2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Coupe

MSRP $49,520

Ranked #13 in Compact Coupe

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2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Coupe Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: August 20, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


Lexus has been a name that has been synonymous with the luxury car segment in the US for quite some time now, but performance is not something that comes to mind when talking about the brand. The 2021 RC 350 F Sport is a spiced-up version of an already existing coupe from the stable of Lexus with its fair share of interesting specifications. For starters, it gets a high revving naturally aspirated V6, which pumps out enough horses to keep you engaged, and a sweet, slick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission that works like a charm. There are a handful of sportier exterior elements that help the F Sport stand out from the regular coupe. Uprated brakes, wheels, and electronic suspension wizardry give it an upper edge in the handling department as well.

See detailed review »

Pros

Stunning bodywork

Top-class luxury on offer

Quietest cabin among the competition

Refined and potent V6 engine 

Cons

Counter-intuitive infotainment system

Uncomfortable second row

Lower power output compared to the competition

What's New?

A Limited run Black Line Special Edition trim has been added to the line-up

Blindspot monitoring has been made a standard feature

Parking sensors now come as an optional add-on


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$49520

bodystyle

dr Coupe

warranty

roadside assistance

No


Pictures & Videos


Trims

Base$49,520 onwards

Colors and Styles

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Coupe in Atomic Silver color
Atomic Silver

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide


The 2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport comes in just a single trim, albeit in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive format. At base prices starting around $49,620, it competes with the likes of the 2021 BMW 4 Series, Audi S5, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. If you think that the regular F Sport model does not have enough cosmetic bling, Lexus is willing to sell you the sinister-looking ‘F Sport Blackline’ special edition with marked-up prices starting from $51,765. With production limited to 350 units, good luck on getting your hand on one of those.

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Coupe front view
2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Coupe rear view

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Coupe Features

Being a performance-oriented variant of the RC 350, the F Sport features just one trim with an option to choose between an All-Wheel-Drive or a Rear-Wheel Drive drivetrain format. A considerable number of cosmetic and mechanical changes have been brought about in the F Sport variant to do justice to its sporting credentials. Although it shares the same 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V6 engine as the regular counterpart, it does bring in some mechanical upgrades including an F Sport tuned electronically adjustable shocks on all four corners with an active stabilizer bar as well. The wheels have grown in size by 1-inch to 19-inches, and so has the size of the brake rotors for better braking performance.

Trim

F Sport

MSRP (RWD)

$49,620

MSRP (AWD)

$51,230

Key Features

Adds/upgrades from the standard RC 350

 

F Sport tuned electronic suspensions and stabilizer bar.

 

19-inch wheels and upsized brake discs

 

Power tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel with memory function.

 

Heated and ventilated front seats with enhanced bolstering and driver seat memory function.

 

Aluminum sports pedals and black headliner.

 

Heated and auto-dimming exterior mirrors with memory function.

Which trim should you buy?

Choosing the F Sport over the standard coupe is a must because all the add ons, both visual and mechanical, serve a better purpose and genuinely adds to the overall sporty appeal. However, choosing the rear-wheel-drive variant would be a wiser move, unless you visit drag strips frequently or live in snowy regions, as the all-wheel-drive system will eat into real-world MPG figures considerably.

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Coupe Engine and Performance

Powered by a trusty 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V6 motor borrowed from Toyota, the power output does fall short of the competition but is nothing less than impressive. With no turbos forcing in the air like the competitors, this Lexus belts out a modest 311 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque which propels the rear wheels in the standard case. The engine is mated to a rather smooth 8-speed torque converter automatic transmission with provisions to take full manual control via steering-mounted paddle shifters. Although it is not the quickest shifting or responsive unit out there, the seamless shift quality and the solid metal steering-mounted paddles shifter coupled with the quick responding NA engine does add to the touring credentials of this machine.

 2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Coupe driving view

The 2021 RC 350 F Sport does not receive any noticeable changes in performance as it is rated at the same power output as the regular RC 350. Though it aids in the overall refinement and smoothness, in outright performance runs, the F Sport falls behind. It takes almost 5.8 secs to accelerate up to 60 miles an hour. Though the figures are quite good for a NA motor with no refined launch systems, it surely is a far cry from the competition. The 2021 RC 350 F Sport does a standing quarter in 14.2 secs and maxes out at 147 mph.

