- - Friday, August 14, 2015

Brand new for 2015, the Lexus RC 350 is actually based on the Lexus IS sedan model and is a two-door, sporty, and very sexy, coupe with a V6 engine and a luxurious interior. The touchpad controller is the only downside in this Lexus. It’s the infotainment system that controls the navigation and audio functions, and can get a bit tedious to use.

Overlooking that, however, and you have a strong entry-level luxury coupe with the competition in a good crowd like the Audi A5, BMW 4 Series, Cadillac ATS coupe and the Mercedes C350 coupe.

There is only the one trim being offered on the RC 350 and it comes with a choice of rear or all-wheel drive with 18-inch wheels, a variety of drive modes, LED headlights, heated side mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror and rearview camera and the driver seat has an option of 10 adjustments while the passenger has eight to choose. The material is a very high-end vinyl and there is wood and aluminum used in the trim for added appeal.

All the technology needs are taken care of with Bluetooth, audio connect, a seven-inch screen, voice controls, 10 speakers and all the needed audio jack and iPod/USB connections.

You can also add a few more goodies by including an option package from the Premium package with heated and air-conditioned front seats and a blind-spot monitoring function to the Luxury package that will give you auto-dimming side mirrors, rain-sensing windshield wipers and leather upholstery or the All-Weather package, which comes on the All Wheel Drive only and has headlight washers and a windshield wiper de-icer.

If you go for the F Sport package, you get all the Premium package features and a mesh grille, 19-inch wheels, adaptive sport-tuned suspension dampers, upgraded front brake pads, sportier front seats and a driver memory settings with a special instrument design.

If you don’t want to add an entire package there are a few additional features that can be had alone — like the sunroof, LED fog lights, adaptive cruise control and parking sensors for the front and rear of the vehicle.

Under the hood, the 2015 Lexus RC 350 has a 3.5-liter, V6 engine with 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The rear-wheel-drive is standard, but the all-wheel-drive is available in a six-speed automatic.

For safety, the Lexus folks accommodate well with standard features such as antilock disc brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, front seat side, front knee and side curtain airbags as well as the Lexus Enform Safety Connect - a system that informs the driver of a collision and also a stolen-vehicle locator. With the Premium package added safety functions there is also the addition of a blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

A sexy vehicle, the RC 350 cabin sits low to the ground, but with such a sporty vibe it makes sense. Supposedly for four passengers, the backseat passengers had better be tiny, this is a car that is more for two with some space in the back for bags.

The material used inside is super plush and from the dashboard to the center console there is a nice amount of padding for the driver and the passenger and the seats are comfortable for long drives.

While the touchpad does the navigation and audio this features still needs a bit of tweaking. Fortunately, there are also a variety of buttons and knobs throughout, easy to use, for audio and climate needs.

With the 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks that come with an armrest the trunk will give you 10.4 cubic feet, but more with these rear seats folded down.

As for driving the 2015 Lexus RC 350, it’s an easy vehicle to fall in love with since it has a strong, supple engine, easy acceleration and it’s a quiet, classy ride all around. The interior makes you feel very comfortable, and the exterior makes you look very good.

Should You Need to Know: Take note that the Lexus Enform Remote is standard on the 2015 RC350, which gives you access to features like a vehicle status report or a GPS location function if you use it with a smartphone app.

Miles Per Gallon: The 2015 Lexus RC350 I drove got about 19 miles to the gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway.

Cost: The 2015 Lexus RC350 with an F Sport package and moonroof came in with a price tag at $54,220.

For more auto tips and information follow Rita @RitaCook13.

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