Lexus has had a spotty history with two-door models. Crossovers, sedans, hybrids...sure, but its coupes have been touch and go. The original SC was beloved by many over the course of its nine years of production between 1991 and 2000, but was followed by a much heavier hardtop convertible. Since then Toyota's luxury marque went a little down-market with the IS Convertible and much higher with the LFA supercar, but now it's getting back into the heart of the luxury coupe market with the new RC you see here.
Unveiled recently at the Tokyo Motor Show, the new Lexus RC is the latest embodiment of the brand's L-Finesse design language, blending an elegant form with sharp creases and the brand's now-trademark Spindle grille to create a design that is distinctly Japanese and markedly upscale. Lexus is even offering the RC with the deeply lustrous red paint job pictured here, created in a four-step process that first applies a base coat of silver, followed by a clear coat, then baked before a layer of translucent red and another clear coat are baked again.
"We developed the RC to deliver extra response that exhilarates rather than overwhelms drivers," noted designer Junichi Furuyama. "In keeping with the true spirit of Japanese hospitality, or omotenashi."
As you might expect, the interior is suitably opulent, while providing a position from which to summon the car's sporting potential and the latest in advanced electronic systems developed by one of the largest automakers in the world.
"Our focus is to strengthen the brand's emotional appeal through our products and the RC is another demonstration of this focus," said Lexus executive vice president Mark Templin. "The emotional attachment of a coupe is found in its purity of design and its engaging driving experience, and with the RC the engineers have achieved the balance."
Lexus will offer its new coupe in two forms: the conventional RC 350 and the hybrid RC 300h, the former with a 3.5-liter V6 producing 314 horsepower coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the latter mating a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine to a 105kW electric motor and a continuously-variable transmission. All-wheel drive will be offered in certain markets, as will an RC F high-performance coupe expected to be revealed soon in the new year.
Prices probably won't be released until closer to its summer 2014 release, but we'll keep an eye open for you.