The RC 350 is an all-new model for Lexus. The 2+2 sports coupe is not based on a previous sedan platform and was instead designed from a clean sheet. The RC's chassis builds on the successes of its model range however, and the result is exceptional stiffness. Lexus deems the RC "the best-handling regular production Lexus yet."
While the car's shape screams its sporting intentions with every curve, the RC's performance begins underhood. Power comes from a naturally aspirated 3.5L V6 -- good for 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. The all-aluminum engine features intelligent dual variable valve timing (VVT-i) and Lexus' direct and port fuel injection. Rear-wheel-drive is standard, and the engine is mated to an 8-speed Sports Program Direct Shift transmission. Drivers can select one of three modes: Normal, Sport and Manual. In Manual mode, this translates to downshifts in just a tenth of a second, with full engine speed matching.
Lexus also offers the RC 350 in all-wheel drive, or "all-weather drive." With a 6-speed automatic transmission, the system uses an electronic center differential to vary torque from the standard 20/80 front/rear to as much as 50/50. Braking in all RC 350s is quick and powerful in the RC 350, thanks to 13.1-inch and 12.2-inch rotors front and rear.
Outside, all RC 350s feature standard 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, and heated exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals. Inside, the RC includes NuLuxe interior surfaces with aluminum and wood accents, a 60/40 split-fold rear seat, automatic climate control, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, cruise control, HomeLink, a 7-inch VGA screen, a 256-watt, 10-speaker audio system, back-up camera and more. The all-wheel drive RC 350 also features heated front seats.
Factory options abound, including 19-inch wheels, a blind spot monitor, leather seating, heated and ventilated front seats, parking assist, a moonroof, navigation and an 835-watt Mark Levinson 17-speaker premium surround sound system. The all-wheel drive can be optioned with an All-Weather Package that includes headlamp washers, an instant-heat PTC heater, and a windshield de-icer. The Luxury Package adds many standalone options such as the blindspot indicator, heated/ventilated leather seats, rain-sensing wipers, and more. Finally, the optional F Sport Package adds a mesh grille, 19-inch alloy wheels with summer (RWD) or all-season (AWD) tires, adaptive variable suspension with a Sport+ driving mode, aluminum pedals, sport seats with contrast stitching, unique badging, and more.
From Lexus' ultra-performance range of vehicles comes the RC F, which differs from the RC 350 in significant ways. For starters, it is powered by a 32-valve 5.0L V8 that makes 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel-drive only the RC F includes the eight-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic, a Torsen limited-slip differential, huge 15-inch front and 13.6-inch rear vented disc brakes, and unique "F" exterior and interior treatments. Lexus claims the RC F will hit 60 mph from a stop in just 4.4 seconds, on its way to a 170-mph top speed.
Safety is paramount on the RC 350, and standard features include several airbags for front and side, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist, and traction control.
With the introduction of the revised and refreshed 2020 Lexus RC F earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show, fans of the Lexus F Performance were treated to an even more track-focused variant of the brand's sportiest model. Perhaps the second most exotic vehicle to come out of the F division -- after the Lexus LFA, all those years ago -- the appropriately named 2020 Lexus RC F Track Edition builds on the performance of the new RC F with ridiculous amounts of carbon fiber and weight reduction.
In order to showcase how the Track Edition performs on an actual track, Lexus invited me to The Thermal Club circuit in southern California for a few hot laps.
The updates to the 2020 RC F start in the engine bay where the 5.0-liter V8 engine gets a 5-horsepower bump and six more pound-feet of torque thanks to intake tweaks that help it breathe easier and more freely. Output now sits at 472 hp and 395 lb-ft.
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