Long ago, LEXUS and mother company, Toyota, decided to make cars that people either love or hate.
They would rather people be polarised than bored to death.
5 years ago LEXUS brought us the RC 350. It was joined a year later by the 4 cylinder RC 200t turbo in 2015.
Since then the 200t was renamed. It is now the RC 300.
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This however, is the 3.5L V6 RC 350 which comes in 2 grades, Luxury, and F Sport. To tell whether is it an F Sport or not, Look for the F badge on the side. This is not to be confused with the RC F which is another kettle of fish altogether. I’ll put a link to that review in the comments below.
The metalwork is muscular. The body looks gym and rests on these new 19” wheels inspired by the LS limo and LC coupe.
The front end has a new grille but you have to be very particular to pick the difference. The hourglass shape has a complex set of lines criss-crossing it. This is all part of the non-boring bit I was talking about earlier.
The headlights are new and they too are inspired by the LEXUS flagship models. The complex LED arrangement is dusk sensing. They change the shape of the light with an auto high beam function so oncoming motorists aren’t dazzled.
The rear bumper has been redesigned, but sadly, the LOOK AT ME pop-up rear spoiler is still reserved for the thuggish RC F V8.
There are seven exterior colours for the Luxury variants including the new Sparkling Meteor (blue) and nine colours for F Sport including four which are exclusive – they are: Lava Mica, Zinnia Yellow, Cobalt Mica and White Nova.
RC 350 is a hefty lass. It weighs 1740kg and has a 66 L fuel tank. This 3.5 litre V6 petrol is Direct Injection and Dual VVT-i . It puts out an impressive 232kW of power at 6,600rpm, and 380Nm of torque at 4,800rpm. It does all this without having air forced down its throat by a turbo which makes it even more impressive.
What you hear inside the cabin is an engine tone that has been gotten at by men in white coats. It is fake and although it sounds great, I feel like I’ve been had. In the bin with it.
Performance figures are decent too. You’ll get to 100kph in 6.3 seconds, use 9.4L/100k ADR combined an emit 217 grams of CO2 per kilometre.
Think about this for a moment, multiply .217kg by 915km for your road trip from Sydney to Brisbane and you’ll create 198.555 kg of CO2. That’s a sobering thought isn’t it? That’s a bit unfair because the real figure would be less. Internal combustion engines always get better fuel figures on the open road, but even so…
There are 4 trim colours for the Luxury, including 2 new ones, ochre and dark rose.
F Sport also has 4 colours. Of which 3 are new. The new ones are: – F Sport Flare Red, F Sport Black/Tuscan Sun (yellow), and the rather VIRGINALLY titled…….. F Sport White
Changes to the interior are subtle, thankfully. It was gorgeous to begin with.
It feels rather like a gentlemen’s club was given a thorough strumping by Marc Newson
There are bigger knee pads either side of the centre console. There is a brushed effect on the audio control surround and a clock borrowed from the LC coupe. I hope it gives it back when its finished!
The Naguri aluminium trim inlays have strewn around with gay abandon. I love the 3d effect. It makes you want to stroke it, but don’t do it while sitting at the lights.
I got a very strange look from the aged gent next door.
Seats are comfortable and really wrap around, without being so hard that it feels like you’re sitting on a pile of bricks.
They are heated and cooled, and have power adjustment with memory, which includes the steering wheel. Both the driver’s seat and steering wheel slide out of the way to make getting in and out a bit easier.
F Sport also has the excellent Mark Levinson sound system. It’s made by the Harmon group which owns Harmon Kardon, Bang and Olufsen, and JBL. Surprisingly, Harmon is owned by Korean giant, Samsung
LEXUS does a really nice interior.
LEXUS’ superb 8-Speed automatic is incredibly smooth. It has manual paddles and when commanded, changes quickly, though not as fast as a dual clutch auto. Personally, I’d rather this version. It’s worth noting the LC and LS models have a couple of extra cogs on their 10 speed automatic.
RC Coupes have a thing called (VDIM) which makes the Stability Control and Anti-lock Brakes ‘talk’ to the other to keep the shiny side up.
You will rarely even know VDIM is working, because LEXUS claims it is so subtle a normal person won’t notice it. F Sport has a five-step VDIM system and adds the Lexus Dynamic Handling system for further control.
The Torsen Limited Slip Diff and Dynamic rear steering turn a mild-mannered GT into a joy in mountain passes. Rear Steering aids tight cornering and you really notice it as it brings the bum around on roundabouts. It also makes parking easier too.
For me, the biggest change was in the way RC 350 drives.
The 5 drive modes are the same, but the adaptive suspension feels sharper and more taught, even on comfort mode. The Quad Cam 3.5L V6 is getting on a bit, but by god it feels good.
It is nippy enough in comfort mode, but in sport and sport+, RC 350 feels like it has way more power than it actually does.
There is a slew of safety stuff too. Active cruise control, active blind spot monitor and lane control keep you a set distance from the car in front. It will keep you centered in the lane, and stop you from changing lanes if there is a car somewhere you can’t see it.
As well, the auto emergency braking stops you from banging into things as you move forward.
When going backwards, the reversing camera comes with rear cross traffic alert.
The radar sees things you can’t and tells you to stop with a large friendly warning on the dash. IN case you’re actually looking backwards, it beeps like a demented microwave.
RC isn’t a track car, and is all the better for it. It is a GT. The 423L boot is big enough for shopping, and you can throw a couple of bags in for a weekend away. Pack carefully and you’ll manage a roadtrip easily. Rear seats fold down 60/40.
I love the RC 350 for all the things it isn’t. It isn’t hard and it doesn’t boast. It isn’t shouty, and it doesn’t try to kill you at every turn.
Instead, it is comfortable and good looking. It is luxurious, handles well, and is packed with gear, except CarPlay/
I rate RC 350 F Sport at 8/10
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