Lexus RC review - Interior, design and technology
Striking styling on the outside, familiar Lexus quality on the inside and lots of equipment to play with
The Lexus RC’s main appeal for most will be in its arresting looks, which still look fresh in the face of newer competition. We’re becoming used to the Japanese firm’s range of cars getting increasingly bold styling, but the RC is perhaps the prettiest of the lot.
Lexus claims the RC name stands for Radical Coupe, but under the skin the two-door is closely related to the IS compact executive saloon. That model is, in turn, based on the same Toyota New N platform that also underpins the larger GS four-door. All these cars share a traditional front-engined, rear-wheel-drive layout, plus they feature double-wishbone front suspension and a multi-link rear axle.
The dramatic Lexus spindle grille is combined with sharp LED lights and a jutting spoiler to give the front-end real presence. The coupe’s side view is typically muscular and the angular at the rear is certainly distinctive. It’s not to all tastes, but park the Lexus RC next to a BMW 4 Series, and there’s no question which one will draw the most looks. You can also opt for some seriously vivid colours, most notably the optional ‘Solar Flare’ orange paintwork. F Sport versions gain even greater kerb appeal courtesy of the aggressive-looking bodykit and 19-inch alloys.
Inside, the dashboard design has been lifted almost unchanged from the IS. That means mostly excellent fit and finish and premium materials, but not a great deal of flair. Look harder and there is some lovely details, including strips of white ambient lighting on the doors and interior lights that you swipe your finger across to turn on. Another neat touch is the swipe ventilation controls, which are classier than regular knobs but not quite as easy to use.
The driving position is low-slung and hugely adjustable, while the wheel and seats are both leather and electric in all models. Equipment in general is top-notch, with all trims getting sat nav, dual-zone climate control, heated seats (cooled on some models) and cruise control. One thing that is missing, however, is equipment like autonomous emergency braking, which is available on several other rivals.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
All Lexus RCs get a 10.3-inch non-touchscreen display controlled by a touchpad. This can be infuriating to use – especially on the move – as the cursor-style control method isn’t very accurate.
Lexus currently lags behind the best manufacturers when it comes to infotainment. The latest system added to the range at the last facelift represents a step up from the previous model, but it still can’t match those offered by Audi, Mercedes or BMW. Sat-nav is now standard across the range, as are connected services – but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not offered.
All models get a reversing camera and Lexus’ Safety System +, which includes adaptive cruise, road sign assist, lane keep assist and automatic high beam headlights, along with ‘Pre Crash Safety’, the brand’s automatic emergency braking system. Top-spec Takumi models get an upgraded 17-speaker Mark Levinson stereo.
In this review
- 1Lexus RC reviewStriking 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 technology - currently readingStriking 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