2017 Lexus RC 350 2-Door Coupe

Susan Frissell

lexusrccoupeOne of our favorite Lexus models, the RC 350 coupe looks as good as it feels. By feels we mean you have a sense you’re driving a ‘sports’ car, with body-fitting seats and a growl that begets power. The only problem this test-drive Lexus presented was remaining in the fleet during the Chicago winter weather! I should have known the tires on this tester would still be summer tires. But I ventured out in the snow anyway, one blustery night.

Not a good idea. I managed to get onto the expressway after dinner and head north, not pushing the accelerator any higher than 30 mph. It was a slippery ride home.

Needless to say, I parked the RC in the lot and left it until pick up on Tuesday. I wasn’t taking any chances putting a dent in this beauty. Had this been part of my stable, it sure would have sat out the icy, snowy winter months, protected in a nice warm garage. Hard to know how it would have handled with winter tires, but I would guess, much better.

A distinctive looking Lexus, the 2017 RC 350 we tested came in Atomic Silver; not the best of colors for this beauty. We have a neighbor who owns one in the Red and it is stunning. We especially like the RC’s plushy, sport interior and comfortable, Recaro-like seats. The RC 350 does have rear seats, although not terribly fitting for most adults. If you’re wanting to carry luggage or ‘stuff,’ the rear seats fold and split, offering decent cargo space.

Lexus RC 350 interior

Lexus RC 350 interior

All-wheel-drive is available on the RC 350 and we recommend it if you’re planning to make this vehicle a year-round driver. We also would like to see one equipped with the optional F Sport package. We especially like the F Sport on the IS 250 compact sedan.

As all Lexus models do, the RC 350 comes equipped with just about all you’ll need in a Coupe, including the usual high-tech safety features, such as 8 airbags, driver and passenger front, knee and side (8) and side curtain (2). Anti-lock braking with electronic-brakeforce distribution and brake assist, stability control, LED headlights and LED running lights, location specific tire pressure monitoring system, forward collision warning/adaptive cruise, and Back-up camera.

Dual Chrome Exhaust adds to the look and sound of this Coupe. The driver’s seat is of course, 10-way power, with 2-way lumbar; passenger, 8-way power. Heated seats are available in the Premium package. Other options include park assist, a sunroof, navigation, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and Mark Levinson audio system, with 17 speakers, and leather seating.

The Toyota/Lexus Entune system is excellent, complete with a stolen vehicle locator. The RC still has the Remote Touch control pad and some off-center, oddly stacked components. Seems dated, but we’re used to it now.

Lexus RC 350 wheel

Lexus RC 350 wheel

Competition for the Lexus RC 350 includes such established luxury sport coupes as the BMW 4-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Audi A5. Offered in several trim levels: 200t, 300 AWD (both added in 2016), 350 AWD, each model offers the F Sport option.

Are there some dislikes about the Lexus RC350? Just a few. Some may have to adjust to the RC design, but we think it’s beautiful; one has to become accustomed to the car’s newish front end. It took some time, but we think it’s edgy and like it on the other Lexus models.

A manual gearbox is not offered on the RC 350; seemingly odd, however, it’s a ‘luxury’ sport coupe. Mileage isn’t remarkable, but then would you really expect it in a vehicle like this? When comparing with other Lexus models, one may be surprised at the 19/28, average 22 mpg return. Actually, I get close to 30 mpg in my 2003 Corvette.

The RC 350 may not feel as responsive as a purist would expect, but it has some punch. It’s more growly (?) than expected. Some reviewers would like to see a lighter weight coupe, with a more powerful engine. Points are given, however, for exterior design, steering/handling, seat comfort and interior design.

For 2017, the RC 300 AWD and 200t offer triple-beam LED headlamps and standard Scout GPS Link (smartphone app displaying directions on center screen for cars without nav), while the RC 350 has standard performance dampers.

The base RC 200t brags best fuel economy and a starting price of $40,000. Not having driven the RC 300 or the 200t, we can’t speak to them in comparison to the RC 350. Compared with the 350s 306 horse V-8, the RC 300 pairs the Lexus 255 horsepower V-6 with a six-speed automatic trans. We found the RC 350 nicely balanced and can only imagine what adding the F Sport package might be like.

The RC’s interior is Lexus top-of-the-line and the seats are large enough for most body types. They are wide and of top quality. Pricing for the RC starts in the lower $40,000s, rising to the mid-$60,000-range (RC F)

It won’t disappoint.


MSRP: $43,010; total vehicle price $48,289; destination $975
Engine: 3.5-liter V8, 24-valve, DOHC, direct-and-port injection, VVT, 306 hp., 277 lb,-ft. torque
Transmission: 8-speed electronic autom.-inc Multi-mode and intelligence (ECT-i) with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Wheelbase: 107.5 in.
Height: 54.9in.
Curb Weight: 3737 lbs.
Length: 184.8 in.
Width: 62.2 in.
Tires: P265/35YR19, rear; P235/40YR19, front
Wheels: 19×19, rear, 19×8, front aluminum-alloy, split-five spoke design (summer tires, option $795)
Options: Windshield Dalbac? And Headlamp….??($220); illuminated door sills ($449), moonroof ($1100), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control w/Pre-Collision System ($500), Premium Package: includes Blind-spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Driver/Passenger Heated/Ventilated Seats ($1,240).
Warranty: 4 yr/50,000-mile Basic; 6 yr/unlimited Corrosion; 6 yr/70,000-mile Drivetrain, 1 yr/10,000-mile maintenance, 4 yr/unlimited roadside assistance.
EPA fuel economy: 22/32 mpg.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 17.4 gal.