Lexus RC review
Striking Lexus RC is one of the most imposing four-seat coupes around, but also has a high-quality cabin and efficient hybrid
The Lexus RC is the perfect two-door, four-seater coupe for those buyers who don't want to stick to the Germanic norm. Its dramatic styling will sit well with those who like to stand out from the crowd, while it’s typically Lexus in terms of its top-quality cabin design, long kit list and strong refinement.
But the RC doesn’t deliver the polished drive its looks promise, as the BMW 4 Series Coupe is more agile, while the Mercedes C-Class Coupe is more comfortable. Its weight blunts its performance, although the hybrid version has decent running costs. In addition the RC is also less practical than rivals, while the range isn't as broad, either.
The bold looking Lexus RC is a two-door coupe with room for four inside. It was first revealed at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, and arrived in UK dealers two years later. The car has since gained a light facelift in 2019 and is still one of the best-looking cars in its class, in our opinion.
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The Lexus RC range isn't as broad as some of its rivals, because Lexus doesn't offer diesel engines or manual gearboxes in any of its cars. Instead, the RC features the same single engine as the IS saloon - the RC is essentially the IS in coupe form - so you get a 220bhp 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol-electric hybrid badged RC 300h, which comes with a E-CVT gearbox only.
If this doesn’t sound sporty enough, Lexus also sells the RC F, which is a rival to models such as the Mercedes-AMG C63 and BMW M4. This packs a 471bhp 5.0-litre V8 and eight-speed auto (again, no manual), and manages 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds, which is considerably faster than either of the standard RC models.
The RC 300h comes in standard RC, F Sport and Takumi trims as part of a range refresh that arrived in 2019. All are decently equipped, while the F Sport versions add a more aggressive look, and Takumi models come luxuriously equipped with all the kit you could ever ask for. Prices start from around £38,000, although F Sport and Takumi models break the £40,000 barrier, so will cost £450 in road tax in years two to six of ownership. The RC F starts at just under £60,000, which is on a par with BMW and Mercedes rivals.
Opposition for the standard Lexus RC range comes in the shape of the Audi A5 Coupe, BMW 4 Series Coupe and Mercedes C-Class Coupe, although all three offer a broader range of models to choose from, most of which deliver a more enjoyable driving experience. Elsewhere, the Infiniti Q60 is a direct rival to the RC, although there's no hybrid option on offer. Beyond these coupes, you could consider some four or five-door compact executive saloons, such as the Jaguar XE, Audi A4/A5 Sportback, BMW 3 Series/4 Series Gran Coupe and Mercedes C-Class.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingStriking Lexus RC is one of the most imposing four-seat coupes around, but also has a high-quality cabin and efficient hybrid
- 2Engines, performance and driveHybrid is smooth and efficient, but turbo petrol disappoints. RC’s weight blunts performance and handling, so it’s more of a cruiser
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsRC’s hybrid option is rare in this sector but the 200t turbo should be more efficient. The lack of diesel is a hindrance
- 4Interior, design and technologyStriking styling on the outside, familiar Lexus quality on the inside and lots of equipment to play with
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe RC is certainly comfortable for two, but you’ll struggle with anyone bigger than children in the back and the boot is small
- 6Reliability and SafetyReliability should be good but more active safety kit would have been nice to see in the RC