The RC is part of a ride and handling revolution at Lexus, something which began with the latest-generation GS and gained further momentum with the launch of the new IS. Although it’s built on the GS platform, the RC is not simply a two-door derivative of a saloon, but differs in all its dimensions from the GS and IS.
Two versions were revealed: the RC 350 with a 3.5-litre V6 engine teamed with an eight-speed sequential transmission and the RC 300h hybrid with a 2.5-litre petrol unit.
The designers have endowed the RC with deeply contoured lines and crafted the widest and lowest-set interpretation yet of the Lexus spindle grille.
Triangular headlamps capture the sporty characteristics of the earlier LF-LC concept along with the novel three-lamp LED configuration that was part of the show car’s design. Both front and rear lighting units use the Lexus L-design motif.
The aluminium wheels further express the concept-to-production design philosophy with two designs: a deeply sculpted, 10-spoke 19-inch wheel and a muscular, five-spoke 18-inch version. Both are precision machined and finished with elegant black and platinum caps.
The hero colour for the RC is red, with a new Lexus painting process giving brighter and stronger contrasts through using multiple layers of clear and deeper-coloured coating.
The four-seat interior of the RC is strongly influenced by Lexus’ sports concepts reflected in the extensive use of contrasting colours, materials and lighting.
The driver’s cockpit follows the established Lexus design principle of an upper operation zone and lower display zone. The upper zone houses the instrument panel and seven-inch navigation screen. Lower down the layered centre console integrates the Remote Touch Interface controller.
The seats are made using an integrated foaming construction, similar to the moulding technique used for racing seats, to provide excellent comfort and support.
The RC’s strong and purpose-built chassis represents the latest stage in Lexus’ mission to deliver a world-class driving experience, building on the advances made with both the latest GS and IS models.
The RC V6’s specific output per litre is second only in the Lexus range to the LFA. The dual-injection 3.5-litre petrol unit produces a maximum 234kW and peak torque of 380Nm.
The eight-speed Sports Direct Shift transmission with paddle-shift controls is adapted from that used previously in the IS F, optimised for power delivery and economy. In manual mode, full torque-converter lock-up from second to eighth gear allows for downchanges in just two tenths of a second.
The hybrid - the first Lexus hybrid coupé - uses a dual-injected 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a 105kW electric motor driven through an electronic continuously variable transmission (E-CVT) with a Shiftmatic function providing six step gears.
According to market, the RC will be offered in front- or all-wheel-drive configurations.
Further details of the European powertrain line-up will be announced in 2014.