$25,384 - $40,498

2016 Lexus RC Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Lexus RC was new.


Performance: 8.0

Reviewers generally think the 2016 Lexus RC's engine lineup provides good power, though some find that certain models deliver underwhelming acceleration. The RC has athletic handling and feels composed around corners, auto writers say. The majority of test drivers think the RC has a comfortable ride over bumpy roads.

  • "Regardless of powertrain, the 2016 RC promises a satisfying and sporty ride; if you're expecting the pillow-soft ride of a Lexus ES you'll be disappointed. If you're expecting something that can handle tight corners and put a smile on the face of even a demanding driver, you'll be very happy." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • 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 (2015)
  • "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 (2015)
  • "Edgy, fun, fast... Lexus. I'll just let that sink in for a moment." -- Autoblog (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The 2016 Lexus RC 200t has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 241 horsepower. The RC 300 has a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 255 horsepower, and the RC 350 also has a 3.5-liter V6, but with 306 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on rear-wheel drive models and a six-speed automatic comes with all-wheel drive models. The EPA estimates that the base 2016 Lexus RC 200t earns 22/32 mpg city/highway, which is on par with its closest competitors.

The high-performance 2016 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. According to Lexus, the RC F can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and has a top speed of 170 mph.

Automotive journalists are pleased with the RC's base engine and say the RC 300 has satisfactory power. They say the RC 350 feels decently potent, though some wish it were faster from a stop. Reviewers also think the RC F puts down incredible power. While auto writers report that the standard eight-speed automatic transmission is slick-shifting, they say the six-speed automatic transmission on all-wheel drive models is outdated and doesn't shift as smoothly.

  • For a sports car, I think the RC, even the F-Sport, lacks a sporty feel. With just a hair over 300 hp, this thing isn't exactly a dog, but the 3,748-pound curb weight doesn't help, either. The 0-60 time is a modest 5.8 seconds: quick enough to be enjoyable, but a far cry from fast." -- Autoweek
  • We've been impressed with the RC 200t's turbocharged four-cylinder's refined zest. The all-wheel-drive RC 300 is a bit behind the times with its six-speed automatic and relatively modest 255-hp V6, but in the real world, it's not a slouch." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2015)
  • 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." -- Consumer Guide (2015, RC 350)
  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers are pleased with the Lexus RC's athletic handling, noting that it feels well-controlled through turns. The performance-oriented RC F is especially fun to drive, they add. Reviewers comment that the 2016 RC has responsive steering, and the F Sport model's variable-ratio steering offers outstanding road feedback. Most auto journalists think the RC offers a comfortable ride over rough patches of road, though a few say its ride is only comfortable on the highway. The 2016 Lexus RC comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • "The suspension is sprung tautly enough to remind you that you went for a sport-oriented coupe, but it's by no means stiff-legged or crashy over broken pavement. The F Sport's adaptive suspension dampers actually enhance comfort, giving the RC one of the smoothest rides of any entry-level luxury sport coupe." -- Edmunds
  • The stiff suspension makes rough roads uncomfortable, but the highway ride is nicely refined. However, if you're looking for the ultimate track-ready Lexus, there's the 467-horsepower RC F. While it's as refined as the RC 350 around town, on the racetrack it's a beast...and a blast." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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 (2015)
  • "[T]his 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 (2015)

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