NEW_CAR_PREVIEW

2015 Lexus RC Preview

By: Jeff Youngs, 1/16/2014
Fast Facts:
  • RC 300h with 217-horsepower hybrid system
  • RC 350 with 314-horsepower V-6
  • RC F with 450-horsepower V-8
  • Seating for four
  • New features and technology

Introduction
Lexus is introducing a new sports coupe to its lineup for the 2015 model year, named the RC. It is based on the same platform that spawns the GS and IS models, but is otherwise distinctly different from both of those sedans. In the United States, the new 2015 Lexus RC will be offered as the RC 350 and the RC F performance model, the latter introduced at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Exterior Features
Wider, lower, and shorter than the Lexus IS, the new 2015 Lexus RC 350 features the company's new signature spindle grille design, L-shaped headlights and taillights, and standard 18-inch aluminum wheels. The 2015 Lexus RC F takes the styling a step further, thanks to a bulging hood required to clear the most powerful engine Lexus has ever offered. Additional changes include engine cooling vents, aerodynamic modifications, an active rear spoiler, and 19-inch, staggered width, forged aluminum wheels.

Interior Features
As is true of other recent Lexus models, the new RC's dashboard is divided into operational and display zones. High-contrast color selections and layered wood trim are standard for the RC 350, as well as a new Lexus Remote Touch Interface system. According to Lexus, the RC is a 4-passenger vehicle.

Compared with the RC 350, the performance-oriented RC F gets unique instrumentation with a large, centrally mounted tachometer. A new steering wheel with an elliptical cross-section thick-grip rim is standard, and the RC F model's seats, pedals, and interior trim are unique to this version of the car.

Optional Features
Lexus plans to offer a special interior lighting package for the RC 350, one employing illumination sources that reflect up rather than down. A Carbon Fiber package is optional for the RC F, adding exposed carbon fiber to the car's roof and active spoiler.

Under the Hood
The 2015 Lexus RC 350 is equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine rated to make 314 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 280 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,800 rpm. An 8-speed Sports Direct Shift transmission with paddle shifters and a Manual mode delivers the power to the rear wheels, and all-wheel drive is optional. The RC 350 rides on a double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension.

Unconfirmed, but possible, for the U.S. market, the Lexus RC 300h is a gas-electric hybrid version that pairs a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with a 105-kW electric motor and an electronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) to generate a combined 217 horsepower. The CVT is programmed to feel like it has six traditional gears.

As the performance flagship, the 2015 Lexus RC F gets a 5.0-liter V-8 engine making a minimum of 450 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque. When cruising on the highway, the engine switches from the Otto combustion cycle to the Atkinson cycle to help conserve gas. A specially-tuned 8-speed Sports Direct Shift transmission with paddle shifters directs power to the RC F Coupe's rear wheels, and a Torque Vectoring Differential offers Standard, Slalom, and Track driving modes. Gas-charged shocks, a front lower structural brace, and a Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system equipped with a vertical G-sensor all improve the car's overall stability, which is good, considering that Lexus claims the top speed is 168 mph.

Safety
With the 2015 RC Coupe, Lexus is offering a new version of its blind-spot monitoring technology that can detect when vehicles are approaching at a high rate of speed in order to discourage the driver from switching lanes while it is unsafe.

Technology
Standard equipment for the new Lexus RC includes a new touch-sensitive Remote Touch Interface for the audio and navigation systems. The performance-oriented RC F model includes a G-force meter and a stopwatch as a part of its unique instrumentation.

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