The 2021 Lexus RC sports coupe dials up the fun while still being affordable. The RC is a sports coupe with two powertrain choices in rear- or all-wheel drive. The segment thins more every year, but the remaining competitors range from the Audi A5 to the Ford Mustang. It’s a good sports coupe with good standard features and good performance upgrades, but is it good enough? Cars, and especially coupes, seem to be a dying breed.
For 2021, Lexus added blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alerts and heated side mirrors as standard equipment, and it introduced a limited-run Black Line Special Edition based on the F Sport grade.
Once past the brash and in-your-face front end, the 2021 Lexus RC strikes a handsome profile that’s especially toned in RC F Sport and the RC F. The top RC F model enhances the muscular look of the sports coupe with large 19-inch BBS wheels and side air curtains and a hood vent to help cool the big V-8.
The 472-hp V-8 is one of three engine choices and two transmissions for the rear-wheel drive coupe that’s available in all-wheel drive. A pedestrian 241-hp turbo-4 resides in the base model, but we’d guide shoppers to the 311-hp V-6 and the adaptive suspension in F Sport models that ease the stiffness for daily driving but firm it up during more demanding inputs.
The RC 350 F Sport is marginally more expensive and only slightly less efficient, trimming 1 mpg to 23 mpg combined from the RC 300. Good standard safety equipment such as automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitors offset the narrow side and rear vision, and the RC fared well in crash tests performed by the IIHS.
Technically a four-seater, the Lexus RC best fits two and those rear seats are best folded down to increase the meager 10.4 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk. But Lexus decks out the RC in quality touches, such as synthetic leather upholstery, wood trim, and myriad buttons and switches for the infotainment and climate controls.
For $43,245, Lexus equips the 2021 RC with power front seats, a 7.0-inch display screen with smartphone compatibility, a good warranty, and a CD player. The RC F performance model and its V-8 engine cost $68,450, but Lexus offers a track-star version costing just under $100,000.
The 2021 Lexus RC is either a wonderful grand-touring coupe or racetrack-ready rocket depending on configuration. Sensuous styling, a good value, and above-average reliability continue the high Lexus standards. The RC is definitely worth a look since it draws attention both on and off the track.