2021 Lexus RC

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2021 Lexus RC Review: Splendor Over Capability

by Aiden Eksteen

If the fun driving character and eye-catching aesthetic of a sporty compact coupe tickles your fancy, and you're not overly concerned about having the fastest or most capable car on the road, then the 2021 Lexus RC may be the one for you. The same powertrains are on offer for 2021, meaning that you get the choice of either a mild 241-horsepower turbo-four, a more enthusiastic 260-hp V6, or V6 with 311 hp. Either V6 setup can be had in F Sport guise, which enhances the sporting appeal of the coupe - but even so, with competitors such as the BMW 4 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe, the Lexus RC doesn't quite impress on the performance side of things. With Lexus' proclivity for a pleasant driving experience and dependability, it remains a really attractive offering in the segment as more of a luxury cruiser. With its premium, contemporary cabin, an impressive selection of comforts and conveniences, and an extensive list of driver-aids, the Lexus RC has a unique charm that most can still appreciate. If you're in the market for a striking sports coupe that prioritizes comfort and luxuries over brute acceleration the Lexus RC may just fit the bill for you.

Read in this review:

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2021 Lexus RC Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2020 RC?

For 2021, Lexus introduces a limited-production Black Line Special Edition of the RC coupe to the line that features unique crafted touches and comes with a matching set of Zero Halliburton Luggage.

For the existing models, there's a new exterior color named Grecian Water. Lexus has also made electrochromic, heated exterior mirrors and a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert standard across the board.

Pros and Cons

  • Unique, eye-catching exterior design
  • F Sport is exciting and finely balanced
  • All models boast a refined ride quality
  • Many premium comforts and conveniences
  • Strong safety and reliability expectations
  • Not as fast as its core competitors
  • No manual gearbox is offered
  • Prioritizes aesthetics over drive dynamics
  • Infotainment touchpad is unintuitive
  • Cramped back seat

Best Deals on 2021 Lexus RC

2021 Lexus RC Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
RC 300
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
3.5L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
RC 350
3.5L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
3.5L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
3.5L V6 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
See All 2021 Lexus RC Trims and Specs

2021 RC Exterior

2021 Lexus RC Front View Lexus
2021 Lexus RC Front Angle View Lexus
2021 Lexus RC Rear Angle View Lexus
See All 2021 Lexus RC Exterior Photos


  • Length 185.0 in
  • Wheelbase 107.5 in
  • Height 54.9 in
  • Max Width 72.4 in
  • Front Width 62.2 in
  • Rear Width 63.0 in
  • Curb Weight 3,737.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Atomic Silver
  • Obsidian
  • Caviar
  • Eminent White Pearl
  • Infrared
  • Grecian Water
  • Ultra White
  • Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0
  • Flare Yellow
  • Cloudburst Gray

2021 RC Performance

2021 Lexus RC Driving Front Angle Lexus
2021 Lexus RC Rear Perspective Driving Lexus
2021 Lexus RC Wheel Lexus

Engine and Transmission

  • Engines
    2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 3.5L V6 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Automatic, 8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, RWD

2021 RC Interior

2021 Lexus RC Steering Wheel Lexus
2021 Lexus RC Front Seats Lexus
2021 Lexus RC Central Console Lexus
See All 2021 Lexus RC Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
  • Front Leg Room 45.4 in
  • Front Head Room 39.0 in
  • Rear Leg Room 27.3 in
  • Rear Head Room 34.8 in

2021 RC Trunk and Cargo Space

2021 Lexus RC Trunk Space Lexus
2021 Lexus RC Central Control Panel Lexus
2021 Lexus RC Media System Lexus
  • Trunk Volume
    10.4 ft³

2021 RC Safety and Reliability


  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    6 Years \ 70,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    6 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    1 Years \ 10,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.

Verdict: Is the 2021 Lexus RC A Good sports coupe?

With its striking design, three impressive powertrain options, and selection of performance-specified underpinnings, the 2021 Lexus RC looks like a capable sports coupe on paper. But when compared to its German contemporaries in the USA, it becomes clear that Lexus maintains their penchant for comfort and refinement and forgo competitive performance measures. It's still a fast coupe with the chops to excite, but it's to no extent one of the top contenders when it comes to real competitiveness and deeper driver engagement.

The 2021 Lexus RC coupe can be seen as a sporty coupe with grand tourer resolve, and a composed and compliant driving character. Counting in its favor are a premium cabin and an extensive array of luxury comforts and conveniences. The F Sport versions of both the RC 300 and the RC 350 do offer greater driver engagement and handling poise with their upgraded suspension kits, stronger brakes, and an available limited-slip differential, but don't expect the same degree of performance you'll get from some rival 2-door coupes. As a premium cruiser, the RC's unintuitive infotainment controls and cramped back seats also detract from the experience. Ultimately, the Lexus RC is a fun and polished car to cruise about in, but it won't earn you any bragging rights against your racing buds.

What Lexus RC Model Should I Buy?

Though the 2021 Lexus RC is a sporty and striking vehicle regardless of which specification you go for, we still suggest going for one of the RC 350 versions for the extra punch the V6 motors grant them. Both the 260- and 311-hp V6 motors provide the extra power needed to contend with the RC's size and heft and contribute to performance dynamics that are more in line with the RC's sporty design. Creature comforts, conveniences, and tech remain almost identical throughout the line with the RC 350's and RC 300 AWD model essentially getting front seat heating over the entry-spec RC 300. We also recommend going for the F Sport version to have the RC 350's bark match its bite. The performance front brakes and adaptive variable suspension also add to its bite and all the performance-inspired cabin elements remind you of the massive potential you have at hand. The price of the 2021 Lexus RC coupe in this guise starts at $51,230.

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