Models

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport

2021 BMW M440i

2021 Audi S5

2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C43 Coupe

MSRP

$49,620

$58,500

$52,500

$59,000

Engine

3.5-liter Naturally Aspirated V6

3.0-liter Turbocharged inline 6 w/electric hybrid

3.0-liter Turbocharged V6

3.0-liter Turbocharged V6

Drivetrain

RWD

RWD

AWD

AWD

Transmission

8-speed shiftable automatic

8-speed shiftable automatic

8-speed shiftable automatic

9-speed shiftable automatic

Power (hp @ RPM

311 @ 6,600 RPM

382 @ 5,800 RPM

349 @ 5,400 RPM

385 @ 6,100 RPM

Torque (lb-ft @ RPM)

280 @ 4,800 RPM

368 @ 1,800 RPM

369 @ 1,370 RPM

384 @ 2,500 RPM

0-60 MPH (seconds)

5.8

4.6

4.4

4.5

Quarter-Mile (seconds)

14.2

11.2

12.8

12.6

Top-Speed (MPH)

147

157

155

133

The 2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport is the least powerful among the competition in terms of raw engine output, and this clearly reflects in the performance metric. The Audi S5 Quattro leads the competition, posting a 4.5-second run, closely followed by the BMW M440i and Mercedes C43. The BMW M440i with xDrive does even better at 4.3 secs, but that would be pushing up the base price close to 60 grand. However, do note that all of the cars are expensive and do come with turbochargers or hybrid technology when compared with the Lexus, giving them a slight advantage.

How well does the 2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport handle?

As the F Sport gets all the sportier bits than the regular coupe, the handling capabilities are certainly better in every way. The stiffer adaptive dampers coupled with the active stabilizer bars make the ride feel flattered and help it stay that way in corners with little or no case of body roll. The steering, though a bit light for our liking, feels direct and decently communicative. The optional $390 Torsen limited-slip differential did improve the rear end feel and also helps in putting down power rather well, more so when exiting a corner. There is a slight hint of understeer when you start to push it, but proper throttle modulation and slight steering correction will help to keep the line.

Braking Performance

Equipped with large 14 inches front brake rotors, which are an upgrade from the regular setup, do improve the braking to an extent. This also can be attributed to the bigger and wider tires that come in as standard, which do help in improving the contact patch. Moreover, the trick suspension and bracing have also made it more confidence-inspiring in emergency braking situations. Official braking distance figures are not available, but it sure does feel bitey and puts on anchors in a controlled way.

Models

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport

2021 BMW M440i

2021 Audi S5

2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C43 Coupe

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

14.0

N/A

13.8

14.2

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

12.2

N/A

13.0

12.6

Curb Weight (lbs)

3,748

3,977

3,858

3,979

60-0 (feet)

N/A

109

N/A

108

All the cars in the competition offer impressive braking performance. The C43 offers the biggest rotors but has a lot of weight to manage as well. The BMW has not disclosed the brake rotor sizes but is quite good at stopping at an identical distance like the Mercedes. Both the Audi and Lexus have no official 60-0 timings, but they both cut speed quite convincingly. Boasting the lowest curb weight and sporting decent-sized brakes, the RC 350 F Sport is sure to give the competition a run for their money in this department.

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Coupe Fuel Economy

Performance coupes are not the best when it comes to providing good fuel economy, and that has been the case with the 2021 RC 350 F Sport as well. The coupe gets rated by the EPA with a city mileage of 20 mpg, a decent 28 mpg on the highways, and a combined economy of 23 mpg. It comes with a 17.4-gallon gas tank, which in turn, enables it to return a decent fuel range of up to 435 miles before the low fuel indicator lights up. With the all-wheel-drive system, the fuel economy drops by a significant amount to 19/26/22 for the city/highway/combined cycle, which is kind of a bummer and is something to look out for.

Models

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport

2021 BMW M440i

2021 Audi S5

2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C43 Coupe

MPG (City)

20

25

20

19

MPG (Highway)

28

34

28

27

MPG (Combined)

25

28

23

22

Tank Capacity (Gallons)

17.4

15.6

15.3

17.4

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

348/487.2/ 435.0

390/530.4/ 436.8

306.0/428.4/ 351.9

330.6/469.8/ 365.4

The F Sport with the rear-wheel-drive does offer an impressive fuel economy but hovers in the middle of the pack. However, it is quite surprising that the 2021 M440i is capable of squeezing out a competition-beating 34 mpg on highways despite being one of the most powerful cars in this lot. The 48-volt hybrid system seems to be doing its magic. The C43 Coupe and S5 fall in this regard because of the absence of any kind of hybrid wizardry like that of the Bimmer. 

