This review first appeared in the November 2017 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg
The tested 2017 Lexus RC 350 with the F Sport package grabbed my attention right away with its race car-like profile and mini-Ferrari styling on the back end. Dual chrome exhausts add to the visual appeal. It looks fast standing still, and you can’t wait to get behind the wheel and open it up.
Believe me, you won’t be disappointed.
The 3.5-liter, 24-valve V-6 actually seems stronger than the advertised 306 horsepower. That was especially true on the freeway when additional pressure on the accelerator at moderately high speed produced an additional blast to push my ride beyond the reach of surrounding cars.
For all that juice, fuel mileage is OK at 19 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the open road.
And the ride is remarkably smooth. Interior cabin noise is moderate, even when the Lexus is at full song. On corners taken at high speed, the tester was spot-on solid, with no hint of wiggle. Kudos to Lexus engineers for maxing the body rigidity of this RC 350, but stopping just short of it being an annoying spine jolter.
The look and feel of the RC 350 are decidedly sporty, but the tester was so loaded up with luxury, convenience and technology features that I was reminded that Lexus is, above all else, a luxury brand. My ride included wood interior trim, illuminated door sills, a moonroof and a premium, 17-speaker, 835-watt Mark Levinson audio system.
Of course, all this costs money: $58,323 on the bottom line. Given the whole package, I didn’t really have much of a problem with that price.
What I did have problems with was the left-side, steering column-mounted turn signal system that doesn’t work like a conventional system, which translates to I could never quite tell when the turn signal was working or not … or whether it would ever shut off. I’m old school when it comes to using turn signals, and I’ve never mastered this particular piece of hardware. Half the time, I’m sure following drivers are convinced that I don’t know which way I’m going to turn.
Happily, safety features are numerous and state-of-the-art. The brakes grab with instant authority. The backup camera is crystal clear and easy to understand, and the location-specific tire pressure monitoring system is arguably the best in the business.
In a world where I had all the money in the universe – yeah, imagine that – would I opt for the RC 350 as my guilty pleasure coupe? I have to confess that I would be very tempted by that proposition. This is an exceptional coupe that gets high marks for looks, perks and performance.