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The sports/luxury coupe segment is a small and dying segment. Despite this, it’s still a very competitive segment with well-known entries like the BMW 4-Series and the Audi A5. The 2023 Lexus RC 300 is a bit of an odd duck because it does the luxury part very well but lacks heavily in the sports department. The RC 300, in a rare occurrence for Lexus, earned a below-average score from Edmunds. Let’s see what prevented this attractive coupe from getting a better score. 

A gray 2023 Lexus RC driving on a snowy road.
2023 Lexus RC | Lexus

The performance falls behind competitors from Audi and BMW

There is an RC300 AWD with a 260 hp V6 and an RC350 with a 311 hp V6 option, and although those also fall behind their German counterparts, we will focus on the RWD RC 300 F-Sport the Edmunds team reviewed.

The trim in question comes with a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 241 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. These numbers aren’t terrible but don’t translate into much performance. Edmunds clocked the four-cylinders 0-60 mph at 7.3 seconds.

The BMW sDrive430i manages the same task in only 5.5 seconds. The 2022 Audi A5, despite having only seven more hp, manages an exceptionally quick 5.0 seconds to hit the 60 mph mark.

It’s worth noting that the Audi has Quattro as standard, but even if you opt for the RC 300 AWD (which bumps you to a 260 hp V6), it still only hits 60 mph in 6.3 seconds—far slower than rivals. And though straight-line acceleration isn’t the only performance metric, the RC 300’s cornering ability isn’t doing it any favors either.

Edmunds says the steering returns pleasant feedback, but it’s more of a soft, comfortable cruiser than a sporty coupe. 

Fuel economy and storage aren’t very impressive on the 2023 Lexus RC

It’s likely that someone in the market for a coupe isn’t concerned about fuel economy or storage. Still, from an objective perspective, the RC lags behind its competitors in this category, receiving a 6.0/10 and 6.5/10 from Edmunds.

The RC 300 only has 10.4 cu-ft of cargo space compared to the 10.9 cu-ft in the A5 and 12 cu-ft in the 4-Series. It’s not the segment you pursue if you need tons of space, but it’s nice to use a GT-style car for a GT-style trip and have plenty of room for souvenirs along the way.

Fuel economy is also a bit behind, with the RC’s four-cylinder rated at only 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. In comparison, the A5 matches the highway rating at 31 mpg but achieves 24 mpg city. The 4-Series ups the ante to 24 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. By itself, this wouldn’t be an issue, but given the performance deficit, the unimpressive fuel economy is another knock against the RC.

In typical Lexus fashion, the tech lags behind

To Lexus’ credit, 2023 introduced a new 8-inch standard touchscreen and an optional 10.3-inch screen. Edmunds says it improves the overall experience compared to previous model years where the universally panned trackpad controller was the only way to operate the screen.

Be warned, the trackpad is still there, but it isn’t the only way to control the screen anymore. Edmunds reports the infotainment to be a bit clunky and recommends using CarPlay or Android Auto whenever possible. Edmunds also mentions the adaptive cruise as an area of disappointment as it can only function at speeds over 25 mph.  

The RC 300 isn’t a bad car, but when it comes to performance, it just can’t compete with its competitors despite being around the same price. That said, it’s a very attractive car, is very comfortable, and may offer increased reliability over its German competition, especially if you opt for a V6 variant. 


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