With aggressive styling, a luxurious cabin, and meaningful performance that strikes a balance with efficiency, the V6-powered Lexus RC 350 is an attractive premium rear- or all-wheel drive four-seat sport coupe from a manufacturer known for quality and reliability.

Pricing and Equipment

The 2016 Lexus RC 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine. Rear-wheel drive variants receive an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive models make gear changes with a six-speed automatic transmission. An enthusiast-oriented F Sport model adds aggressive styling touches inside and out, nineteen-inch wheels, and enhances the RC 350’s stock suspension.

Base pricing ranges from $42,780 for the RC 350 to $48,715 for the RC 350 AWD F Sport.

Standard feature highlights include:

  • Eighteen-inch alloy wheels
  • Seven-inch touchscreen
  • Ten-speaker 265-watt Audio
  • Wireless Bluetooth and USB connectivity
  • Leatherette seating

Performance Pros

Lexus RC 350

The 2016 Lexus RC 350 is equipped with a 306-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. RC 350 AWD (all-wheel drive) models receive a six-speed automatic transmission.

  • Acceleration is excellent, especially considering the luxurious nature of the RC 350 and the fuel efficiency. Zero to sixty takes 5.8 or 6.0 seconds depending on the trim level.
  • The RC 350 is an excellent handling sports coupe. Very few cars feel as solid and planted as the Lexus RC 350 does on winding roads or long stretches of highway. The V6 engine is silky-smooth, something that will come as no surprise to Lexus owners. The eight-speed and six-speed transmissions deliver almost imperceptible shifts, unless pushed hard, where the RC will hold gears longer for a more spirited driving experience.
  • Fuel economy ranges from 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway in the rear-wheel drive model to 19 mpg and 26 mpg in the all-wheel drive model.

Performance Cons

  • The RC 350 is a normally aspirated engine, which means that it does not have a turbo- or supercharger, but still requires premium fuel.
  • While acceleration is adequate, driving enthusiasts will likely favor the larger engine in the Lexus RC F.
  • The F Sport trim certainly adds some eye-popping style and enhanced handling but horsepower, torgue, acceleration and top speed numbers remain unchanged.

Interior Pros

Lexus RC 350

Lexus is known for attractive high-quality, long-wearing interiors and the RC 350 does not disappoint. The driver-centric cabin provides excellent access to the RC 350’s controls and features. The stock leatherette seats are comfortable and only get better when buyers opt for the F Sport package.

  • The Lexus infotainment system is easy to use and provides "real button" redundancy for most features. The base audio system is clear and powerful, and features USB and wireless Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity.
  • New for 2016, the Lexus Enform Service Connect allows owners to remotely view information about certain aspects of their Lexus vehicle by configuring a mobile application that virtually tethers the RC 350 to a smartphone.

Interior Cons

  • While the leatherette is attractive and will arguably last longer and wear better, I wish premium brands would get back to putting real leather back on the seats.
  • Thanks to the nature of a sports coupe, rear seating will be tight, and ingress and egress difficult, for many adults.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The fine balance that Lexus has made between performance, luxury, and fuel-efficiency stands in strong contrast to the over-the-top visual dynamic made by the RC 350. While it may look like a mid-life crisis from the curb, the RC 350’s big secret is that it is actually a fairly conservative buy.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

I was disappointed that the RC 350 requires premium fuel. Many of today’s smaller turbocharged engines need the higher octane to run properly and trade the extra expense for a few additional miles-per-gallon, unfortunately the 3.5-liter V6 is tuned so that it requires the “good stuff” even without the extra punch and efficiency.

The Bottom Line

Lexus RC 350

The 2016 RC 350 is an attractively styled premium sport coupe that offers great performance and refined luxury backed by the Lexus reputation for quality. While Lexus certainly has its hands full taking on the likes of BMW’s 4 Series, INFINITI’s Q60, and the Audi A5, the Lexus holds its own and with a unique curb appeal that sets the gorgeous four-seater apart.