The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide

0 to 60 is reached in only 5.8 seconds, ¼-mile in 14.3 seconds and top speed can peak at 143 mph. Not bad, we thought, as we took the third-generation 2019 Lexus RC 350 F Sport for a test drive. As expected, this enjoyable and entertaining luxury coupe is quick off the mark, supple in traffic and a blast to drive. Under the unitized steel body resides a 3.5-liter V-6 engine putting out a healthy 311 horsepower @ 6600 rpm and 280 pounds-feet of torque @ 4800 rpm. It is equipped with an eight-speed auto gearbox and can be driven in eco, normal, sport, sport+ and custom modes. Though our car was a rear-wheel drive, you can opt for an electronically controlled all-weather drive for firmer grip and traction. For 2019, Lexus has recalibrated the electric power steering while refurbishing the coil springs and shock absorbers for a well-damped and athletic ride.

The F Sport comes with a mammoth mesh spindle grille flanked by LED headlights and daytime running lights, 19-inch five-spoke wheels, cooled/heated power front seats, perforated shifter and power steering column, aluminum sport pedals, blind spot monitor with rear-cross traffic alert, among other luxuries. And, of course, a forceful sport-tuned suspension that provides for some spirited driving. LFA-inspired instrument panel hosts a moving center ring for a digital speedometer, tachometer and a driver information center. Other goodies include silver metallic trim, revamped analog clock, 60/40 fold rear seat, steering wheel paddle shifters, Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa, and dual-zone auto a/c. A mouse-like, easy-to-use Remote Touch enables the driver to toggle navigation, climate, audio and phone controls, which are displayed on a 7-inch screen.

Standard are dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, front knee airbags, vehicle stability and traction controls, front/rear crumple zones and side-impact beams, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, daytime running lights and a tire pressure monitoring system. Add in a pre-collision system that detects pedestrians, lane departure assist and keep assist, auto emergency braking, dynamic cruise control, all part of the no-cost Lexus Safety Sense+.

Except for a tight rear seat, miniscule trunk and lack of cubby space, the energetic RC350 delivers not just a punch or two but also a top-notch cabin, muscular styling and respectable fuel economy to give competitors a run for the money.

Tires: 235/40R19 front; 265/35R19 rear
Wheelbase: 107.5 inches
Length: 184.8 inches
Suspension: double wishbone front, multilink rear
Fuel capacity: 17.4 gallons
Weight: 3,748 pounds
City: 20 mpg
Highway: 28 mpg
Base price: $50,790
Price as tested: $57,945
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