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!