If you’re one of those folks who think that the only “true” performance cars come from Germany, you might not have been paying attention to what Lexus has been doing the last few years.

Equip it right, and today’s Lexus can run with the best of ‘em….and still deliver that seamless smoothness that Lexus is know for.

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Lexus new-for’15 rear-wheel-drive RC Coupe is a great example of Lexus’ new-found lust for performance.

If you settle for nothing but the fastest, the RC F tops the line with a 467 HP 5.0 liter V-8.   It’ll set you back somewhere in the $60’s….and it’ll run with just about anything on the road.   Unfortunately, it’d take a track-day to fully explore all that this car is able to deliver.

The RC350, on the other hand, delivers all the performance that you’ll probably ever be able to actually use…wraps it up in an eye-catching body….and delivers the whole deal for something in the $40’s or $50’s….depending upon how you check off the options boxes.

Let’s start with the look.

The RC350 is a two-door sport coupe…..with enough room and just about everything that the two up front could want…..and a rear seat best suited for a coat and laptop….or a few bags of groceries.

But back to the look.   About the same time that Lexus began to take performance seriously, they sculpted a new buff look to compliment their new athletic abilities.

I wouldn’t call it an “angry” look….but the RC does give the impression that it just might be easily teed-off.

And when teed-off, the RC350 can run and handle impressively.   It uses the same 3.5 liter, 306 HP V-6 that is shared with a number of other vehicles in the Lexus lineup…..running thru an 8-speed automatic……unless you opt for all-wheel-drive, where you’ll get a 6-speed auto and lose 2 hwy MPG.

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0 – 60 in under 6 seconds and a 140+ top end tell only part of the story. Lexus’ RC350 has the balance and the brakes to match its’ acceleration….without losing its “Lexusness”.   Yes….while the RC350 can run with the big dogs, it’ll run smoothly and quietly….even with our F Sport performance rubber.

Entry starts at $43,715 including delivery fees.   All-wheel drive will add about $2,200.   Our tester was an F Sport version….adding $3,385 and delivering 19” vs 18’s….the performance rubber, special F Sport heated and ventilated seats, aluminum trim, and a performance variable suspension that tightens up when shifted to “Sport Plus”.

With a few more options like blind-spot monitoring, Mark Levinson premium audio, cross-traffic alert, intuitive parking assist, variable ratio steering and more, our F Sport RC350 topped out at $53,880.

In a weeks’ worth of mixed driving, we got just a hair better than the EPA #’s….getting 21.5 in stop and go….and squeezing out an even 29 highway during a law-abiding two-lane stint.   Drive it like it’s meant to be driven, and you’ll probably get a couple MPG less….and have a lot more fun.   Premium recommended.

Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Infiniti and others all make solid contenders in the 40 – 50K Coupe arena. Lexus’ new RC350….with its’ sexy styling and the chops to back it all up…can hold its’ own here….and then some.

 

This Lexus RC350 F Sport was provided to Daryl Killian for review by Prestige: The Concierge Experience

 

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