First Impressions of the Lexus RC

Lexus RC Tokyo Hero

This week in Japan, Lexus debuted their new RC coupe — it was first revealed at a special event at Ryōgoku Kokugikan sumo stadium on Monday, and then it had its public debut at the Tokyo Motor Show.

This is the brand’s first mass-production hardtop coupe since 2000, and marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Lexus performance — let’s take a tour of the design, starting with the front end:

Lexus RC Front

There’s a lot to like about the RC front end design, with its triple LED headlights and unusual fog light integration:

Lexus RC Tokyo Headlight

Lexus RC Tokyo Foglight

The headlights shouldn’t be possible on a production car, the design is absolutely standout:

Lexus RC Tokyo Headlight 2

Before seeing the car, I had some reservations about the vertical waterfall pattern of the front grille — the design really stood out in the first (heavily photoshopped) photos, much bolder than necessary.

In person, the grille works much better:

Lexus RC Tokyo Grille

The full body profile of the car is great — sleek, sculptured, muscular:

Lexus RC Tokyo Side

Much like the LF-LC, one of the best angles of the car is along the rear fender:

Lexus RC Tokyo Angle

The rear design feels right — the taillights with their integrated L shape, the beefy bumper, the way the body lines curve into the back:

The slats built into the bumper are a strange touch, interesting in shape but too visible given their black color:

Lexus RC Tokyo Slats

Overall, the RC design is a success — it brings a new edge to the Lexus lineup, and establishes some strong new elements into the brand’s design language.

While I didn’t understand it at first, introducing the standard RC first means there’s a natural progression — add the common F SPORT design cues like a mesh grille, larger wheels, and more aggressive bumper lines, and this RC will be transformed. It’s going to look great.

Perhaps the biggest thing is how the RC stands as its own — while it may share much of the IS sedan’s interior, the exterior is brand new and unlike any other car in the lineup. Lexus could have simply built an IS coupe, but instead created a model that exists independently with no unnecessary artificial limitations. If anything, this shows just how serious Lexus is about this new model — now the next test is how it drives!


  • DrazenDodig

    did you manage to check the interior? Can two kids fit in the back normally? 10-12yr olds? Looks kind of cramped, i wonder how it compares to 2IS which is already cramped in the back.

  • mrxandthexfactor

    Excellent photos. The car is absolutely drop dead gorgeous.

  • Eric

    You said you would speak to the Chief Engineer. How come I still don’t read anything about the car’s weight ??

  • leopard08

    This car outshines the m4 with easly. The company that designed the ft86 cant fail will this car. They could have just taken the out the rear doors of the IS and call it a day. easy way out is obviously not a lexus way out

  • Pistol Pete

    Awesome write up and pics to boot. I can’t believe this is only the 300h model, it makes the m4 appear feeble, limpy and flaccid…

    We still have yet to see the RC Fsport, RC F and convertible iterations and i can only imagine its gonna completely decimate the entire 4 series line, hells yeah to that

  • Travis

    F ing HOT. This coupe is going to be a serious hit when it goes on sale. A true Lexus hardtop has been missing for so long.

  • Travis

    It even makes the A5 look like a sheet of metal

  • Travis

    Is it just me or is this one of the best looking factory paint jobs you have ever seen this side of a none 3 digit car ?

    The shine is incredible.

  • Danny

    Still no estimated price? I read 43K start so it could compete with the 4 series coupe but no concrete numbers have been posted to my knowledge

  • Bray

    The grill needs to be upgraded to the F-sport full spindle grille on the IS sedans with the F sport pack. I know this is the hybrid version but they should put their best foot forward & show us a sportier version.

  • Lasse J. Nordvik

    The RC looks far more exotic,glamorous and special than it’s BMW and Audi counterparts. It’s has the sort of style and mystique normally reserved for considerably more expensive machines like Aston Martin and Maserati.

  • lexi

    Can’t Lexus design a better tail lights? Their tail lights looks like an upgraded version of Toyota. It does not look like luxury to me. Hell, look at Kia’s new Optima and K900 taillight it looks more luxurious and bold, ala MB and Audi… and Lexus signal llight should be all LED! After all lexus is a Luxury car. Right?

  • Clubae86

    I am sure Lexus is well aware of it’s direct competitors price point. And from previous experience with Lexus Line-up they’ve always managed to edge out the competition by quite a bit

  • corradoMR2

    Great pics! I’m happy Lexus is showing off the beautiful integrated dual exhaust tips despite that particular model being the hybrid. A Lexus first and a testament to this car’s performance roots!

