2017 Lexus RC 350

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$43,010–$45,175 NEW and USED Shop local deals
(4.9) 8 reviews
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Key Specs
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Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2017 Lexus RC 350. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Good visibility for a coupe
  • Front-seat comfort
  • Adaptive suspension
  • F Sport gauges
  • Mild or wild styling, depending on version
  • Base multimedia system
  • Ride quality without F Sport Package

The Bad

  • Conservative driving modes (RC 350)
  • Inconsistent interior quality
  • Snug backseat
  • Navigation system's touchpad interface
  • F Sport ride quality
  • Lack of cabin storage

Notable Features of the 2017 Lexus RC 350

  • Four-seat coupe
  • Turbo four-cylinder engine (RC 200t)
  • 255-hp V-6 (RC 300)
  • 306-hp V-6 (RC 350)
  • Rear- or all-wheel-drive
  • High-performance V-8-powered RC F available

2017 Lexus RC 350 Road Test

Joe Bruzek
The Verdict:

Less is more in the case of the 2017 Lexus RC 350, which provides a more enjoyable stroll through the countryside when you don’t add the optional F Sport Package and navigation system.

Versus The Competition:

Besides its standout looks, the RC is tough to distinguish from other luxury coupes.

The 2017 Lexus RC 350 doesn't look any less extreme now than it did when the radically styled coupe went on sale a few years ago. It's been kept fresh and competitive over the years with new engine and feature updates, of which I've sampled almost every version. The latest RC 350 to roll through the Cars.com offices for review is perhaps my favorite, though, because of several options it didn't have.

At $48,289 as-tested, this Lexus RC was one of the more affordable Lexus coupes we've driven. It was likable not just because of its affordability, but also because it didn't have the optional navigation system, with its goofy Lexus Remote Touchpad, or the ride-quality-ruining F Sport Package. Read our review of the 2016 here; it's not all that different from the 2017, apart from how it was equipped.

The Lexus RC 350 is one of four coupe versions of the RC and the most powerful of the three more-modest ones in that group (the no-excuses, V-8-powered RC F tops the range). Specifications are listed separately for the RC 200t and the RC 300. Compare all four of them side by side here.

Get the Base Multimedia System

Lexus' Remote Touchpad interface replaces the RC's typical multimedia system dial controller (as well as the mouselike device found on most other Lexus models). Like a laptop mousepad, you swipe with your fingertips to move a cursor on the main multimedia system for audio, navigation and phone control. Most Lexus RCs I've tes...

The 2017 Lexus RC 350 doesn't look any less extreme now than it did when the radically styled coupe went on sale a few years ago. It's been kept fresh and competitive over the years with new engine and feature updates, of which I've sampled almost every version. The latest RC 350 to roll through the Cars.com offices for review is perhaps my favorite, though, because of several options it didn't have.

At $48,289 as-tested, this Lexus RC was one of the more affordable Lexus coupes we've driven. It was likable not just because of its affordability, but also because it didn't have the optional navigation system, with its goofy Lexus Remote Touchpad, or the ride-quality-ruining F Sport Package. Read our review of the 2016 here; it's not all that different from the 2017, apart from how it was equipped.

The Lexus RC 350 is one of four coupe versions of the RC and the most powerful of the three more-modest ones in that group (the no-excuses, V-8-powered RC F tops the range). Specifications are listed separately for the RC 200t and the RC 300. Compare all four of them side by side here.

Get the Base Multimedia System

Lexus' Remote Touchpad interface replaces the RC's typical multimedia system dial controller (as well as the mouselike device found on most other Lexus models). Like a laptop mousepad, you swipe with your fingertips to move a cursor on the main multimedia system for audio, navigation and phone control. Most Lexus RCs I've tested have this, and it isn't particularly easy to use while driving. It's easy to trigger the touchpad even when you don't want to, and swipes don't always result in the desired cursor movement.

Test cars are usually loaded with options, so I was surprised (more like thrilled) to see the base multimedia system and standard dial controller. You simply rotate it from Radio to Display to Setup, etc., and your selection is just a click away rather than having to drag diagonally or think about where the icon is located using the touchpad system.

If you've ever used a dial controller like BMW's iDrive or Mercedes-Benz's Comand, the Lexus RC's base multimedia system will feel familiar to you. Even if you haven't, it's easy to pick up. On the downside, the controller isn't decorated in any unique way — it's still the base system, after all — and the screen isn't as high-resolution or filled with as many smartphone integration features as RCs with navigation.

The Lexus RC lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, my preferred phone integration system in new cars, but at least the standard infotainment system has new-for-2017 Scout GPS integration, where you download a navigation app that displays on the RC's main media screen.

The Lexus RC isn't very phone-friendly in another regard: My wife and I both have plus-sized iPhones in big cases, and there's no open cubby to hold them. Both were too big to fit in the cupholders. The door pockets are hard to get at while seated, and for a passenger to access the center console is intrusive to the driver. For a nice drive with that special someone, you should either get smaller phones or leave them at home — the phone, not that special someone, though the latter would free up a spot for your phone in the passenger seat...

