• 2019 Lexus RC Debuts in Paris with Hot, LC-inspired Looks

Significant changes on the outside, the same engines

After four years on the market, the first-generation Lexus RC went through a comprehensive restyling. Spotted many times on public roads in 2018, the Japanese coupe finally made its production debut at the 2018 Paris Motor Show.

Inspired by the big LC

2019 Lexus RC Debuts in Paris with Hot, LC-inspired Looks Exterior
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Although it’s just a mid-cycle refresh, the exterior sports notable changes, most of them inspired by the flagship LC model.

Up front, the familiar Spindle grille was revised to include a new mesh, while the square cutouts at the bottom were removed for a more cohesive look.

Lexus also raised the bottom frame of the grille to make way for a slim vent and a proper splitter at the bottom.

The corners of the bumper were redesigned too and now resemble those of the LC. Sure, the RC doesn’t have the same trim piece that trickles down from the headlamps toward the splitter, but the bumper was reshaped to suggest the same design. The outlets are a bit larger too and probably feed more air to the brakes.

2019 Lexus RC Debuts in Paris with Hot, LC-inspired Looks Exterior
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The headlamps mark the biggest departure from the outgoing model, as Lexus ditched the hockey stick LED lights under the main lamps.

The DRLs were integrated into the headlamps, which are now bigger and feature a more organic design. Also, the round bulbs are gone, replaced by a stack of three LED lights placed toward the outer edge. The V-shaped LEDs give the coupe a more aggressive look when turned on, also complementing the grilles sharp design.

Not much has changed around the sides save for the optimized mirror caps and revised wheels, but the RC looks as hot as they get thanks to its prominent beltline and muscular rear haunches. Bigger changes are in store around back, where the taillights look significantly bigger. Their outer and inner edges look more refined, with the latter extending all the way into the frame of the license plate recess. The center part of the taillight now extends toward the bumper too. The latter mimics the design of the front bumper thanks to bigger, deeper vents.

Refined Interior

2019 Lexus RC Debuts in Paris with Hot, LC-inspired Looks Interior
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The interior isn't as spectacular as far as upgrades go, but Lexus made a few notable changes.

The heater control and audio panels have a brushed finish for a more premium look, while the knee pads that flank the center console are larger. There’s also a reshaped driver’s palm rest with a stitching pattern and an analog clock identical to the one in the LC high on the dashboard. You can now choose between five ornamentation options, including real aluminum Naguri and brushed metal for the RC F Sport model. New interior colors include Mustard and Ochre, the latter borrowed from the flagship LC coupe.

Nothing New Under the Hood

2019 Lexus RC Debuts in Paris with Hot, LC-inspired Looks Exterior
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Sadly, there's no extra power to the talk about, but the RC is far from disappointing given that the 5.0-liter V-8 in the F model cranks out 467 horsepower.

Granted, the RC300 isn’t as powerful at 241 horses, but it’s still a solid alternative to the competition. The RC350 bridges the gap with a V-6 rated at 311 horsepower. But while the engines carry over unchanged, Lexus did revise the suspension and the steering to make it sportier and more responsive than ever.

Stay tuned for a full review of this car.

Further reading

2019 Lexus RC Debuts in Paris with Hot, LC-inspired Looks Exterior
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Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Lexus RC.

2015 - 2016 Lexus RC High Resolution Exterior
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Read up on the previous 2015-2018 Lexus RC

Read our full review on the 2018 Lexus LC 500.

2019 Lexus RC F Sport Exterior Spyshots
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Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Lexus RC F Sport.

2020 Lexus RC F Track Edition Exterior Spyshots
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Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Lexus RC F GT.

Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
About the author

A new version of the Lexus RC luxury sports coupe will make its global debut at the Paris Motor Show on 2 October. