2015 Lexus RC Sport Coupe

2015 Lexus RC Sport Coupe

Episode 3409
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

If you’ve been following the Lexus brand lately, you know that they’re on an all-out mission to shed their soft, comfy, pure luxury image…that’s still a work in progress; it takes a long time to change people’s minds about a brand. But the new RC coupe just might be the car that speeds that change along. 

The 2015 Lexus RC marks the brand’s reentry into the sporty coupe segment. And from the looks of this car, they’re not jumping back in quietly. The RC may not instantly strike fear into the hearts of the German marques that dominate this segment, but they will certainly know Lexus has joined the party. 

The RC’s compliant, yet very rigid chassis is an all-star for sure. It’s not a new chassis per se, but a modified combination of 2 separate Lexus platforms. The front architecture and suspension comes from the mid-size GS, while the rear comes from the compact IS, with a lot of structural bracing in between. Enough to satisfy a fairly wide variety of tastes.

Taking a walk through the lineup, things start with the RC 350. It’s the tamest model with a 3.5-liter V6 coming directly over from the GS, outputting the same 306-horsepwer and 277 lb-ft. of torque. Transmission is also the same 8-speed automatic, with steering wheel shifters, unless you choose all-wheel-drive in which case you’ll lose 2 gears.

But, the outside is anything but tame. While it may not the most dynamic looking Lexus of all-time, it’s pretty darn close.

It’s still Lexus-smooth, but with plenty of sharp angles and body tucks to drum up some excitement. The front end screams aggression with a big-mouth grille and vertical openings slashed into the corners.

18-inch wheels are standard, with significant fender flares above them. L-shaped LED rear lighting has been updated with clear, jagged lenses protruding out. The rear bumper also gets slashed up with simulated corner vents.

Inside, things are less of a departure. There’s still lots of luxury to touch and plenty of serenity to be had when driving. Lexus calls this a pure 2+2 Coupe, so rear space, especially leg room, is limited.

4-dial gauges set a sporty tone, with a small central TFT screen providing plenty of info. 10.4 cubic-ft of space hides in the trunk, and useful folding rear seatbacks add to that. Neither back-up camera nor navigation are standard, however, but if you do upgrade, there’s a new remote touchpad for inputs. 

Next up the line is the RC 350 F Sport, and the added content is very high. For the exterior, there are 19-inch wheels, unique front and rear fascia, and fender badging. 

Inside it gets even better with supportive sport seats, new sport pedals, LFA-inspired gauges, black headliner, and tasteful silver trim. 

While the Sport’s engine is unchanged, there are lots of mechanical upgrades. Like adaptive variable suspension, high-friction brake pads, 4-wheel steering, and the additional Sport+ driving mode.

We spent most of our drive time in the F Sport and were very impressed with its light and balanced feel. Around the track at the Monticello Motor Club, things felt super-rigid with virtually no flex.

The rear-steer speeds up turn-ins, and the car has an almost Porsche-like competency, where you have a hard time believing you’re having this much fun in a straight-up street car, let alone a Lexus. And you can do some serious pushing without feeling like you’re going to end up in some “epic fail” video on You Tube.

But, where this tale really gets interesting is in the top-of-the-line RC F. This car is serious, with a 467-horsepwer 5.0-liter V8, as well as fully upgraded chassis and brakes.

It’s a beast! On the street, it feels a little nose heavy, and steering is slower, though you can dial in more with Sport and Sport+ settings, but we found it almost too aggressive for everyday use.

On the track however, it comes alive with the V8 growling on acceleration, and barking on downshifts. Transmission is also an 8-speed, but it’s different enough to get a separate internal name.

A Torsen limited-slip rear is standard and you can upgrade to a torque vectoring rear, which includes “set-it-and-forget-it” presets for standard, slalom, and track. The torque vectoring rear is highly recommended, as it allows you to seriously late brake and perform dare-devil late turn-ins well beyond your skill set.

All of that, along with huge 6-piston Brembos up front, make the RC F a legit player in the RS, M, and AMG game. Lexus claims 0-60 happens in 4.4-seconds and we believe it. 

Prices are competitive too, starting at $43,715 for the RC 350, the F Sport comes in at $47,700, and the big-dog RC F goes for $63,325. 

While the LFA got the performance-image ball rolling for Lexus, things have been slow in gaining momentum. But we think the 2015 RC is a game changer, and just what the Lexus makeover has been waiting for.

Specifications

  • Engine: 3.5 liter V6
  • Horsepower: 306
  • Torque: 277 lb-ft.
2024 Lexus GX550

2024 Lexus GX550

It’s A Land Cruiser With A Lexus Badge

Episode 4344
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

When most people think of Lexus SUVs, they tend to think of the RX, and for good reason. The RX was a key player in popularizing the luxury SUV market as we know it today. But, the Lexus SUV world is much bigger than that, of course, including something for adventurous, rugged, off-road types.

