Lexus RC 350 features edgy looks, balanced performance

SHARE Lexus RC 350 features edgy looks, balanced performance
SHARE Lexus RC 350 features edgy looks, balanced performance

At first glance, the exterior style of the 2017 Lexus RC 350 may be as polarizing as a Sunday-morning political discussion. While both Republicans and Democrats might agree that the RC’s distinct, edgy design is an attention-getter, they probably would disagree on whether it’s attractive (or even a sports car).

Addressing both points, the RC 350 is definitely a sport coupe, and as for the visual appeal — well, that’s left to the eye of the beholder. Those edgy lines may be a bit too drastic for some, and while I like the huge grille, some say the un-Lexus-like size is too much.

The 2017 Lexus RC 350 is a stellar rear-wheel-drive luxury sport coupe that is three inches shorter than the smallest Lexus sedan, the IS, but more than one inch wider. That makes for a really stout, athletic stance.


Maybe the most captivating aspect of the RC (200t) model is that the base trim can be had for the mere price of $40,155. Whether you love the grille size and shape or not, the RC at that price is pretty impressive. Prices can climb to the mid-$60,000s for a top-line RC F.

Standard equipment includes leatherette upholstery, automatic climate control, LED headlamps and taillights, satellite radio and Bluetooth audio streaming. Options include real leather upholstery, 19-inch wheels with summer tires, heated and ventilated front seats, sunroof, navigation and 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system.


I found my RC 350 tester to be a fun and memorable drive. The Lexus RC 350 features a 3.5-liter V-6 producing 306 horsepower that’s mated to a new-age eight-speed automatic transmission. For this low-slung sport coupe and its 3,737-pound weight, that’s plenty of ponies to push or pull the RC in any direction you desire.

Available with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, the RC 350 grips the road and hops to attention whenever ordered to jump. The exhaust note is a gritty growl that is fun and fashionable. Adaptive controls for the transmission, throttle and steering give it a nice balance, with a few rough performance edges.

Like its siblings, the IS and GS sedans, the Lexus RC uses a double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension tuned on the firm side but comfortable enough for casual driving. The RC 350 is not a “racer,” but it hits the right balance of ride and handling for this class. I found the electric power steering to offer just the right feel.

Cabin comfort

The RC 350’s cabin is a comfortable, luxurious cockpit in the front and a tiny rear seat space aft. Heated and cooled seats offer extra comfort; supple leather surfaces abound. Operation of audio and climate controls is highly intuitive and easily handled in a heads-up manner. Sight lines do have some blind spots to get used to.

IIHS calls the Lexus RC a Top Safety Pick Plus, with Good marks and an Advanced rating for front crash protection with the optional safety equipment, including emergency self-braking.

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