$23,180 - $32,988

2015 Lexus RC Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Lexus RC was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 8.3

Test drivers say the 2015 Lexus RC 350 is an athletic performer, with a strong V6 and nimble handling. They add that the RC 350 maintains a smooth, comfortable ride typical of a Lexus.

  • Like all coupes, the RC 350 is at the sportier end of the car spectrum, but the F SPORT version of the RC 350 is even more sporty." -- AutoTrader
  • "How's it drive? Smoothly, quietly and suited to a broad range of tastes, but always tracking a Lexus trend that puts less emphasis on a serene, coddled driving experience and more on athleticism or sharp response." -- Autoweek
  • "The RC 350 offers a satisfying and sporty ride." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Edgy, fun, fast... Lexus. I'll just let that sink in for a moment." -- Autoblog

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Lexus RC 350 comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 306 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard, and a six-speed automatic comes with the all-wheel drive RC 350. According to the EPA, the base 2015 Lexus RC 350 gets 19/28 mpg city/highway, which is low for the class.

The high-performance 2015 Lexus RC F is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine that generates 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque. It comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive.

Automotive journalists report that the RC 350’s V6 is powerful, but that the car doesn’t really sprint off the line, and that rivals like BMW have six-cylinder engines with more vigor. Auto writers think the RC 350’s eight-speed automatic transmission shifts accurately, while the six-speed automatic is not as smooth. Critics think the RC F’s V8 is an incredibly powerful engine, with an enticing engine note.

  • "The RC F's 5.0L V8 is nothing short of sensational, offering arguably the best intake noise in the business to go along with its head-snapping power." -- Left Lane News
  • Power delivery from the 3.5-liter V6 is certainly strong enough, but the car doesn't catapult off the line when the throttle is mashed; rather, it moves off in a somewhat ‘gentlemanly’ manner, then builds speed as revs rise, with a noticeable surge as the engine passes its 4800-rpm torque peak and approaches its 6400-rpm horsepower peak." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The RC 350's 306-horsepower V6 offers plenty of gusto and transmits a surprisingly satisfying exhaust note. RWD models enjoy a smooth 8-speed transmission, while AWD variants use an older and slightly rougher 6-speed auto (the Lexus RC does not offer a manual transmission)." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • There is no flat spot in the V-6's power delivery, but the engine lacks character when compared with the inline-sixes available at the BMW shop." -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

The 2015 Lexus RC 350 comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available. Auto writers note that the RC 350 has terrific handling and responsive steering, especially around tight corners at speed. Reviewers also report that the RC 350 rides well over uneven pavement, retaining its smooth-driving Lexus identity. Critics praise the high-performance Lexus RC F model, saying it has stable, firm handling, even when the car is attacking corners, and that it has precise steering.

  • "Steering offers some light levels of communication, but with excellent stability and more rapid response than you might anticipate from a two-ton coupe. The car transitioned from corner to corner with a lot of grace and grip, allowing me to really deploy all that power in a confident manner." -- Autoblog
  • "All of that said, this car is engaging to drive hard, with good body control and a well-damped suspension. Even with variable-ratio steering-a $1900 option exclusive to rear-drive F Sports-the feel and feedback available to the driver are near the top of the class." -- Car and Driver
  • "While there was no rough pavement to be found on the route (as there most certainly would be around our Chicagoland office), Lexus seems to have kept in mind that this is, after all, a Lexus, as nothing traveled over caused much of a disturbance. Corners brought on little in the way of lean, and the steering was quick to respond to inputs." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Right away, the stiffness of the new chassis is noticeable, feeling impressively solid and tight even when loaded across corners, like when you're navigating onto a road from a steep driveway. … The damping is firm but not crashy or jiggling, nor does the RC 350's ride go to pieces over cracked pavement. This a spry and pointy chassis that's pretty much foolproof, and it will tackle corners with little body roll and sharp, accurate steering." -- Edmunds (F Sport)

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