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Overview (Final Score: C-)
Most buyers who decide to buy a compact luxury coupe are doing so to make a statement. They don’t want to follow those who decide to go with a sedan or crossover. For the longest time this segment was dominated by the likes of the BMW 3/4-Series Coupe,and Coupe.
But the past few years have seen some new entrants in the class. One of those is one you might not expect: Lexus. The company introduced the RC coupe back in 2015 to provide a unique alternative to the usual suspects.
What We Love About the 2017 Lexus RC 200t:
- Exterior design that stands out from the crowd
- Good balance between comfort and sport
- Well-crafted interior
What We Don’t Love About the 2017 Lexus RC 200t:
- Performance of turbo engine is disappointing
- Infotainment system is slightly frustrating to use
- Don’t expect much storage or rear seat space
The RC 200t uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 241 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This is paired exclusively with an 8-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive. Despite the aggressive image put out there by the RC’s exterior, the turbo-four cannot match it. Performance is only adequate, as there seems to be enough power when leaving a stop, not a significant rush that you would experience in competitors. Some of this can be laid at the RC 200t’s curb weight of 3,733 pounds. You’ll notice that you need to be in the mid-range of the rpm band to feel any notion of speed.
On the plus side, the turbo-four doesn’t have much lag. The 8-speed automatic delivers crisp and smooth shifts for the daily drive, but we found ourselves wishing the gear changes were a little bit quicker when put into the Sport mode.
If you’re looking for a coupe that can soak up the miles, the RC 200t is a good choice. Bumps and uneven pavement are dealt with no intrusions coming inside. The F-Sport package isn’t as smooth due to larger wheels and lower-profile tires. Wind noise is kept to silent levels, while there is a fair amount of road noise coming inside, especially from the floor.
When it comes to curvy roads, the RC 200t is willing to play. The model feels composed in the corners and the steering provides a decent amount of weight and road feel. If you want to make the RC 200t something that can give German models a run for their money, then seriously consider the F-Sport package that brings adaptive dampers, new tires, revised steering and more. We have driven a RC 350 F-Sport and can say it is quite good fun.
Pricing and Value (7/10)
The 2017 RC 200t begins at $40,155, while the F-Sport will set you back $44,260. Our modestly equipped RC 200t tester rung in at around $45,000 with a few options ticked such as adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and navigation. If you have your heart set on the RC 200t, then we would recommend something along the lines of our tester. Otherwise, save up a bit more cash and go for the RC 350.
Total Score and Competitive Comparison (56/80, 70%)
When it comes compact luxury coupes, the elephant in the room is the BMW 4 Series. The 430i offers similar 248 horsepower but is much quicker than the RC 200t – 5.5 vs 7.1 seconds to get to 60 mph. Many also consider it to be the benchmark in terms of handling and the iDrive infotainment system is one of the best infotainment systems on sale. One downside is the 430i costs over $3,000 more than the RC 200t.
Cadillac’s ATS Coupe comes a low price of $37,595 and gives many coupes a run for the money in terms of handling. However, the ATS trails competitors in terms of the interior materials and infotainment. The Mercedes C-Class Coupe is quite the stunner with a handsome exterior and a well-appointed interior. The C-Class also offers a comfortable ride similar to the RC.
The 2017 Lexus RC stands out with its polarizing design and relaxing drive. But there are many negatives to the RC, such as the limited amount of space for passengers and cargo, an infotainment screen that is frustrating to use, and the turbo-four that doesn’t deliver the performance the coupe is hinting at. You should seriously consider the competition first before checking out the RC. Otherwise you may end up disappointed.
Read the FULL REVIEW Now to get expert tips on the 2017 Lexus RC 200t’s safety, reliability, fuel economy, interior, exterior, technology and more.