Lexus goes all out here, swinging for the fences on their designs. The key question is whether these changes will lure luxury car buyers away from other automakers’ sport coupe offerings.
Inside, the vehicle is well apportioned -- with a high-end feel, but I wasn’t a big fan of the overall comfort level. It features an extra-low seating setup and the seat is a bit tight, so I was at times uncomfortable while driving the vehicle.
You’ll get limited storage and people space. Two people fit comfortably, but make sure you don’t pack too much. If you have passengers in the rear often, skip the RC. Back seat has no use for people (honestly, no one can sit there). It’s a small storage area only. There is limited storage overall compared to the RC’s main competition (Audi A5 coupe, BMW 4-series coupe, Infiniti Q60 coupe, Cadillac ATS coupe).
2. Mid-range power
The power plant on the 2017 RC 200t is a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine; featuring an 8-speed automatic transmission. No manual transmission is offered, but there is a manual shifting mode.
Numbers on the RC 200th are 241 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque.
You can also move up the model line to the RC 300 and RC 350 models for more power, with mainly the engine being the difference.
These numbers show the RC isn’t all looks, and I can confirm that the performance is something to talk about. It took me just over 6 seconds to go from 0 to 60, which is impressive but less quick than some of its rivals. Call it mid-pack for the segment.
Similarly, performance on windy roads is commendable, but not the absolute best in the segment, in part because the RC 200t weighs a bit more than some of the opposition.
On the plus side, the road noise is kept to a minimum on this vehicle, which isn’t always the case in this class.
The 200t is strictly a rear-wheel drive vehicle; No option for AWD.
Drive modes can be changed: Eco, Normal, Sport and Snow are offered.
3. Fuel mileage impresses
High marks are given to the RC 200t for its fuel mileage, which comes in at 22 city/32 highway/26 combined. You can help these by running the car in Eco mode.
I averaged just over 25 mpg, which is near the top of class vs. the RC’s competitors.
4. Tricky tech interface
Without a doubt the most frustrating part of the RC experience is the tech interface, which runs in part on mousepad-iike control. This is very distracting and not something I recommend using while driving. I don’t like this feature in general, which is used in various forms across the Lexus lineup, and they would be wise to rethink it.
The only silver lining is that the voice controls worked very well for me, including when I asked it to find local POIs (points of interest) while on the road and navigate me there.
You do get some other nice tech comforts as standard, such as dual-zone climate control, a rearview camera, Bluetooth connection and the voice controls. Upgrades will allow for blind spot monitoring, auto wipers and other safety features.
5. Price, bottom line
As far as price, my test vehicle was just over $45K; base price starts about $41K … This is more affordable than some rival coupes (BMW 4-series, Audi A5) but at a similar level with others. Overall it’s on the lower end of the price spectrum.
I must admit that when I think of sporty vehicles, and sporty coupes in particular, Lexus isn’t the first name that pops into my head.
But Lexus’ recent trend of going toward bolder exterior styling works well for them in this category, and the RC lineup is definitely the sexiest styling you’re going to see on a Lexus vehicle.
Between its aggressive looks, plush interior and performance, the 2017 RC 200t an attractive option for luxury sport coupe buyers. Not a home run, but let's call it a triple.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.