2018 Lexus RC 350 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Interior craftsmanship is excellent
  • The ride quality will provide hours of comfortable touring
  • Smooth power from the V6 engine
  • Overall performance comes up short against rivals
  • Infotainment interface is difficult to operate
  • Tiny back seats are small even for children
Other years
2018
Lexus RC 350 for Sale
2018
List Price Estimate
$31,613 - $36,372

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Which RC 350 does Edmunds recommend?

For the RC 350, it's at its best if you stick with the standard rear-wheel-drive configuration and add the optional F Sport package. Besides sporty cosmetic touches inside and out, it also adds an adaptive suspension, which helps improve the car's overall ride comfort and handling capabilities. Don't bother with the Variable Gear Ratio Steering option, though. The car's steering doesn't feel natural, and the RC is less enjoyable to drive because of it.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

7.3 / 10

The 2018 Lexus RC 350 is a comfortable and stylish luxury coupe. It's a fine companion for both commuting and long-distance driving, and it offers all-wheel drive for enhanced traction in wet or snowy conditions. As a performance coupe, though, the RC 350 is a little disappointing.

The RC 350 is more powerful than the RC 300 version, and its smooth-revving V6 now makes a respectable 311 horsepower. That's good enough for the RC 350 to sprint from zero to 60 mph in about 5.9 seconds. But the reality is that most competing coupes with their turbocharged six-cylinder engines are quicker still. Another problem is the RC 350's heavy curb weight, which keeps the car's handling from being razor-sharp.

The 2018 RC 350 wins some points for its smooth and quiet road manners. But we think you'll be happier overall with rivals such as the Audi A5, BMW 440i or Mercedes-AMG C 43 coupe.

2018 Lexus RC 350 models

The 2018 Lexus RC 350 is the most powerful version of the RC luxury sport coupe. It's supported by the less expensive RC 300, which is reviewed separately. Standard features are mostly identical among these variants, with the engine the most significant difference. The RC 350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 (311 horsepower, 280 pound-feet of torque) paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission for rear-wheel-drive models. A six-speed automatic comes with all-wheel-drive versions.

Standard feature highlights include 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, power-adjustable front seats, heated seats (AWD models only), simulated-leather upholstery, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth, a 7-inch color display, voice controls, and a 10-speaker sound system with satellite radio. Also standard is adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and mitigation, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, and Lexus Enform communication and remote services.

A number of option packages are offered, although availability can vary depending on where you live. The Premium package adds heated and ventilated front seats and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The Luxury package includes those items plus automatic wipers, perforated-leather upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel (with a heated rim on AWD models) and driver-seat memory settings. The All-Weather package offers headlight washers, a windshield wiper de-icer, water-repellent front door windows and a supplementary electric cabin heater.

Other options include a navigation system (with a console-mounted touchpad controller, upgraded voice controls, a 10.3-inch display, and smartphone app integration with Destination Search, Yelp, Pandora and iHeartRadio) and a 17-speaker Mark Levinson surround-sound audio system.

The F Sport package fits the RC with appearance items such as a mesh grille and a unique front fascia along with substantive bits including 19-inch wheels with summer (RWD) or all-season (AWD) tires, adaptive sport-tuned suspension dampers, upgraded front brake pads (RWD only) and sport front seats. F Sport models also get perforated-leather upholstery and trim, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel (with a heated rim on AWD models), driver-seat memory settings and a special instrument cluster.

Stand-alone options include a sunroof, upgraded headlights, LED foglights, blind-spot monitoring, variable-ratio steering with a four-wheel steering system (RWD F Sport only), a limited-slip differential (RWD F Sport only), and front and rear parking sensors.

Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Lexus RC 350 Coupe with the optional F Sport package (3.5L V6 | 8-speed automatic | RWD).

Note that since this test was conducted, the RC has received only minor revisions.

Driving

7.0
Unfortunately, the RC 350 F Sport is less than the sum of its parts. Acceleration is underwhelming for a luxury sport coupe, and it's not a particularly rewarding car to drive fast around turns.