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Coupe Interior

Entering the state-of-art cabin of the F Sport is an experience that will make you wonder about the efforts put together by the team at Lexus for executing something this exquisite. Most of the cabin is covered with either leather or wood trims and a lot of high-quality soft-touch materials. The dashboard is beautifully designed with high levels of functionality, something which is uncommon these days. The wide-screen infotainment display perfectly falls in the line of sight but unfortunately uses the most counter-intuitive user interface and physical controls in the whole industry. Thankfully, the addition of Android Auto and Apple Carplay makes life a bit easier.

 2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Coupe front seats

The steering wheel is leather-wrapped with metal paddle shifters mounted behind it. The digital instrument console is big and bright; it shows a multitude of information about the car, has customizable dial designs, and can be used for navigation. The seats are covered with faux-leather and offer great support and come with power adjustability, heating, and ventilation. Memory functions also come in as standard for the driver’s seat, steering wheel, and ORVMs.

Models

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport

2021 BMW 4-Series 440i

2021 Audi S5

2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C43 Coupe

Seating Capacity

4

4

4

4

Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

39.0/54.7/ 45.4

38.0/55.1/ 41.8

37.4/55.3/ 41.3

38.8/54.8/ 42.0

Second Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

34.8/50.8/ 27.3

35.2/51.0/ 34.5

36.1/50.7/ 32.7

35.6/51.7/ 32.0

Trunk Capacity (cubic feet)

10.4

12.0

10.9

10.5

When it comes to how spacious the cabin is, it does have the provision to hold up to 4 people. The F Sport does impress us with its accommodating front sports seats which feel more contoured and holding than the one’s on the regular coupe. But this is only limited to the front row. Coming to the rear, the seats themselves feel very comfortable, but the limited knee room does affect its usability. Behind the rear row lies a 10.4 cubic feet trunk, which for a coupe of this size is decent. You can fit a few bags for your gym sessions or a few duffels for a weekend trip easily in the given space. 

The Lexus completely nails the competition in terms of front row space and has clearly a driver-focused cabin. All the German cars seem to be more practical when it comes to the second-row space. The M440i gets the best legroom for the rear occupants, making it a most practical offering in this comparison. Also, the BMW packs a slightly bigger cargo hold as well, giving it a clear winner when it comes to practicality. In terms of build quality and features, all four cars offer opulent cabins that come packed with features. Major interior features include:

  • Adaptive cruise control.
  • Keyless ignition.
  • Rearview camera.
  • Perforated leather steering wheel with paddle shifters.
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control.
  • 10-way power driver and 8-way power passenger seats.
  • Faux-leather seats with enhanced bolstering.
  • Multi-level heated and cooled seats.
  • Memory functions for Driver seats, steering, and ORVMs

What’s there to keep you entertained?

The standard infotainment system on offer on the RC 350 F Sport is similar to that seen on the standard coupe, which measures in at 7” diagonal, but our test car was optioned with the $1,645 Navigation package. This means that it now gets a larger 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment display and is equipped with Lexus’s newest Enform interface. This system also supports Lexus’s dynamic navigation and dynamic voice command features.

 2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Coupe infotainment screen

However, fiddling through the interface takes a bit of time, and the physical trackpad does not help with easing things out. The addition of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay does bring in a hope of light for making things easier for the user. Also, our test car came with an optional $1,080 18-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system which sounds sublime and is a must-have if you are an audiophile. A few of the important infotainment features that house in the F Sport are as follows:

  • 7-inch touchscreen infotainment display(standard)
  • USB and Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Satellite radio.
  • Auxiliary audio input.
  • Apple CarPlay/ Android Auto/ Amazon Alexa
  • Navigation system. (Optional) 
  • 10-speaker Lexus audio system (standard).
  • Real-time parking assist

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Coupe Exterior

The RC 350 F Sport remains more or less identical to the previous model year with ever so slight changes to the design cues. The front end is adorned by the huge spindle-like grille but has a slightly different headlight design which now looks sharper than ever. The sides have frameless doors and a lot of curves that meet the rear too soon because of its comparatively shorter wheelbase. The roofline is just like any regular coupe, sloping to the rear end. The taillights look gorgeous with the LED treatments and a slightly high-set boot line. The rear bumper also gets some cuts and creases to bring it in sync with the front end.

