If the new Lexus RC F Coupe was the hot Chipotle BBQ flavor, the 2015 Lexus RC 350 Coupe is the medium flavor but still very tasty.
We ate until our hearts were content.
We’ve driven both now but we would pick the milder version over the hotter RC F as the best for performance for the dollar. There’s plenty of competition out there for performance from the Audi A5, BMW 4 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe, and Cadillac ATS coupe but the Lexus holds its own
The Lexus RC is an all-new two-door sports car for 2015 with two styles or “flavors.” The Lexus RC 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine (Medium BBQ) while the high-performance RC F features a 5.0-liter V8 powerplant (HOT BBQ).
Features & Options
This week we tested a rear-drive, Ultra White 2015 Lexus RC 350 ($42,790) with the F SPORT package ($3,985). This package adds a TFT instrument cluster, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, heated and ventilated F SPORT front seats, aluminum sport pedals, an adaptive suspension, Sport S+ mode, 19-inch wheels, and unique interior and exterior styling with F SPORT badging.
It also includes blind spot and rear traffic monitoring/alert.
An optional Navigation package ($2,610) included Lexus Enform with real-time weather, sports, stocks, and fuel prices with a year subscription. A 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium sound system was also included.
Foglamps ($410), Intuitive Parking Assist ($500), moonroof ($1,100) and variable gear ratio steering ($1,900) rounded out the options.
Total MSRP, including destination: $54,220.
The cabin’s two-tone black and burgundy color scheme is very attractive and the F SPORT front seats were comfortable and supportive during our spirited driving this week. The interior features plenty of soft touch material and the quality is first class.
The F SPORT badge on the bottom of the steering wheel and aluminum sport pedals set the cabin apart from the standard model.
The 10-way power driver seat comes with three pre-set adjustments for the different drivers in the family. Push button start and the cooled front seats made the drives comfortable in the August heat we had in Denver.
The back seat is tight and only useful for smaller children, cargo, or very short trips for average size adults – though this is normal for a sport coupe.
The RC still keeps an analog clock, which we think is an interesting choice.
Engine & Power Specs
The Lexus RC 350 Coupe is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. The RC 350 rear-wheel-drive flavor gets an 8-speed automatic with steering wheel paddle shifters.
It comes with ECO, Normal, Sport, and Snow Drive Modes. Fuel mileage estimates are 19/28 city/highway mpg and 22 combined mpg. The RC 350 does require premium unleaded fuel.
We would choose the Lexus RC 350 F SPORT over the hotter RC-F Coupe for a number of reasons. As a daily driver, the rear-wheel drive RC 350 provides a sporty feel with enough power to handle nearly any driving situation. The optional F SPORT package features a firmer, adaptive suspension, different gauges, and other performance goodies that make this Lexus coupe high on the fun to drive meter.
The hot RC-F with 467hp and performance suspension is built for extreme driving and track day excursions. The milder Lexus RC 350 is well-suited for the performance enthusiast looking for an enjoyable, capable daily driver.
The Lexus RC 350 handled extremely well in the curves as we tested the coupe on mountain roads. The 306hp V6 has enough power for most driving enthusiasts and we had no problem powering past slower drivers going up I-70, into the mountains, at altitude.
If you want the more “torquey” response of the turbocharged engines used by rivals, you may want to look elsewhere, but the naturally aspirated engine in the Lexus RC 350 has a smooth, linear acceleration feel suited for daily driving.
ECO mode, predictably, feels wimpy as its primary goal is fuel economy.
However, we spent most of the week in Normal mode which is good for commuting, but when we turned the dial to Sport, the RC 350 came alive. We were able to use the paddle shifters and change gears manually for spirited driving.
For the price ($54,000) we would definitely chose the milder Lexus RC 350 over the RC F ($74,000).
The Lexus RC 350 is a good choice for those looking for a fun car.
It’s not as engaging as its German rivals, but the Lexus is a solid choice in the luxury sport coupe segment. The RC 350 F SPORT offers ample power, agile handling, and makes for a very comfortable daily driver.
2015 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Coupe Photo Gallery
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