2018 Lexus RC coupe: prices, specs and on-sale date

Lexus' RC coupe gains sharper looks and tweaks to handling

The Lexus RC coupe has been given a new look to bring it in line with the flagship Lexus LC, together with tweaks promised to "heighten driving pleasure". It'll go on sale on 1 November, priced from £38,800.

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Introduced in 2014, the Lexus RC is now a far older design than its BMW 4 Series, Mercedes C-Class Coupe and Audi A5 rivals, but this hefty update intends to bring the sporty three-door coupe up to date. The most obvious change is outside, where the RC adopts a similar style to the range-topping Lexus LC, a sports car that also lends its style to the updated RC's interior. There are changes under the metal, too, with claimed improvements in stability without sacrificing ride quality.

Lexus RC facelift: design and technology

The facelifted RC's front end is dominated by a restyled front bumper, which now incorporates air ducts that ape the distinctive shape of the LC's headlamps. The RC's new LED headlamps feature a less prominent 'teardrop' shape on their triple LED section, while the inside corners of the lamps point sharply inwards. This emphasises the pinched waist of Lexus' signature 'spindle' grille, the patterned mesh of which expands towards the car's front splitter This effect will be partially concealed by the front number plate that's mandatory in the UK, however.

The Lexus LC's influence is just as strong around the back, particularly in the large air ducts to the extreme edges of the car, which are claimed to manage airflow with the result of improving handling stability and response, although it's likely that the updated car's wider stance and lower centre of gravity are more directly responsible. Meanwhile, new rear lamp clusters adopt the L-shaped theme that will also grace future Lexus coupes. As ever, the RC F Sport model can be distinguished by its unique grill mesh pattern, and the latest version will be set apart by newly designed 19-inch alloy wheels.

Interior and technology

The updated Lexus RC has a new look inside, too, with Lexus paying particular attention to material quality, as exemplified by the brushed metal climate and audio control panels. Lexus claims a greater feeling of space for RC occupants, too, thanks to repositioned knee pads either side of the centre console, with prominent use of detailed stitching on those areas frequently touched to add to visual and tactile appeal. The RC also now shares its analogue clock with the flagship LC.

As well as improving passenger comfort, the RC's update aims to make life more exciting for the driver, too. Employing the “sharper and more graceful” ethos behind the LC, Lexus claims that the RC's aerodynamics and mechanical package have been overhauled, making the updated car "more athletic and responsive than ever".

Tweaks aside, physical changes include new shock absorbers and stiffer suspension bushings, which work together to respond more immediately to changes in the road surface. Lexus says that the mechanical changes are the outcome of extensive real-world testing.

New Lexus RC line-up

Lexus has announced a streamlined trim level structure for the updated RC: base, F Sport and Takumi. Even the base gets plenty of kit, including 18-inch alloy wheels, the 'Lexus Safety System+' that includes automatic emergency braking (AEB) and lane-keeping assistance, a reversing camera, sat nav and man-made leather upholstery. A sunroof is optional, as is black or 'dark rose' leather and a heated steering wheel.

As well as the unique grille mesh mentioned above, F Sport cars have orange brake calipers that visible between the thin spokes of its 19-inch alloy wheels. It also boasts leather upholstery, sports front seats, a unique steering wheel and aluminium pedals to create a driver-focused mood, tempting you to test out the standard adaptive suspension system. Extra distinctiveness is provided by a choice of three colours unique to the F Sport.

The range-topping Takumi has a luxury focus, adding a stereo by hi-fi experts Mark Levinson, a different 10-spoke design of 19-inch alloy wheels, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a memory setting for the driver's seat. It too has leather as standard, and adds a sunroof. Alternatively, you can choose to add a Takumi Pack to the F Sport, which adds the Mark Levinson stereo and sunroof as well as a heated steering wheel, combining luxury and sportiness.

Lexus RC facelift: price and on-sale date

Order books for the the facelifted Lexus RC will open on 1 November, at £38,800 for the entry-level RC. The RC F Sport costs £42,300, or £44,300 with the Takumi pack, and the Takumi heads the range at £45,800.

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