Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lexus Rc350 F Sport Is a Fun Little Car, but Nothing Is Perfect

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lexus Rc350 F Sport Is a Fun Little Car, but Nothing Is Perfect

Article excerpt

* 2018 Lexus RC350 F Sport AWD: Quite a fun little sporty car .

* Price: $57,399 as tested. The F Sport package added $3,700 for heated and ventilated sport front seats, blind spot monitor and more safety features; moonroof, $1,100; more mentioned throughout.

* Marketer's pitch: "Even more ways to stand out."

* Conventional wisdom: Car and Driver likes the "striking exterior, plush ride, spacious front seats" but not the "cramped rear seat, infuriating infotainment touchpad, lackluster acceleration."

* Reality: . with a troubling feature that makes it a nonstarter.

* What's in a name? I thought for sure that the fleet company had made a mistake. I'd already been in a Lexus RC. Oh, well, Mr. Driver's Seat said to himself, even though it's a 2017, if it hasn't changed much I can call it a 2018.

But, lo, this is not the same car at all. I had been in a Lexus RC-F, and this is a Lexus RC350 F Sport. Though they sound the same, this baby is $23,000 cheaper.

* Under the hood: Well, here's the obvious difference. The RC 350 gets Lexus' 311-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6, where the other one gets a 467-horsepower 5.0-liter V-8.

Them's a lot of horses. Real racers will know. But if a guy like me can't really tell the difference after a week, is it worth the extra money?

* Shifty: This RC350 AWD only has a six-speed shiftable automatic mated to the engine, where the RC-F and RC350 RWD get eight gears. Six is actually far more shiftable, though, and one can shift the lever or the paddles.

Neither transmission called attention to itself, which I think is fine. Shifting was delightful, of course.

* On the road: The handling in the RC350 was sporty and fun, but a snowy week meant I was limited in how much I could kick it around bare corners and yeehaw through country curves.

* Driver's Seat: Both are equally hard to get into, because the coupes are equally low slung and sporty.

As sporty cars for athletic drivers, neither coupe offered the Lexus "Ahhh" from their seats. Rather than luxurious but supportive, both RC's seats are firm and grippy.

* Friends and stuff: The back seat remains a not-so-terrible place, with some room to move your feet once you're there. …

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