It’s hard to believe that the Lexus RC has already been with us for four years, but time is flying, so for the 2019 model year, Lexus gave the RC a facelift. On the outside the 2019 Lexus RC sports a new face and at the rear there are also some styling updates, but one thing we wish got updated are the RC’s powertrain options.
At the front the 2019 RC has new headlights that now incorporate the daytime running lights, which gives it a cleaner look than the previous version with its old daytime running lights that sat below the headlights. The front bumper has also redesigned. The updated face isn’t dramatically different, but it’s an improvement. At the rear the taillights have also been redesigned with LED light strips and rear air ducts have been added to the corners of the bumper.
Inside there’s a new knee pad for the driver, redesigned cup holders and a new Dark Gray Streamline treatment on the center console. The infotainment system has also been updated with Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa, but you still have to use it via the weird console-mounted touchpad controller. The updates to the interior are welcome, but the RC’s biggest shortcoming inside is the lack of legroom in the second row. Good luck getting any of your friends to go back there that are taller than 5’5″.
Under the skin the RC rides on a chassis that combines parts from the IS and GS sedans. For the mid-cycle update the suspension has also received some tweaks and the electric power steering has also been updated to make the RC more fun to drive. If you want the sportiest option besides the high performance RC F, go for the RC 350 F Sport. The F Sport model adds a sportier suspension, adaptive dampers and stickier 19-inch tires.
The 2019 RC is available with three engine options. The base RC 300 is powered by a 241-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, while the RC 350 gets a 311-hp 3.5-liter V6. If all-wheel drive is necessary, the RC 300 and RC 350 are is available with it. The RC 300 AWD is powered by a 260-hp 3.5-liter V6, but the RC 350 AWD gets the same engine as the rear-wheel drive version. The all-wheel drive RC sends its power to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission, but the rest of the RC lineup gets an eight-speed.
Lexus says that the RC 350 will reach 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds, while the all-wheel drive version is slightly slower at 6.0 seconds to 60 mph. Even with those sub-6 seconds times, the RC 350 never really feels that fast. Around town it’s acceptable, but if you want to have a little fun on an empty back country road, you’ll be disappointed.
While we wish that the 3.5L V6 packed a bit more power, the RC 350 does have a comfortable ride. The RC 350 F Sport tightens things up a bit, but it doesn’t punish your back when the road gets a bit rough. The steering is also nicely weighted with a good amount of feedback. If you want to dial things up, there’s the Sport and Sport+ drive modes.
While the updated styling is an improvement, what the RC really needs are more impressive engine options. Right now the RC exists as a stylish coupe, but it can’t really rival the BMW 440i in the performance department.
The 2019 Lexus RC 350 F Sport starts at $51,815.