


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