I think this car is gorgeous. It’s like a cartoon version of what you would draw a coupe to look like. It’s low, it’s wide and I love how the bottom rocker panels flare out. The front and rear might be too wild for some, and, if this was painted orange it would be too wild for me, but in a baser color, I think it looks great.
Inside, it’s very well-equipped, wth comfortable seats and the styling is clean. There are a few blind spots — this is very coupe-like, but the seating position is nice and low.
I don’t think the 241-hp four is strong enough to handle these sporty looks. It feels a little slow to get going, even though it hits max torque at just 1,650 rpm. It seems faster once you get going, but I wouldn’t call it sporty. The next step up is a 255-hp version of the company’s 3.5-liter V6, but that one is all-wheel drive, so I wouldn’t expect it to feel much better. The RC350, on the other hand, with 306 hp, feels quick.
Under normal driving, the eight-speed auto is fine, but using the paddles is pretty much pointless. It’s more a suggestion to shift. In sport mode it’s all a little bit better, it keeps the revs higher, hangs in gear longer. But the way the car feels, it needs to be faster.
The double wishbone front, multilink rear suspension brings a great mix of ride and handling. Smaller bumps are absorbed quietly and bigger potholes can be easily dodged. It doesn’t lean in corners or dive on braking and it begs to be driven faster, this just isn’t the engine for it. Oh, and the brakes are great. They’re sensitive, with a smaller stroke and plenty of grab.
The steering is a little numb. It has some artificial weight added, but it doesn’t feel connected to the road. It doesn’t seem to get tighter as you wind it up either. It’s just kinda, there.
I’m not crazy. I’m not going to say you have to get the AMG, M or F version, but the V6 wouldn’t be a bad place to start, especially for an enthusiast. This starts at $41,130, the V6 starts at $43K plus destination, call it $44K. That’s the easiest three grand I’d ever spend.
–Jake Lingeman, road test editor
Under the racy coupe profile and sharp angles, this particular flavor of Lexus RC is mostly polite daily driver, and a close cousin of the entry-luxury IS200 sedan. With 241 hp and close to two tons to move around, the RC200 isn’t a stoplight rocket, but it is a very nicely equipped sporty coupe with good looks and outstanding build quality; chances are it’d be fun at a track day too, while still netting high-20s fuel economy on the way there and back.
That’s a lot of stuff in the “pros” column. The downsides are the same as they are for any coupe — poor rear-seat room that’s hard to access, plus long doors that make tight parking spaces a challenge. Still, for drivers who don’t often carry more than two passengers but want something more dramatic than a sports sedan, the RC200t is a safe choice for a long-term relationship.
–Andrew Stoy, digital editor
OPTIONS: Navigation system ($1,470); Premium Package including blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, driver and passenger heated and ventilated seats ($1,240); Dynamic radar cruise control with pre-collision system ($500); illuminated door sills ($449); windshield deicer and headlamp cleaner ($220); door edge guards ($115); all-weather floor mats ($110)
On Sale: Now
Base Price: $41,130
As Tested Price: $45,234
Drivetrain: 2.0-liter DOHC turbocharged I4, RWD, 8-speed automatic
Output: 241 hp @ 5,800 rpm; 258 lb-ft @ 1,650-4,400 rpm
Curb Weight: 3,737 lb
Fuel Economy: 22/32/26 mpg(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)
Pros: Sporty looks, great chassis tuning
Cons: Engine doesn’t back it up
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