MSRP
$41,295
U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Lexus RC Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 6.6

The 2020 Lexus RC has mediocre overall performance for the luxury small car class, starting with a so-so base engine, poor fuel economy, and handling that's composed but nothing special. Any of the three optional engines are more powerful than the base variant, and the ride quality is good.

  • "The 2020 Lexus RC coupe backs up its sexy shape and aggressive design with strong performance and an engaging driving experience. It’s more fun to drive than most Lexus models. Although it’s heavier than many of its competitors from BMW and Audi, the Lexus is quick and handles well enough for most buyers. Even the base RC turbo, which is badged the RC 300, accelerates quickly and delivers the same catlike reflexes as the RC 350." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The RC has the superficial traits of a sports car but lacks the athleticism." -- Car and Driver
  • The RC F is indeed more appealing as a daily driver rather than a track toy. Even with its improvements this year, the RC F's performance isn't as exciting as what you can get from other performance coupes such as the BMW M4, the Chevrolet Corvette and the Ford Shelby GT350. But if you're mostly interested in a mix of street-friendly comfort and performance, the 2020 RC F should satisfy." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The rear-wheel-drive Lexus RC 300 comes with a 241-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard. The base RC has sufficient power, but it doesn't feel particularly fast. Fuel economy is rated at 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, which is poor for a luxury small car.

All-wheel-drive versions of the RC 300 come with a 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. These models are a little more impressive than those with the base engine and return fuel economy of 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.

Standard in the Lexus RC 350 is a 311-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. It comes with an eight-speed or six-speed automatic transmission, depending on whether you get rear- or all-wheel drive. The RC 350 feels powerful and is satisfying to drive. With rear-wheel drive, the RC 350 gets 20/28 mpg city/highway. With all-wheel drive, it gets 19/26 mpg city/highway.

Lexus RC F models come with a 472-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 engine mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission. This engine helps deliver excellent acceleration, and it has a pleasing exhaust note. Fuel economy for the RC F is 16/24 mpg.

  • We found the automatic to be a good match for the turbo four, but the engine isn't up to the task of pulling the RC around with any alacrity. Lexus offers two versions of its V-6 to address the lack of power. … The range-topping RC350 gets a … V-6 that teams up with the eight-speed automatic (RWD only) or the six-speed (AWD only). In our testing, we've found this engine to be velvety smooth with linear power delivery, but it's still not as gutsy as its rivals." -- Car and Driver
  • "More demanding drivers should step up to the V6-powered RC 300 or RC 350; you’ll appreciate the additional power over time." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The engine sounds great when pushed, and the RC F is one of the few remaining V8-powered coupes on the market. The RC F's braking performance is also competitive in the sports car class, and the transmission responds quickly to shift requests from the paddle shifters." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The Lexus RC boasts a comfortable ride along with decent handling chops. There's an acceptable amount of steering feedback, but this car still feels less athletic than many rivals. Rear-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • Ride comfort is where the RC succeeds—and it does so with honors. … The RC is not as eager as tauter coupes when it comes to enthusiastic driving, but there's still some room to play. The steering wheel transmits a good amount of road feeling, and there's enough feedback to let you know when the front tires are losing their grip on the pavement." -- Car and Driver
  • "The adaptive suspension does a good job taking the edge off bigger bumps and making the ride more compliant. It's still firm but it smooths out road imperfections enough to keep it comfortable on long drives." -- Edmunds
  • "The entry-level RC 300 … strikes a nice balance between ride comfort and commendable handling. The RC 350’s V6 bumps output to 311, but its ride and handling are only slightly better than the 300." -- Kelley Blue Book
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2020 Lexus RC

MSRP: $41,295 - $96,800

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