Words: Stephen Spyropoulos
Photography: Stephen Spyropoulos
Published: June 14, 2016
From picking up groceries at Costco by day, to tackling a road course by night, the RC Coupe is by no means your everyday Lexus. Combining power, luxury, and refinement, the RC 300 is a consistent performer that is just on the cusp of being an all-star player.
Aside from the RC F that pumps out a healthy 467 hp from its highly praised V8, the Radical Coupe (RC) is now available in either a RC 300 guise with a 255-hp V6 or RC 350 guise with 307-hp V6. We’re here to test the RC 300.
Backing both motors is a 6-speed automatic that always seems to be in the correct gear whenever you put your foot down. Downshifts are instantaneous and the platform never skips a beat. You can paddle this automatic like a pinball wizard, but I still felt like it didn’t whip up much speed.
It felt lazy off the line because it is: I clocked the 0-100 km/h time to be around 6.3 seconds. This puts the RC 300 about a second slower than the comparable BMW 428i. Luckily, downshifting will help you defend your traffic position, and I managed to average a respectable 11.0 L/100km during my test week.
What the tamed engine and well-mannered transmission giveth, the RC 300’s excessive weight taketh away. Add on its full F Sport configuration and the RC 300 weighs in at a macho 1,765 kg. How can it be that the RC 300 is smaller than the new sixth-generation Camaro, yet outweigh the V8-powered Camaro SS by 94 kilograms?
Braking and cornering however did feel quite good, and I would not be surprised if it could keep up with the Camaro on the skidpad. To its credit, the RC will give you a stupid grin on your face when you’re making your way around country backroads. The steering is precise and slack free, and body motion is nicely controlled. Sport S+ will give the user the most thrilling experience this RC has to offer, without pushing past the limit and cause you to feel queasy.
Being a sports car, the RC, even in the athletic F Sport trim, still doesn’t feel as sporty as some major competitors like the Audi A5, BMW 4 Series, or the Cadillac ATS. All of the aforementioned cars can be had with a manual transmission too, which is not true in the Lexus, and in the Cadillac’s case it can be had in a turbo four-cylinder that has 295 lb-ft of torque, 59 lb-ft more than the RC 300 with two less cylinders to boot.
Lexus chose a naturally aspirated 3.5-litre 2GR-FSE V6 to propel the 2016 RC 300 simply because of its instantaneous throttle response and smoothness. In Sport Plus mode, the RC sounds like a proper GT car. A distinct and refined growl is ever present in higher rev ranges during intense acceleration, and pleasingly present but ever quiet when cruising along the highway.
Thanks to the quest to have pin-drop quiet cabins, Lexus, like many other brands, have opted to include an intake sound generator to further enhance the acoustics during acceleration. It is a delicious sound that conjures up memories of the LF-A’s notorious exhaust note. The overall effect is memorable and addictive but never abrasive. I never had an issue continuing normal conversation or enjoying music at relatively average levels.
For 2016, Lexus has only offered the RC 300 and RC 350 in an all-wheel drive configuration. This is not necessarily a bad thing other than the added weight and odd ride height for the two front wheels. With the F Sport package, the RC 300 comes with P235/40R19 tires in the front and rear. Want rear wheel drive? Step up to the RC F or move south of the border to buy the RC 200t (which is hopefully coming to Canada soon).
Performance wise, there are no other complaints. Visually however, you can tell this car was made for a staggered tire setup, and thus the rear wheels need to be much wider in order to better fit the body. That aside, with the AWD configuration, RC owners here in Canada won’t have anything to fear whenever someone mentions Winter is Coming.
The interior provides buyers with a plethora of shelving space. There are about a dozen or so spots you can rest your cellphone or sunglasses without them flying off the dash. I imagine it’d be great to play a game of cards on the passenger side part of dash while waiting in traffic. Everything is where it should be with two round knobs with gripped edges to control the audio system, a gorgeous sliding tachometer that was ripped straight from a Lexus IS, and a touchpad that became the bane of my existence throughout the testing period.
The touchpad was overly sensitive and was hard to use. I would find myself inadvertently touching the pad with my elbow due to the snug seating position, which would cause the screen to flip flop between navigation and my music. Originally I had thought it to be a software bug, but alas the touchpad with no adjustable sensitivity setting was the culprit. Also, I found the 12-volt power source to be in an inconvenient spot, buried inside the center armrest.
Now, one would normally think that with the RC’s sloping roofline, that the rear seats would be atrociously small and a torture chamber to fling your worst enemies into. On the contrary – the rear seats are quite useable and adequate for even taller individuals. But if you have a drink with you, it will have to stay in your hands – there are no cupholders back there.
Adding another rung underneath the RC 350, the RC 300 aims to attract even more buyers to the fold with a more appealing price tag. Starting at $48,350, the RC 300 AWD is already $10,000 less than its 350 brother. The RC 300’s only package option is the F Sport Series 1 that brings its MSRP up to $53,700.
It is up to the user to determine whether or not the F Sport package and the extra 52 hp from the RC 350 are worth fronting the extra cash for. For those hoping to just get the cheaper RC 300 and “tune it,” good luck. Lexus ECUs are infamous for being impossible to hack. But if you relish in that extra grunt on your commute to work like I do, the RC 350 will not disappoint.
The RC 300 is the new and more affordable option in the RC lineup, and it does give Lexus more ammunition to fight against competitors in the sport coupe segment. The V6 and 6-speed tranny are a proven and reliable powertrain as well, but it is just saddled with too much weight. However, its sexy styling and polarizing paintjob just might sway some buyers away from German showrooms and make them overlook its big boned body structure. Like coffee or brandy, the RC is definitely an acquired taste but once you spend some quality time with it, well, you can't live without it.
型号 Model: 2016 Lexus RC 300 AWD
顏色 Paint Type: Infrared
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $48,350
試車售價 Price as Tested: $53,700
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,730
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,695 / 1,840 / 1,400
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,765
引擎 Engine: 3.5L V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 255 hp @ 6,400 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 236 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 6-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 12.6 / 9.2 / 11.1
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 11.0
輪胎尺碼 Tires: P235/40R19