  • BlackDynamiteOnline

    Lexus disappoints.
    They could have made a coupe 100 different ways, all of them better.

    The interior is hot, but most won’t get that close to it…..

  • Lexus Cohen

    The front end has grown onto me. Fsport trim and my GS Fsport has to worry!

  • F1orce

    What you on about the Tail-lights are epic. They’re elegant, classy while still maintaining a sporty stance. And LED turn signals? Who really cares? BMW uses LED turn signal and they look ugly when they light on and off.

  • F1orce

    Like anyone buys a sports coupe for family purposes..

  • Mohammed Taha

    They messed up pretty bad with this one, huh!

    We don’t often agree but the fact that we agree on this says a lot. Lol

  • Lexusforum

    Great impression and very nice pics! The car looks awesome. I think Lexus learned from the introduction of the IS. A lot of people were overwhelmed by the F-sport and found it just a tad too much. Then the normal version came… :)

  • Hamed Al Sayes

    Well I’m sure when it comes out everyone is gonna LOVE it in person and the style of this car is going to grow on everyones eyes :D

  • leopard08

    dude please! Your negativity is getting real lame

  • Eddie

    I just notices this but the taillights were inspired by the LF-Gh concept.

  • Eddie


  • Lasse J. Nordvik

    It does happen,actually. It’s not the primary demographic group for a car like this,but if I had kids I’d still want to own an exciting car,if at all feasible.

  • Raptor

    Don’t be hard on BD, he is one of the biggest Lexus fans period. I like other fans feel his pain but I have to say there is a lot of good going on here. Though I don’t like the way the headlights integrate with the body I love the triple L LED look; I think Lexus should make that their primary look like BMW’s halos. The rear quarter panel side vents are a bit much and the spindle grille towards the bottom is over the top but other than that I think you have the perfect coupe here. That paint is awesome!

  • OlFius

    If there’s one thing I don’t like, then it is those triple L LED lights.
    It’s like X-mas, everyday ! I hate it.

    Just look at Audi: every car has his own fancy lights, even for the same product line but from another build year, are the lights ‘re-styled’.
    The L-shape lights alone are more then enough.

  • corradoMR2

    Car is gorgeous overall, silver especially, but I still can’t seem to get over the drooping moustache front-end. The Spindle grill bottom opens up too wide. Time will tell… My gut tells me the F-Sport will have the perfect proportions – a narrower bottom like the IS F-Sport vs non-F-Sport

  • Zverigorok

    I can’t think of a better looking coupe….
    Defiantly proud of Lexus.
    I wonder if RCF will be shown Detroit show than I’m shure RC F-sport should be showen before that.

  • BlackDynamiteOnline

    I can. The original 1992 SC400!
    Not even close…..

  • Power by Lexus

    Can’t wait for RC 200t, GS 200t, IS 200t, CT 200t….

  • RAL

    hope you are right . . . like an optimist!

  • RAL

    I appreciate your forthright opinion in the face of a tidal wave of delight . . . There are others of us who agree with you!

  • RAL

    Despite all of my dislikes . . . I have to say the side profile, especially the roof line, works.

  • Hamed Al Sayes

    Like what happened to the Lexus IS…
    Most of the people were like it’s ugly … but then they changed their mind when they saw it in person :D

  • krew

    That’s interesting — love the headlights myself, and could have taken pictures of them all day.

  • krew

    I’m surprised by your dislike — are there specific design elements you don’t like? As I mentioned above, I’m not wild about the grille, but everything else seems spot on.

  • krew

    Haven’t heard any pricing myself, but it will likely be in line with the BMW 4-series & Audi A5.

  • krew

    I did take some photos of the interior, but wasn’t able to get inside and couldn’t judge space.

  • krew

    Agree — this red paint was outstanding.

  • kr_metal

    I’m not going to agree or disagree with your statement, but on a side note they are a bit reminiscent of the outgoing Mazda 6’s rear lights. Just a bit.

  • kr_metal

    I still think the copious amounts of chrome is excessive and the bottom part of the grille is just too wide.

  • M

    I beg you, Lexus, put into this car the V10 from FLA and hybrid technology. :)

  • Boy Li

    Looks more like a ferrari sedan vehicle.