Acceleration

7.0
The previous RC 350 version we tested accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, which is about average for the class. This year's model is slightly more powerful. The all-wheel-drive 300 is slower, and Lexus says it needs 7.3 seconds to reach 60 mph.

Braking

6.5
The brake pedal provides excellent response without feeling grabby or abrupt in normal use. But in our simulated-panic stop, an RC 350 F Sport with summer tires stopped from 60 mph in 120 feet. That's disappointing.

Steering

6.0
The RC 350 F Sport we evaluated came with active four-wheel steering with optional variable-ratio electric power-assisted steering. It all sounds nifty, but in actual use, the car feels unsure in corners and difficult to predict or get used to.

Handling

6.5
In theory, the optional chassis enhancements should provide superior handling, but the RC posts only mediocre handling evaluation numbers at our test track and confounded us (and the electronic stability-control system) on our twisty evaluation route.

Drivability

9.0
Despite its steering and handling idiosyncrasies, the RC 350 is a very easy car to drive so long as you don't lean too hard on it. In highway or commute driving, it's quick and smooth.

Comfort

8.5
Even kids will find the rear legroom lacking. But otherwise the RC 350 F Sport provides an exceptionally comfortable ride, above-average front seats, and one of the quietest cabins available.

Seat comfort

7.0
The F Sport's heated and ventilated soft-leather front sport seats are well-contoured for body-hugging grip and road-trip comfort but could be a bit snug. The two rear buckets have good shape, but there's little headroom and zero legroom.

Ride comfort

8.5
With its adaptive variable suspension, the F Sport offers a sophisticated ride that smooths out road imperfections with ease. Dial it up, and it gets firmer without becoming harsh.

Noise & vibration

9.0
The RC 350 is one of the quietest cars in its class whether idling at a stoplight, accelerating up to highway speeds or cruising at 70 mph. Levels of wind, road and engine noises are all minimal.

Interior

6.0
The interior of the RC 300 is well-built but has some issues. User interfaces are frustrating at best, and the space is good up front but ultra-tight in back. There are few places to put things such as cellphones, the trunk is small, and many visibility aids cost extra.

Ease of use

5.0
It's remarkable how Lexus got the layout and electronics interface so wrong. It's an ergonomic disaster, from the terraced center stack and semiresponsive touch-sensitive temperature sliders to the finicky touchpad controller.

Getting in/getting out

6.5
Coupes are notoriously difficult because of their long doors, and so is this one. The front seats auto-slide to afford backseat access, but they are infuriatingly slow and threaten rear passengers' shins and feet upon return.

Driving position

The RC 350 provides slightly above-average front room but by far the least room in the rear when compared with its Audi, BMW and Mercedes coupe peers. Think of it as a 2+2 coupe with the comfort priority placed on the first 2 in that equation.

Visibility

7.0
Overall visibility is challenging, particularly because of the big rear blind spots. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors are optional.

Quality

9.5
As with any Lexus, the RC 350's build quality (door closure, leather, paint and cabin isolation) is outstanding. Not a squeak or rattle ever. Even the few plastic bits have the look and feel of high quality.

Utility

6.5
Considering the lack of storage for your personal items and the small trunk, the Lexus RC 300 trails the competition when it comes to utility.

Small-item storage

It lacks cubbies and nooks and has shallow bucket cupholders. A small center bin and narrow, hard-to-access door pockets are also problematic. The glovebox is merely adequate.

Cargo space

With a trunk volume of only 10.4 cubic feet, the RC 300 isn't the most cargo-friendly coupe in the class. Fortunately, the standard 60/40-split fold-down rear seats expand space.

Technology

Lexus' Remote Touchpad infotainment interface is one of the worst controllers we've experienced. It works much like a laptop trackpad, but it's very difficult to use while in motion. On the bright side, the display is crisp and offers a lot of features.

