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.
The luxury performance coupe segment is dominated by heavy-hitters such as the BMW M4 and . But Lexus has been playing in this space, too. The sharp-looking RC F launched in 2015 -- a coupe-bodied successor to the outrageous IS F that came before it -- and it gets a few meaningful updates for the 2020 model year that make it even more attractive than before.,
There's no denying the RC F is a handsome car, especially decked out in the Infrared color of my tester. But for 2020, the big coupe gets a few small styling tweaks. The cool-looking stacked tailpipes are still here, but they're set off by new taillights and a redesigned bumper. Up front, you'll notice larger air intakes and restyled headlights. The huge spindle grille is as prominent here as it's ever been, though it's actually a bit smaller for 2020.
The RC F gets a few engineering tweaks, too, cutting 56 pounds from the coupe's weight thanks to lighter components in the manifold and air conditioning system, as well as a bumper support piece made from a mix of carbon fiber and aluminum.
The Good ~ Hot damn this thing looks good ~ V8 engine brings a nice rumble to the cabin
The Bad ~ Enform infotainment system needs a major overhaul ~ Transmission could be snappier
The Bottom Line The 2020 Lexus RC F is a gorgeous sports car that can deliver a few backroad thrills, but other entries in the class do it better.
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