The styling of the 2021 Lexus RC just works. Given what it is – a practical sports car with a notional back seat – that probably means Lexus will sell a bunch of them. Coupes like the RC continue to thrive as they seem to hit a sweet spot: they are not as common as your average sedan, yet not as expensive as your average luxury performance coupe.
Basically, the new stuff for 2021 breaks down like this. First, there’s a limited-production Black Line Special Edition with Zero Halliburton Luggage. You know, that’s that metal, streamlined luggage that spies use to hand off 12 million dollars worth in bearer bonds to their cut-out in Vienna on a foggy night. I’m a sucker for fitted luggage, and, flashy though it may be, Zero Halliburton is great stuff. So I kind of like this 2021 addition.
Next, there’s the standard blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and heated electrochromic exterior mirrors. It’s funny this stuff wasn’t standard already. I mean, Kias and Hyundais have standard blind-spot monitors. And finally, there is a new color, Grecian Water. It’s pretty if that’s a shade that works for you.
2021 Lexus RC: Black Line Special Edition
The Black Line Special Edition treatment is available on both the RC 300 and RC 350, but limited to just 350 units. Black Line Special Editions are standard with Premium Triple-Beam LED headlamps, 19-inch F SPORT wheels (finished in Black Sputtering Chrome), and darkened exhaust tips. Exterior colors include Ultra White or the all-new Cloudburst Gray. On the inside, there is a Black Nuluxe and Ash Wood theme accented by silver stitching all over the place.
2021 Lexus RC: Engine & Powertrain
Engine-wise, Lexus RC buyers get a choice of three drivetrains. The RC 300 is powered by a 2.0-liter in-line four-cylinder that has a bolted on twin-scroll and inter-cooled turbocharger. It puts out a not-bad 241 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. of torque. The eight-speed Sport Direct-Shift automatic sends power to the rear wheels. Huzzah! Have fun with that!
If you’re more of a “traction at all times” sort of person, then the RC 300 AWD is your car. There’s a six-speed automatic transmission mated to a 3.5-liter V6 putting out 260 horsepower and 236 lb-ft. of torque.
The top powerplant, a 3.5-liter V6 that boasts direct and port fuel injection (isn’t that an either/or thing!?), comes in the RC 350 and RC 350 AWD. Lexus squeezes 311 horsepower and 280 lb-ft. of torque from the 3.5-liter engine.
The all-wheel drive RC 350 has a six-speed automatic, while the rear-wheel drive RC 350 is equipped with an eight-speed Sport Direct-Shift transmission. Bottom line: The RC 350 can accelerate from zero to 60 in 5.8 seconds (RWD) and six seconds flat (AWD). An available Torsen limited-slip rear differential helps maximize your ability to power out of corners.
Interior Treatments: Clean & Fresh
Regardless of what’s under the hood, the RC’s interior shows great attention to detail and high build quality. In all, there are seven exclusive interior color combinations available, including those for the F Sport. From the meticulous stitching to the distinctive wood trims, the RC is obviously not a bargain basement automobile.
Perforated leather trim is available, along with a choice of either Linear Espresso or Linear Dark Mocha wood accents to set everything off. There’s a chic analog clock and refined gauges for an extra level of sophistication.
Dual-zone climate control is standard, of course, and to help ensure the cabin stays as fresh as it is beautiful, a smog-sensing system automatically switches into recirculation mode if it senses an elevated level of pollutants outside.
2021 Lexus RC: Pricing & Availability
Lexus has yet to release the pricing information and exact availability for the 2021 RC. At the moment, the 2020 Lexus RC 300 starts at $41,295 with rear-wheel drive, while the all-wheel drive models begin at $43,985. The RC 350 starts at $44,225 with rear-wheel drive or $46,390 if you opt for all-wheel drive. F Sport models start at $46,365 and go up from there.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.