Don't Get the F Sport Package

OK, maybe it's not as simple as "Don't do this," but the F Sport Package groups a performance-oriented adaptive suspension with sport seats, a more aggressive Sport Plus driving mode and a slick instrument cluster. The F Sport amplifies the RC's driving fun in corners, but I don't think it's as engaging as a BMW 4 Series M Sport, which better balances sport and comfort. The F Sport's ride never feels relaxed, and the car is on edge even though the suspension's firmness is adjustable.

So that leaves us with the base suspension, which is both perfectly livable and tight in a performance way without being overly twitchy or harsh. A non-F Sport is an everyday car that can take a trip into the city without rattling your fillings loose on pothole-ridden streets and still be comfortable for a weekend getaway.

However, while the optional 19-inch wheels with Dunlop SP Sport Maxx summer tires certainly look good on the RC 350, tire noise plagued the interior. There were loud thwacks over bumps even when you couldn't feel them in the seat of your pants.

Acceleration

If you get into the Lexus RC 350 thinking it's going to drive as full-throttle as it looks, you'll need to lower your expectations a smidge. The RC 350's 306-horsepower V-6 has a large task pushing the 3,700-pound coupe around, and this non-turbocharged V-6 compares closer to BMW and Audi's turbo four-cylinder cars in performance (and price) than it does to their turbocharged six-cylinder counterparts.

Lexus says the rear-wheel-drive RC 350 can go from zero-to-60 mph in 5.8 seconds, which is a few ticks slower than both the BMW and the Audi. BMW estimates a time of 5.5 seconds for its turbocharged-four-cylinder 430i with an automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive, while an Audi A5 2.0T with an automatic transmission and all-wheel drive is rated to get there in 5.6 seconds. Mercedes-Benz's C300 coupe with rear-wheel drive hits 60 mph in a manufacturer-estimated 5.9 seconds. Compare the RC 350 with its competitors here.

The Lexus RC 350's engine makes enjoyable whooshing, rush-of-air sounds, but you never feel a rush of acceleration — partly because the powertrain programming feels economy-minded. There are Eco, Normal and Sport modes, but Normal is more like an Eco mode with slow throttle response and transmission tuning that's quick to upshift and slow to downshift. Slap it into Sport mode, and there's only a small increase in throttle and transmission crispness; the car doesn't transform into a different animal. But I think that's OK for this car; it goes and it stops, and that will be plenty for most.

Where the RC 350 has 306 hp, the RC 200t has 241 hp and the RC 300 has 255 hp. The 200t is rear-drive only and the RC 300 is all-wheel-drive only. The RC 350 offers both, but its AWD comes with a six-speed automatic transmission instead of the eight-speed.

Safety

The Lexus RC 350's crashworthiness is top-rated in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests. A backup camera is standard. Optional safety features include blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and forward pre-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, the latter of which earned the middle rating of advanced in IIHS testing.

In the Market

The standout aspect of the RC 350 is how wild it looks compared with the modest designs of the BMW 4 Series and Audi A5. The Lexus RC 350's starting MSRP of $43,985 with destination charge is comparable to the 2018 Audi A5 Coupe 2.0T ($43,775), 2017 Mercedes-Benz C300 coupe ($43,575) and 2018 BMW 430i ($43,395). My conservatively equipped test car, for $48,289, had a Premium Package ($1,240) that added heated and ventilated seats plus blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The car also added adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking for $500 and a moonroof for $1,100, plus a few miscellaneous features.

If styling is what floats your boat, the Lexus RC 350 is a perfectly competent package — even as a mid-range model, as my test car was. If you want something for curvy backroads or an occasional track day, you'd be barking up the wrong tree with the Lexus RC.

As equipped, it isn't the most engaging car to drive. I don't think that's a problem, however, because the RC feels so roomy up front and has good visibility. This Lexus RC 350 offers a relaxed, airy experience perfectly suited for leisurely drives down a tree-lined backroad highway.


Latest 2017 RC 350 Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(5.0)
Performance
(4.8)
Interior Design
(4.9)
Comfort
(4.6)
Reliability
(5.0)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

most reliable car i have ever owned

by joey1020 from Nj on February 10, 2018

it was a nice car overall and fun to drive because of its speed and turning i definitely recommend this car specially if you like driving faster cars Read full review

(5.0)

Great Car with a good solid feel to it!

by Yodazzz from Weston, FL on January 16, 2018

I love this car and it has a good and solid feel to it. It has 2 sport driving modes, but i wish it had a turbo. It doesnt move when pushing the pedal. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2017 Lexus RC 350 currently has 0 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2017 Lexus RC 350 Base

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good
acceptable
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    72 months / 70,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / unlimited distance

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Lexus

Program Benefits

Every L/Certified vehicle now comes with an unlimited-mileage warranty up to 6 years, complimentary maintenance plan. Each L/Certified Pre-Owned Lexus must pass a rigorous inspection and be thoroughly reconditioned to meet the same high standards as a new Lexus. Exclusively at a Lexus dealership.

  • Limited Warranty

    Unlimited Mileage Warranty Up To 6 Years

    Warranty is valid for a minimum of two years/unlimited mileage after the expiration of 4 yr/50,000 mile new vehicle Basic Warranty, or two years from L/Certified purchase or lease date, whichever occurs later.
  • Eligibility

    Under 6 years / 70,000 miles

    Vehicles receive a 161 point inspection and reconditioning.

    See inspection details.

Change Year or Vehicle

All Model Years for the Lexus RC 350

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The RC 350 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker