By Kelsey Mays on November 4, 2013
Looks like: A two-door version of the redesigned IS
Defining characteristics: Fog lights incorporated into the grille, LFA tail elements
Ridiculous features: Few, unless you count the name
Chance of being mass-produced: Confirmed by Lexus
Sorry, parents. Lexus' new RC coupe is not, in fact, a $40 Christmas gift with four AA batteries' worth of linoleum-racing glee. It's the latest concept from Toyota's luxury division, which released images and details ahead of the car's 2013 Tokyo Motor Show debut the morning of Nov. 20 (in Tokyo, which is still Nov. 19 across the U.S.). The RC coupe concept appears production-ready, and all signs point toward it being a coupe sibling to the new IS sedan, but Lexus spokesman Bill Kwong said it bears closer relation to the larger GS. When the real thing shows up, you can be sure it will cost more than $40.
At least batteries are included — that is, the battery that feeds the electric motor in the 2.5-liter RC 300h hybrid. Lexus' potent 3.5-liter V-6, meanwhile, powers the RC 350. The brand says it hopes the car can "raise the brand's profile with a broader audience and new-to-Lexus customers."
That sounds a lot like what Lexus tried to do with the CT 200h hybrid hatchback, which hit dealerships back in March 2011. But the RC coupe has its own flavor, namely by losing two doors and adopting similar lines to the IS. The car sports a wide, ground-hugging version of Lexus' "spindle" grille. Silver fog lights tuck into the grille framework. In back, ductwork (real or faux) below the taillights recalls the brand's LFA supercar. And Lexus' profile photos suggest the C-pillars actually leave room to see out of the car, as opposed to the enveloping pillars in many high-fashion coupes. Another clue of production goals: Lexus says the RC coupe will come with 18- or 19-inch wheels.
The RC coupe takes most of its interior from the IS, save a few changes: revisions to the steering-wheel controls and a next-generation Remote Touch Interface, which adopts a thumb pad rather than the mouse-like joystick found in Lexus' current cars. The brand says the RC's interior lighting illuminates upward, rather than the conventional downward ambient lighting. Materials include shimamoku wood trim from Lexus' LS flagship sedan, plus a new trim called Clove.
Despite the four-seat RC coupe riding a 107.5-inch wheelbase. Kwong confirmed the RC is "production intent." Expect more details around the Tokyo show.
Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey