Buyer's Guide

2021 Lexus Rc
Select a Different Model (10 Available): 300 AWD Coupe
Fuel Economy $ 18 / 24 mpg
Horsepower 260@6,600
Torque 236@2,000
See All Specs
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2021 Lexus RC MODEL OVERVIEW

Pros

  • Good ride and handling balance
  • Sweet-sounding V-6 and V-8 engines
  • Plentiful standard active-safety tech

Cons

  • Love-it-or-hate-it styling
  • Frustrating infotainment interface
  • Unimpressive fuel economy

Head-turning styling is at the top of the Lexus RC's list of standard features. This coupe made its debut for the 2015 model year, providing two-door enthusiasts with a comfortable, fun, and fashionable everyday driver. Don't think of it as just a two-door IS; the RC's chassis is an amalgam of several different Lexus models. It remains a hardtop only, as the convertible concept from a few years back never made it to production.

The Lexus RC is a 2021 IntelliChoice Best Overall Value award winner.

What's New

For the 2021 model year, the RC gains standard blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and heated auto-dimming side mirrors. The new Black Line special edition wears available bright blue paint. At the top of the range, the high-performance RC F becomes available in the track-oriented Fuji Speedway edition, of which only 60 units will be built.

What We Think

If nothing else, the Lexus RC is a style statement. Its bodywork seems to shoot back from that huge spindle grille and is certain to divide opinions.

Wild looks aren't all the RC has going for it. The car drives well as a mini grand tourer, comfortable when it needs to be and sporty when you want it to be, although it's heavier than many of its competitors. The F of the RC F model signifies "Fuji," like the Japanese racetrack, but we think it could mean "fun," too—its naturally aspirated V-8 sounds awesome and makes great power.

Inside the RC, materials feel high-quality even if styling is subdued compared to the exterior. There's plenty of standard equipment, with many driver-assist features included, and lots of legroom up front, too. Unfortunately, Lexus' maddening trackpad-based infotainment system is standard.

The RC is a capable coupe—so long as you can tolerate its styling and don't mind that nearly all of its competitors have been redesigned since this Lexus originally arrived.

Performance and Fuel Economy

Entry-level RC models are badged RC 300, but that designation covers two different powertrains. The standard RWD layout uses a 2.0-liter turbo-four engine producing 241 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, sent through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Lexus estimates a 7.3-second 0-60 mph time. EPA-rated fuel economy is 21/31 mpg city/highway.

Despite having the same name, the AWD RC 300 has a 3.5-liter V-6 making 260 hp and 236 lb-ft, along with a six-speed automatic transmission. Estimated 0-60 mph acceleration is reduced to 6.3 seconds. Estimated fuel economy also drops, to 19/26 mpg.

The RC 350 also uses a 3.5-liter V-6, but it's tuned to produce 311 hp and 280 lb-ft. RWD models use an eight-speed automatic, while AWD models use a six-speed. Fuel economy is 20/28 for the RWD model and 19/26 for the AWD car.

At the top of the range is the RC F, which packs a 5.0-liter V-8 cranking out 472 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque, all sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic. The 60-mph mark should arrive in just 4.3 seconds. The RC F will be speedy between visits to the gas pump, as the car returns 16/24 mpg.

Safety

When evaluated for 2021, the RC earned the top Good score in all six IIHS crashworthiness tests.

All RCs are equipped with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and automatic high beams. For 2021, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert become standard.

Cargo Space and Interior Room

The RC's trunk has 10.4 cubic feet of cargo capacity, with 60/40 split-folding second-row seats to allow storage of larger items.

When equipped with a sunroof, front-row headroom measures 37.8 inches in the RC, which compares to 37.4 inches in the Audi A5 coupe. Second-row headroom is 34.8 inches in the RC and 36.1 inches in the A5. Front-row legroom is 45.4 inches in the Lexus and 41.3 inches in the Audi. Second-row legroom is 27.3 inches in the RC and 32.7 inches in the A5.

Technology

The standard infotainment display measures 7.0 inches and includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa integration. An available 10.3-inch display adds built-in navigation. A 10-speaker audio system is standard, and a 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium setup is optional.

What Is the Lexus RC F Fuji Speedway Edition?

The RC F is a fun muscle car, but its portly curb weight leaves it trailing more trimmed-down rivals. Lexus attempts to shave pounds and lap times with the 2021 RC F Fuji Speedway Edition. Largely similar to the 2020 RC F Track Edition, this year's revamp shares its 472-hp V-8 powertrain with the standard RC F, but it bellows through a titanium exhaust system. Additionally, carbon-ceramic brakes and extensive use of carbon fiber—check out the hood and spoiler—help shave weight by some 177 pounds.

The RC F Fuji Speedway Edition is limited to just 60 units, available in special gray or semi-matte white paint. Inside, it gets red-hued carbon trim and upholstery. A custom MSTR watch with coordinated details is included with each example.

Key Competitors:

2021 LEXUS RC SPECIFICATIONS
OVERVIEW
FEATURES
WARRANTY/RECALL
SAFETY
REBATES
Engine Name
Engine: V6 3.5 Liter
Transmission Name
Transmission, ECT-i 6 Speed Automatic Mode Select with Manual Mode (A760H)
Trim
300 AWD Coupe
Class
Premium Sporty/Coupe
Horsepower
260@6,600
Standard MPG
18/24
Body Style
Coupe
Drivetrain
AWD
Fuel Type
Unleaded Premium
Seating Capacity
4/4
Package Invoice Retail
Show Full Specs
Corrosion Warranty Miles
Unlimited
Maintenance Warranty Months
12
Corrosion Warranty Months
72
Powertrain Warranty Miles
70,000
Full Warranty Miles
50,000
Powertrain Warranty Months
72
Full Warranty Months
48
Roadside Assistance Miles
unlimited
Maintenance Warranty Miles
10,000
Roadside Assistance Months
48
IIHS Best Pick
0
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
Good
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
IIHS Front Small Overlap
Good
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
IIHS Overall Side Crash
Good
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
IIHS Rear Crash
Good
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
IIHS Roof Strength
Good
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
Amount Description Expiry Date
$1000 Lexus announces a Lease Cash on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 06-30-2021
$2000 Lexus announces a Retail Cash on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 06-30-2021
$0 1.9% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - Lexus announces special APR financing on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 06-30-2021
$1000 Lexus announces a College Graduate Reward Program on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 01-03-2022
$1000 Lexus announces Bonus Cash on select models for eligible Military personnel. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 01-03-2022
$0 0.9% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60 Months - Lexus announces special APR financing on select models. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 06-30-2021