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The best non-supercar Lexus to get your hands on

Credit: NAUMAN FAROOQ

It's no supercar, but it's close. The Lexus RC 350 is a fraction of the cost and drives like a winner.


Nauman Farooq | Interrobang | Sports | March 30th, 2015



Since the birth of the Lexus brand in 1989, the Japanese luxury auto, which is owned by Toyota, has enjoyed a reputation of making comfortable and reliable vehicles. However, it also has a reputation for making boring vehicles that only appeal to those who don’t find driving exciting.

So, Lexus spent a lot of years developing a supercar, which resulted in the LFA that was released in 2011. It wasn’t going to be a car you’d see on every street corner, however, mainly because it costs more than $400,000.

But I’m not too glum for not having driven the LFA because of the car I drove for a week. The car you see here today is the 2015 Lexus RC coupe, and it is in some ways the spiritual successor to the LFA. It might not be as hardcore as the LFA, but it is the first new coupe by Lexus since the company stopped making its much-loved V10 supercar.

As you can tell by its styling, the RC surely has been inspired by the LFA – the flared fenders and the aggressive tail is supercar-like. I love the looks of the RC coupe, especially when one is outfitted with its optional F Sport pack. This package completes the looks of the RC, but it is much more than just aesthetics. The F Sport also adds adaptive variable suspension so you can have a comfy ride one minute and a firm ride when you’re having fun on winding roads.

The F Sport package also gives you LFA-inspired instrumentation, which has a main screen that reveals more information. The dashboard alone is enough to opt for the F Sport package. Couple that with aluminum pedals and a few more goodies, and you’ll run out of excuses not to tick the F Sport options box.

There are more options to go through. Let’s start with the engine. You can either have a 3.5 litre V6, or a 5.0 litre V8 in the model simply called RC F, but I’ll concentrate on the RC 350 F Sport.

This model can be had in either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (AWD) layout. There are some differences between these two layouts, apart from the obvious. The reardrive model gets an eight-speed automatic and four-wheel steering. The all-wheel drive model gets a six-speed auto box and a conventional steering system. Not having driven the rear-drive model, I can’t comment on which layout is better, but I will say that the all-wheel drive model was a delight to drive. Even on cold, slippery roads it offered tons of grip and the shift speed for the six-speed box is quicker than I expected.

It gets better.

Put it in Sport mode and the car feels sharper with your inputs, and the noise it makes when you open the throttle will make car fans smile. This is a fun car to drive, and it made me smile every single time I took it out, regardless of the duration of the drive.

It is quick too. Make use of all its 307 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque, and you’ll sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in six seconds. If you start enjoying too much, your fuel economy will suffer, hence I averaged 13.4 L/100 km on a cold week with a car fitted with winter tires. Lexus claims the AWD model can average 11.0 L/100 km on a combined city and highway cycle – a test probably done in the summer. I also hardly ever drove it in the Eco mode, which also probably hurt my numbers.

OK, so far we’ve covered lots of things that are good about the RC 350 AWD F Sport, but are there any flaws? Two come to mind quickly.

First, even though it is a two-plustwo coupe, there is little room in the back seats for any normal-sized humans. It’s best to use these back seats to toss your groceries. Secondly, the touch-pad style controller for the infotainment system is painfully irritating to use and should not be fiddled with when you’re on the move. This touch-pad also decided to freeze one morning and didn’t work at all. However, the next time I started the car, all was OK.

Apart from the se niggles, I loved my time with this latest coupe from Lexus. It covers distances with ease and is a pleasure to drive. In short, it does what I want a luxury coupe to do, and it does it well. On top of it all, it isn’t even extremely expensive, with prices starting from $54,000. The well-equipped tester costs $63,278, which is a lot less than I expected it to be.

I like the 2015 Lexus RC 350 AWD F Sport so much that if I had to live with one car for the next 12 months, I’d want this one.
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