The 2017 RC 350 is basically unchanged from last year, maintaining the boldly aggressive grille design and sharp exterior lines that set it apart from others in the class. Those who love Lexus will find the ride comfort and luxurious feel for which the badge is famous. Those looking for a high performance car may be a bit disappointed. Even the F Sport Edition we drove lacked expletive inspiring acceleration.
The RC is offered in 3, power options; the RC 200t, the RC 300h and the V6, 306 horsepower, RC 350. The RC 350 is available in the F Sport trim that adds suspension and braking upgrades as well as a mesh grille with a different front fascia and some other goodies such as a unique dashboard display. The most immediately noticeable F Sport upgrade is the perforated leather high performance seats that offer great comfort and support.
Lexus is noted for the high quality of driver comfort and ride.
Here the RC 350 does not disappoint. The selectable ride quality control allows the driver to move from the smooth non-intrusive Eco mode with super soft shifts and gentle throttle response, to the Normal mode which gives the occupant more road and acceleration feel while still controlling shifts and throttle to maximize economy, and finally to the sport mode that lets lose what ability the RC 350 has to inspire the adventurous pilot.
The RC 350 interior is typical of what we have come to expect of Lexus with refined materials blended into visual and practical coziness.
A high tech instrument panel doesn’t overwhelm while providing a very through look at what’s going on inside and outside the car. The standard sound system reproduces high quality fidelity, or for the audiophile the available Mark Levinson system creates a symphony on wheels. Heated and cooled seats are standard or available on all models, but a heated steering wheel is only optional on the all wheel drive models. While the RC 350 does have a rear seat even the most petite would find it impossible to sit in and because of the limited access it is not practical for car seats. It does make a good storage shelf.
Lexus safety options include dynamic cruise control, blind spot and cross traffic monitors, pre-collision system with emergency braking and of course traction control and anti lock brakes. Disappointingly most of these safety options are included at no additional charge on the entire Toyota lineup but come at a pretty hefty price tag from Lexus.
Infotainment is handled by the Lexus Enform system
that provides a decent selection of apps, navigation and Sirius EX radio. It does not have the popular Apple Car Play or Android Auto, a huge shortfall in modern mobile entertainment. The base Enform system uses a rotary knob to select functions and perform tasks on the display screen. It also lacks a built in navigation display, but will link to one on your smart phone. The upgraded system with the Mark Levinson audio does have a very nice navigation program but uses a touch pad, much like most laptops, to control the infotainment. I found this very cumbersome to use and distracting while driving. There is no tactile feedback, requiring that you watch the screen to see where the cursor is. A very good voice control system allows you to skip the touch pad for most common functions.
If you are shopping for a personal performance car that has cutting edge styling, incredible comfort for the driver and one passenger and a reputation for high quality the GS 350 may be just the car for you. The RC 350 starts at $47,010 and the F Sport we tested listed for $57,529, and there were still a few options that could be added. Learn more about the RC models from Lexus here
Reviewed on air July 8, 2017. Listen to the review here