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2019 Lexus RC Overview

The Lexus RC, otherwise known as the “Radical Coupe,” is the brand’s compact executive coupe first introduced for 2015. It’s a handsome, distinctive, and sporty coupe that goes up against European rivals like the BMW 4 Series. For 2019, Lexus tweaked the RC’s styling with a reworked front fascia, new lights for the front and rear, and new springs and shocks. The F Sport handling and appearance package is also available as a lively option.

The RC 300 gets a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, making 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, driving the rear wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. The available all-wheel-drive (AWD) version of the base model is still called the RC 300, but it gets a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 260 hp and 236 lb-ft.

The range-topping RC 350 gets a hotter version of the 3.5-liter V6, which packs 311 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. It's available with either rear-wheel drive (RWD) or AWD. The 4-cylinder RWD RC 300 manages 21 mpg city, 30 highway, and 24 combined. Adding AWD to the RC 300 also adds that larger engine, so it sacrifices on fuel economy with a rating of 18, 24, and 21. The rear-drive RC 350 does better with 20, 28, and 23 and drops to 18, 24, and 21 with AWD.

For 2019, Lexus included new springs and dampers and tweaked the power steering software, to improve handling. The RC is more of a grand tourer than a sports car, offering a firm ride without sacrificing comfort. Adding the F Sport package to the RC livens things up with stiffer springs, adaptive dampers, rear-wheel steering at speeds above 50 for RWD models, and an extra Sport+ driving mode.

Inside, the RC has high-quality, supportive front seats; F Sport-equipped models feature more heavily bolstered bucket seats. Standard features include synthetic leather seats, automatic climate control, Bluetooth compatibility, keyless ignition, and Amazon Alexa. Apple CarPlay is also new for 2019. The Enform infotainment system, centered on a 7.0-inch screen, includes a touchpad interface. Several option packages on the RC add features like a moonroof, special upholstery, a Mark Levinson stereo, ventilated heated and cooled seats, and navigation with a 10.3-inch display screen. While the backseat can seat two passengers, it's best for short trips. The trunk offers 10.4 cubic feet of storage space.

Last year’s Lexus RC received coveted Top Safety Pick+ status, the highest rating offered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) hasn’t yet crash tested the model. Standard tech includes forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control. Blind-spot monitors are optional.

The Lexus RC is a mean-looking luxury coupe with price, performance, and design that put it in the same league as the BMW 4 Series, Cadillac ATS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe, and Audi A5 Coupe. For 2019, the RC gets a facelift that livens things up in the styling department and tweaks underneath that create more dynamic handling.

Updated

Since 2012, Andrew Newton has been writing about cars both old and new. Andrew has been an associate editor at Sport Car Digest as well as a contributor to sites like BoldRide and JamesEdition. He was also the Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA before becoming the Auction Editor at Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. He currently splits his time behind the wheel between his NA Miata, 1994 Corvette, and Triumph TR6.

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