EdmundsScorecard

Overall7.3 / 10
Driving7.0
Comfort8.5
Interior6.0
Utility6.5

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2018 Lexus RC 350.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Old Lexus for New Lexus
Bruce,06/19/2018
2dr Coupe (3.5L 6cyl 8A)
The Lexus RC350 is a fun car for long drives and touring rather than racing. Everything about this car is about lifestyle and opportunity for older clients to really enjoy a Lexus as well as comfort and performance. Since I will not be putting on many miles over the next 3 years of the lease, this car with low miles would be perfect to keep and enjoy for the long haul.
Toy Coupe
tom thornton,01/09/2019
2dr Coupe AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
The RC350 AWD FSport model is a fun car to drive. We’ve had several Lexus vehicles and dozens of other makes both SUVs and Sedans, but this is one of our great cars to drive. I wanted a fun car to drive in my senior years. I looked at the 2018 Mustang GT 5.0, the 2018 Camero and the 2018 and 2016 Corvette Stingray and decided to buy the 2018 RC 350 Black Edition FSport AW drive. Why did we chose this vehicle? Fit and finish was better than all the other cars I reviewed, the features and the price by comparison. The quality of this Lexus is fantastic like all the previous Lexus vehicles we have owned. In Sport mode it has a very throaty sound and the suspension tightens right up. It corners flat on the corners and pulls away out of the turns. Having raced 1600 cc vehicles with modified engines, I would love to take this Lexus on the track against any of the ones I owned/raced in the past. Want quality and reliability, buy a Lexus. It lacks three features our RX 350 has: HUD, all-around camera viewing for parking (low front end can be damaged when parking without this feature) and side mirrors that collapse when car is locked. Since buying this vehicle I have only had one visit to the dealer and that was for recall for a gas pump recall. Unfortunately when they removed the pump they spilled gas under the rear seat and two months later the smell is still in the car. It sure gives us a headache whenever we are driving for more than twenty minutes. They said the smell would be gone in a day or two. WRONG! It would have been nice if they had cleaned up the mess before giving the car back to us. Other than that I still love the car.
2018 RC350 SPORT,what a report
TEO,05/25/2018
2dr Coupe (3.5L 6cyl 8A)
We were trying to find the RC in white w/red interior and not much luck. Then happened upon the RC350 SPORT BLACK EDITION ‼️Long story short this car has to be seen to fully appreciate what Lexus did with this car. WHAT A MACHINE
Wild One
Tom T,01/09/2020
2dr Coupe AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)
Just know that it’s much better quality than any of the other vehicles I reviewed before buying the RC 350 Black editionSport model with AWD. The fit and finish, the mechanical and the newest features make the Corvette, the Mustang and a few others we looked at were not even close to those of the Lexus. The gas mileage and the giddy-up have satisfied me totally. I only like a quality vehicle and this is just that. This Black Edition is a rare model and I know it will give me everything I ever wanted in a fun car. Looking for quality and perfection look no further. You will love the ride, the power, the interior, the smooth ride and the quality of the build. What this low front end vehicle needs is the surround cameras to prevent front end cowell damage. It also needs the HUD speedometer like our 2020 RX 350. We would also have liked the side view mirrors that close when doors are locked. A horn beep when care is locked is not the answer. We also prefer a beep when you attempt a turn when another vehicle is in your blind spot.

Features & Specs

MPG
18 city / 24 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
311 hp @ 6600 rpm
MPG
20 city / 28 hwy
Seats 4
8-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
311 hp @ 6600 rpm
See all Used 2018 Lexus RC 350 features & specs

Safety

Our experts like the RC 350 models:

Pre-Collision System
Warns you if a collision is imminent and will apply the brakes if you don't act in time.
Blind-Spot/Rear Cross-Traffic Alerts
Lets you know if there's a vehicle in your blind spot or approaching while you're backing out of a parking space.
Lexus Enform Safety Connect
Helps when you need it most with automatic crash notification and roadside assistance.
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2018 Lexus RC 350

Used 2018 Lexus RC 350 Overview

The Used 2018 Lexus RC 350 is offered in the following submodels: RC 350 Coupe. Available styles include 2dr Coupe AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), and 2dr Coupe (3.5L 6cyl 8A).

What's a good price on a Used 2018 Lexus RC 350?

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Which used 2018 Lexus RC 350s are available in my area?

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Should I lease or buy a 2018 Lexus RC 350?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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