We’re not about to claim that there’s some kind of body-on-frame SUV resurgence happening, but it’s clear that car-like crossovers haven’t fully taken over the SUV world just yet; and more than any other brand, Toyota seems on a mission to make SUVs truly great again. Even when it comes to their Lexus brand with this new 2024 Lexus GX550.

When the first gen GX arrived for 2003, it seemed to go out of its way to disguise its substantial off-road capabilities behind some very soft-roader sheet-metal, but those that knew… knew that underneath, the GX was based on the rugged J120 Land Cruiser. Fast forward to this third-gen GX, and it looks like Lexus is fully embracing that Land Cruiser kinship going boxier and bolder than ever before. Square lines, chunky fenders, wide track, short overhangs, highly vertical windshield; all hallmarks of serious off-roaders.

The GX is also the first Lexus to benefit from their Overtrail Project which encourages Lexus owners to get out of their comfort zones and experience what their luxo-ute is actually capable of. So, Overtrail models are outfitted with 33-inch all-terrain tires on 18-inch wheels, a locking rear diff, and an Electronic Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System that can independently unlock both front and rear stabilizer bars for more wheel articulation.

2024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Front
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2024 Lexus GX550 3/4 Rear
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Just like the recently released Toyota J250 Land Cruiser, the GX is built on Toyota’s Tundra truck frame, but instead of a four-cylinder turbo-hybrid, it’s launching with a 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6 with 349-horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. That’s 48-horsepower and 150 lb-ft over the previous GX’s V8. Max tow rating shoots up from 6,500 to 9,096-lbs. The GX works exclusively with a 10-speed automatic transmission, with full-time four-wheel-drive and a two-speed transfer case standard. Lexus says a hybrid option will be available later, but no word on if it’s the Land Cruiser’s 2.4-liter I4 hybrid or the V6 hybrid that’s currently available in the Tundra pickup.

It doesn’t take much time behind the wheel to appreciate the high seating position and great visibility of the GX; as rugged as it looks outside, it still feels plenty luxurious inside, and is highly functional too. There’s a big control center in front of the dash with a high-mounted 14-inch touchscreen, and dedicated knobs for temperature and volume just below. A third row of seating is available in most trims, providing space for six or seven passengers. But if you go Overtrail, Lexus assumes you’re not the big family type and would rather have the space for packing adventure gear, so it’s the only trim that is five-passenger only.

As rugged as it looks outside, it still feels plenty luxurious inside, and is highly functional too.

While the double-wishbone front and rear multi-link suspension of this Overtrail is clearly off-road inspired, it held up well enough in our Mason Dixon Dragway handling course. Slow and steady definitely won the race here, as the GX felt big and heavy, with notable weight shifting on transitions through the cones, and light steering. Stability systems were eager to kick in well before things could get out of sorts.

Buyers can add Lexus’ Adaptive Variable Suspension for smoothing things out on the highways without sacrificing off-road capabilities. It launched quite aggressively off the line in acceleration runs; again, sturdy and truck-like, with all four wheels biting into the pavement and propelling us forward harder than we were expecting, hitting 60 in 6.5 seconds.

2024 Lexus GX550 Dashboard
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2024 Lexus GX550 Infotainment
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2024 Lexus GX550 Front Seat
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Lots of grip and no drama, as this turbo-six puts plenty of power down instantly. It sounds good too; powerful, with a nice throaty exhaust note that was more of a V8 rumble than V6 trumpet. Quarter-mile completed in 14.9-seconds at 94 mph.

Braking runs were a little inconsistent, with the off-road tires seemingly gripping and pulling us in different directions. But stops averaged a great 114-feet from 60 mph, so we’ll accept the slightly unsettled feel.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 15-City, 21-Highway, and 17-Combined; we averaged a respectable 20.1 mpg of Premium. But it garners a worse than average Energy Impact Score of 17.5-barrels of yearly oil use, with 8.3-tons of CO2 emissions.

Pricing starts with Premium grade at $64,250, ranging to Luxury at $77,250, with Overtrail in between at $69,250. All trims can be plus sized for additional features.

The 2024 Lexus GX550 is clearly not just another luxury saturated soft-roader. It’s a real deal Land Cruiser with a Lexus moniker, and this Overtrail is the most off-road capable Lexus ever. That not only makes it appealing to traditional Lexus buyers, but to a whole “range” of new conquests as well.

Specifications

  • Engine: 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6
  • Transmission: 10-speed automatic
  • Horsepower: 349
  • Torque: 479 lb-ft
  • EPA: 15 City | 21 Highway | 17 Combined
  • 0-60 mph: 6.5 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.9 seconds at 94 mph
  • 60-0 Braking (avg): 114 feet
  • MW Fuel Economy: 20.1 mpg (Premium)
  • Max Tow Rating: 9,096-lbs