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Lexus Adding New RC 350 Coupe

Performance RC F model may also be in offing.

by on Nov.04, 2013

Lexus adds an all-new line of coupes with the debut of the 2015 RC 350 and RC 300h.

Look for Lexus to introduce the all-new RC 350 coupe at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show – but calling this an entirely new model line isn’t entirely accurate.

As BMW has just done, splitting off the old 3-Series Coupe and rebadging it the 4-Series, so Lexus is doing with the two-door version of its familiar IS line.  But while the Lexus RC 350 will have fewer doors the images the maker has released in advance of the Tokyo show reveals that the coupe will have a significantly bigger and more dramatic version of the now-familiar Lexus “spindle” grille.

A Real Coup!

The interior, meanwhile, adopts a more refined and sporty appearance than the entry-oriented Lexus IS, with a more driver-oriented layout designed, says Lexus, to “enhance the fun-to-drive intention of the RC.”

The new Lexus RC will be offered with either a 3.5-liter V-6 or a hybrid package.

(2014 Lexus IS lands on “short list” for North American Car of the Year. Click Here to see the full list of semi-finalists.)

As is so often the case, these days, the vehicle that will go on display in Tokyo is being described as a “concept,” but unlike the highly polarizing LF-NX compact crossover prototype first seen at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, the Lexus RC 350 is expected to reappear in a matter of months at the maker’s showrooms in the U.S. and other parts of the world.

The new Lexus RC measures 184.8 inches, nose-to-tail, with a 107.5-inch wheelbase.  It sits 54.9 inches tall with a 72.4-inch width. Lexus currently plans two versions, including the RC 350 which features a 3.5-liter V-6, and the RC 300h hybrid, which pairs the familiar Lexus Hybrid Synergy Drive system with an 2.5-liter inline-four.

Precise engine power specifications have yet to be released, though it would be a surprise if the V-6 doesn’t deliver something close to what we’re already seeing from the new Lexus IS 350, at 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque.

(Lexus ES gets “advanced” rating for front-crash avoidance system. Click Hereto see who else won kudos from the IIHS.)

A more sporty, high-contrast interior.

Meanwhile, there have been a number of sightings of what sources are calling the Lexus RC F, a two-door take on the 5.0-liter V-8-powered IS F.  Early indications are that Lexus is migrating away from the big eight-banger to a supercharged version of the 3.5-liter V-6 and we could see horsepower numbers pushing upwards into the mid-400 range.

We’re hoping to have more details revealed in Tokyo. For the moment, Lexus is only providing some hints of what to come from a vehicle that is meant to continue the effort to “inject emotional appeal into the Lexus DNA.”

The new model, the maker notes, features more aggressive sculpting than the conservative Lexus brand has traditionally been known for. The nose features the lowest and widest use of the spindle grille yet, framed by distinctive, triangular headlamps that harken back to the LF-LC concept vehicle.

The RC features two different wheel designs, including a “deeply sculpted” 10-spoke 19-inch wheel and a more beefy 18-inch design.

Inside, the Lexus RC goes for a high-contract color scheme, both in terms of materials and lighting. One of the more intriguing details is the decision to have interior lamps reflect up, rather than downward.  Though the RC will target the lower end of the Lexus price spectrum, the show car will feature real shimamoku wood highlights.

As with other recent Lexus models, the cockpit is a two-zone design, with the upper portion focused on gauges and displays – including a 7-inch navigation screen – while the lower portion handles switches and other controls.

The seats are said to use a new integrated foam construction process to improve comfort and support.

(Controversial Lexus LF-NX concept targets booming compact crossover market. Click Here for more.)

How much of the Lexus RC show cars will carry over into showroom? The maker hints that the vehicle continues the “concept-to-production design philosophy” which, it would seem, should translate into “a lot of it.”

That still leaves plenty of questions, such as whether the new coupe line will be offered with an all-wheel-drive option or if any version will offer a manual gearbox.  Also unclear: will a Lexus RC 250 be added – or will the Toyota luxury division leave that engine package to the less sporty IS sedan line?

Stay tuned for more details from Tokyo in just a little more than two weeks.

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