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2015 Lexus RC Coupe Key to Attracting New Lexus Loyalists

2015 Lexus RC Coupe Key to Attracting New Lexus Loyalists

By Jeff Youngs, September 15, 2014

Lexus has finalized details for its new sports coupe, the 2015 RC 350 and RC F Sport, which the automaker calls "the best handling regular production Lexus yet."

A 2+2 coupe, the new Lexus RC rides on a unique chassis drawing upon elements of the GS and IS sedans, as well as the IS convertible. Both RC models are equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine making 306 horsepower and 277 lb.-ft. of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard, as well as an updated version of the IS F Sedan's Sports Program Direct Shift technology. The transmission offers Normal, Sport, and M driving modes, the latter designed to rapidly execute downshifts while simultaneously matching engine revs.

Additionally, the RC is equipped with Drive Mode Select, which tailors powertrain response, electric steering assist, and the air conditioning to Normal, Sport S, and Eco settings. Lexus will also offer an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system for the RC, or all-weather drive in Lexus parlance. The system varies the power split from 20/80 front-to-rear to a 50/50 split, the car featuring a rear-wheel power bias the majority of the time. Note, however, that AWD comes only with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Lexus characterizes the RC F Sport as a "road warrior with a refined attitude." This model isn't more powerful but does include larger brakes with 2-piece rotors and upgraded brake pads as well as an Adaptive Variable Suspension that is looped in with the car's Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) technology and its Pre-Collision System (PCS). Additionally, the F Sport version's Drive Mode Select system adds suspension tuning to its repertoire in addition to an exclusive Sport+ setting. A Lexus Dynamic Handling (LDH) system is available for the RC F Sport and includes Dynamic Rear-wheel Steering as well as Variable Gear Ratio Steering that changes its ratio based on vehicle speed and conditions.

Lexus says the RC Coupe's exterior design is aerodynamically optimized for high-speed stability and efficiency. The car wears the signature Lexus grille and L-shaped LED lighting, and the rear lighting features a 3-D effect that is claimed by the automaker to resemble "glittering gems." All versions of the car feature staggered width wheels, in 18-in. or 19-in. sizes. The RC F Sport wears a unique 10-spoke 19-in. design.

Lexus also says that the RC is the first car to offer production contrast layered paint. Seven shades are offered for the RC 350, and the signature color is called Infrared. The RC F Sport is offered in three additional exclusive colors.

Inside, Lexus has created a layered cabin design that it says reflects the influence of LFA supercar design, blending "pure Lexus luxury" with a "strong sports car aesthetic." Lexus employs high-contrast color schemes that are designed to evoke emotion, and the RC features new upward-reflecting LED cabin lighting, premium leather, layered shimamoku wood treatments, and an analog clock styled after high-end sports watches. Large kneepads speak to the car's performance intent, and the driver faces a 4-dial gauge layout with a 4.2-in. LCD TFT display screen.

Lexus says the RC offers "cutting-edge infotainment technology." A Remote Touchpad controller provides smartphone-style utility with tap, flick, and pinch gesture recognition to control the audio, navigation, and other systems. Two different Mark Levinson audio systems are available as upgrades, and the RC offers a
dual-zone, 2-layer climate control system and heated and ventilated front seats. Exclusive interior elements for the RC F Sport include LFA-style gauges, aluminum pedals, perforated leather on the steering wheel and shift knob, a unique upholstery treatment, and a special Rioja Red interior color.

Lexus hasn't forgotten about safety and utility, either. The 10.4 cu.-ft. trunk can be expanded thanks to a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, and Lexus says snowboards will fit inside the car. The new Lexus RC also features 8 air bags, new blind-spot monitor technology that identifies rapidly approaching vehicles in adjacent lanes, a rear cross-traffic alert system, and an available adaptive cruise control system with pre-collision brake and pre-collision brake assist.

The 2015 Lexus RC goes on sale in the fall of 2014; prices will be announced closer to the car's arrival in showrooms.

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