 2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Coupe 

Down below are the twin chrome-coated exhaust pipes shrouded in black plastic lining. The F Sport gets 19-inch split 10-spoke alloy wheels as standard which gets a matte silver finish. However, the Black Line Special Edition package will bring in a few exterior changes like smoked-out wheels and tailpipes leaving a few chrome-filled areas, giving it a more sinister look. The F Sport is a head-turner as it is now, but we really doubt how this design will stand the test of time like every other complex design. 

Models

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport

2021 BMW M440i

2021 Audi S5

2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C43 Coupe

Curb Weight (lb)

3,748

3,977

3,858

3,979

Length (inches)

185.0

188.0

184.9

184.8

Width (inches)

72.4

72.9

72.7

79.4

Height (inches)

54.9

54.8

54.0

55.3

Ground Clearance (inches)

5.3

N/A

N/A

3.5

Wheelbase (inches)

107.5

112.2

108.8

111.8

Both the RC 350 F Sport and Audi S5 have very similar dimensions, especially in how short their wheelbases are in comparison to the Mercedes C43 and BMW M440i. Although the RC 350 F Sport falls short when it comes to the wheelbase, other dimensions are quite on par with the competition and also comes with the best ground clearance of 5.3 inches. Another area where Lexus has spent time is in making the car one of the lightest in competition, thereby improving the overall maneuverability and handling. In terms of looks, all four cars have a striking appearance, and while looks are subjective, we still think that the Lexus has better attention to detail and looks sportier in person. A few of the exterior features of the 2021 RC 350 F Sport are as follows:

  • LED headlights, DRLs, and taillights. 
  • Heated and powered mirrors.
  • 19-inch F Sport wheels.
  • Keyless entry.
  • Power liftgate.
  • Rain-sensing wipers.

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Coupe Safety

With the 2021 RC 350 F Sport, Lexus has managed to bring their safety goodies on paper to federal agencies like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and it did turn out pretty well. It has been rated “Good” in every category and has been rated “Superior” in vehicle-to-vehicle frontal crash prevention. Unfortunately, the National Highway Safety Administration ratings are not available at the moment, but we can expect similarly good ratings. The 2021 RC 350 F Sport comes loaded with all the conventional safety features and a long list of advanced driver assistance tech that are very functional. A few of the updated safety features that come in as standard are as follows:

  • 4-wheel ABS with traction control system.
  • Front head and dual side-mounted airbag, rear head airbags.
  • Emergency braking assist.
  • Passenger airbag occupant sensing deactivation.
  • Tire pressure monitoring.
  • Pre-collision safety system.
  • Post-collision safety system.
  • Blindspot monitoring.
  • Lane departure warning.
  • Stability control.
  • Electronic brakeforce distribution.

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Coupe Competition

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport vs 2021 BMW M440i.

The BMW is a better buy between the two, and that is because of the badge and of course performance. However, the initial costs and projected cost of ownership of the M440i are higher than the RC350. On the other hand, the Lexus, although a bit lacking on the performance side of things, tries to make up for it with its cheaper price tag, sleek design language, opulent interiors, excellent reliability, and a value for money proposition. It also has a better tank range than the BMW.

2021 BMW M440i.

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport vs 2021 Audi S5.

Choosing between the two is very confusing because they both are excellent in their fields and come at a similar price point. The Audi is superior in performance, handling, and interior spaciousness, but as it is a German, the maintenance costs are much higher and the reliability is questionable when compared to the Lexus. The Lexus also proves to be better when it comes to offering good safety features and a lot of additional equipment which are unique for the price tag it holds. In the end, it’s all about personal preference. 

2021 Audi S5.

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport vs 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C43 Coupe . 

The Mercedes C43 is better in almost every way, be it on performance, cabin room, and even brand recognition. But on taking a closer look, the Merc with its obscenely high starting prices makes it more or less an inaccessible spectrum. Also for a sporty coupe, it does look a bit subdued in front of the Lexus. It ultimately boils down to what price you are willing to pay.

2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C43 Coupe

 

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Coupe Final Verdict

The 2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport is a great car to start with. The aggressive price tag and bold design choices make it stand out in comparison to its German counterparts. Add to that, being the only car with a naturally aspirated engine, the RC 350 F Sport does have a unique quotient. The space, comfort, and opulence are mostly on par and in cases better than the competition. The only thing that feels short-changed is the real-world performance and that too is not by a big margin. So, if you are someone looking for an adequately powerful, daily drivable, and reliable car, the 2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport would most satisfyingly quench your thirst.