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2021 Lexus RC Overview

Three new special edition trims join the fray in 2021, while the much-loved RC F Track Edition has been discontinued. Two Black Line Specials and an RC F Fuji Speedway Edition take its place, though you’ll have to act quickly as the Black Line editions are limited to 350 units each.

What do you get with the Black Line? Add it to the RC 300 or RC 350, and you’ll be treated with triple-beam LED headlights, unique dark exhaust tips, 19-inch F SPORT wheels in “Black Sputtering Chrome” (yes, that’s really the name), and your choice of two unique exterior colors—Ultra White or Cloudburst Gray. To match the stylish outside, you’ll find Black Nuluxe and Ash Wood trim with silver accent stitching on the interior, and in the trunk, you’ll find a two-piece matching set of Zero Halliburton luggage (the not-so-inconspicuous metal briefcases all the baddies carry about in the movies).

For a more performance-based upgrade, look to the new RC F Fuji Speedway Edition, which builds on the weight-reduction measures of the old Track Edition and takes things a step further. Carbon fiber helps continue the diet as well as improve aerodynamics, while Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes and a titanium exhaust system let everyone know you’re driving something special. Only available in Cloudburst Gray or Arctic Blast Satin—a semi-matte finish that is car-wash ready—each RC F Fuji Speedway comes with Circuit Red leather-trimmed Alcantara seats and red carbon fiber trim. Each of the 60 buyers—yes, only 60—will also enjoy a limited-production MSTR watch, with unique styling elements to match the car.

Of course, you’re looking at nearly $100,000 for the RC F Fuji Speedway Edition. If you’re not looking to leverage yourself that heavily just to get some sport into your daily drive, Lexus didn’t leave the rest of the lineup out in the cold. Every RC gets standard blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and heated electrochromatic mirrors for 2021. And if you go for the optional Premium Package, parking sensors have been added to the mix.

Starting with the RC300, you’ll get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine delivering 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque that comes on at a shockingly low 1650 rpm. That power is sent exclusively to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Want a bit more power? Select all-wheel drive (AWD) and you’ll see your transmission become a six-speed automatic, but your engine will jump up to a 3.5-liter V6 that offers 260 hp but, strangely, a drop in torque down to 236 lb-ft.

RC350 trims get a different 3.5-liter V6, paired with the eight-speed automatic in rear-wheel drive (RWD) guise, and the six-speed auto in AWD configuration. This V6 makes 311 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque and truly exemplifies what the RC is trying to accomplish. You’ll see zero to 60 mph in just under six seconds here. You can get F Sport versions of all of the above (not to be confused with the RC F), which will add on things like unique front and rear fascias, sport seats, an adaptive suspension, and larger wheels. For the RC 350 F Sport you’ll also get a custom drive mode and the chance to add on features like rear-wheel steering for tighter turns both at speed and around the parking lot.

And just like every other Lexus model, the RC comes with the Lexus Safety System+ suite, with standard adaptive cruise control with forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning and intervention, and auto high beams. This has gone a long way toward the RC earning its Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and is a big part of the reason it should be on your radar if you’re looking for a sports coupe.

Updated

A CarGurus contributor since 2008, Michael started his career writing about cars with the SCCA - winning awards during his time as editor of Top End magazine. Since then, his journalistic travels have taken him from NY to Boston to CA, completing a cross-country tour on a restored vintage Suzuki. While his preference is for fine German automobiles - and the extra leg room they so often afford - his first automobile memories center around impromptu Mustang vs. Corvette races down the local highway, in the backseat of his father's latest acquisition.

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