What Is It?
The 2019 Lexus RC is a premium compact coupe from the luxury division of Toyota. The reason why this version is newsworthy and the 2018 model wasn’t so much is that the 2019 model-year RC marks a midlife revamp, unveiled at the Paris show.
As well as tweaks to the styling (the rear end looks especially angular, but it’s still unmistakably a Lexus overall) are revisions to the suspension, the 4-cylinder engine and the aerodynamics. Addressing the suspension, Lexus claims to have made the RC sharper in its responses while simultaneously providing a supple ride quality, thanks to new shock absorbers and stiffer bushings. The tire choice is said to result in better grip and steering feel over the previous year’s model. The electric power steering has also been recalibrated.
Engine-wise, Lexus says it has updated the control unit in the 241-horsepower 4-cylinder RC 300 rear-drive version to optimize transmission shift points, throttle responses and turbocharger responses. But power output remains unchanged for all three engines in the range (the others are a 260-hp V6 and a 311-hp V6). In the aerodynamic department, Lexus says fin shapes on the side window molds and ducts in the rear bumper improve the flow of air around the car, leading to greater stability.
An updated optional Premium package brings memory settings for the driver’s seat, power-adjustable steering and side mirrors, plus rain-sensing wipers, heated/ventilated front seats and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. In addition, the 2019 RC offers Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa compatibility and a new Blue Vortex Metallic exterior paint color.
The 2019 Lexus RC 300 with rear-wheel drive starts at $42,140. The all-wheel-drive version of the RC 300 has the less powerful V6 and costs from $44,830. The RWD RC 350 begins at $45,070; add $2,165 for AWD.
When Can You Get It?
Add It to Your Shopping List Because…
It offers an excellent value proposition with many standard features that would be optional in German rivals. And there’s always that excellent Lexus build quality to enjoy.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Audi A5/S5 — Superb, classy and quite spacious for a compact coupe. Comes with 252 hp in regular form; the S5 packs 354 hp.
2019 BMW 4 Series — The class benchmark, with pace and poise. Few manufacturers can make a car this thrilling.
2019 Infiniti Q60 — Competent. A 400-hp version tops the range, but the feel-free steer-by-wire option should be avoided.
2019 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe — Available as a regular 255-hp C 300 right up to a 503-hp AMG C 63 S. The 386-hp AMG C43 hits a particularly sweet spot.
See all 2018 Paris Auto Show articles