Since the launch of the Lexus brand, Toyota has been trying to rival luxury automakers at all levels. Toyota uses the RC to rival other luxury sports coupes especially those from German automakers Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW. The coupe which is offered in either RWD or AWD carries over with minor changes for the 2018 model year. The only major change is the discontinuation of the 200t trim powered by a 2.0 L, turbocharged inline-4. The engine has however been retained and it powers an RWD version of the 2018 Lexus RC 300.
2018 Lexus RC Exterior
The exterior of the Lexus RC is very polished; I think the model beats the Germans in this sector. The design has borrowed from other Lexus models. The front look itself is very dramatic; it’s characterized by a deep hourglass grille. The F SPORT package has a bolder look with a full mesh on the grille. The body of the model features curvy surfaces that enhance its looks. The roof line is also cleverly designed more so the place where it meets the with the rear fenders. The F SPORT package is available to all models; it bundles together excellent handling technologies including Lexus Dynamic Handling (LDH), Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) and Dynamic Rear-wheel Steering (DRS). The base RC 300 RWD features as standard 18-inch alloy wheels with an option for 19-inch units. The F Sport package features 10 twin-spoke, 19-inch alloy wheels which have a sculpted shape. All models feature a staggered arrangement with wider rear wheels.
The performance-oriented RC F has a black mesh on the grille, unlike the outgoing model’s chrome trim. The RC F is more aggressive than models with the F SPORT package. It features stacked exhaust tips, finned vents as well as an active rear wing. The RC F also features Torsen limited-slip differential and a modified stability control system. A torque-vectoring differential is optional; it helps the RC F maneuver corners better. It comes with three modes which are Standard, Slalom as well as Track. The RC F also features a double-wishbone suspension on all four corners; it uses adaptive dampers as well as stabilizer bars that feature ball joints. Lower control arms, bars and bushings of the RC F are also beefier than those of standard models. The RC F rides on 19-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires with stopping power coming from Brembo rotors and brakes (15-inch units at the front and 13.6-inch units at the rear).
The cabin looks similar to other current Lexus interiors. The dash is characterized by gigantic horizontal elements. Base models still feature a 7.0-inch navigation screen but top trims get a 10.25-inch unit. The dash is horizontally divided with the top half being occupied by the screen while a touchpad is mounted below.
Even base trims are upholstered in supple leather seats which are mounted low. The seats are made of high-density foam which has helped achieve excellent contours. The leather upholstery has a beautiful contrast stitching. The rear seat is very tight such that even bigger children will find it pretty tight. The rear seat is actually a bench that can be folded to allow access to the trunk.
In terms of safety, the RC features 8 SRS airbags and comes with the Lexus Safety System+ that includes Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with steering assist, Pre-Collision System (PCS), High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Intelligent High Beams (IHB). There is also an option for a Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) that aids drivers when changing lanes and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA).
Engine and performance
The RC coupe is offered with three different engines. The base engine is a turbocharged 2.0 L twin-scroll inline-4 mill with D-4ST direct injection as well as an intercooler. The mill produces 241 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The engine uses an 8-speed automatic transmission channeling power to the rear wheels. The engine is quite economical as it returns 22 mpg in the city, 32 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg on combined drives. The engine was previously used on the discontinued 200t trim; it will now power the RC 300 RWD. The RC 300 AWD, on the other hand, will be powered by a 3.5 L, V-6 with a D-4S system that features both direct and port injection. The engine returns 260 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. The engine uses a 6-speed automatic transmission. The RC 350 uses a tweaked version of the V-6 engine that produces 311 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. For the RC 350, an 8-speed SPDS transmission is used to channel power to the rear wheels; AWD models are hooked up with a 6-speed automatic system.
The performance-oriented 2018 Lexus RC F uses a 5.0 L, V-8 good for 467 hp. The engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic system with paddle shifters. The RCF takes 4.4 seconds to finish a 0-60 mph dash. The coupe has a top speed of 170 mph. The model is a bit slower than rivals due to its heavier curb weight. The RCF has various driving modes for various situations; they are Normal, Eco, Sport and Sport+. There is also a manual mode for those looking to get more hands-on.
Price and release date
Lexus is yet to release official prices of the RC coupe but considering the model has only underwent a minor refresh, prices won’t change much. Sales will commence later this year.
The 2018 Lexus RC competes with a host of reputable luxury-sport coupes including Audi A5, BMW 4 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Cadillac ATS coupe. The Lexus RC F, on the other hand, rivals the Audi S4 and BMW M4.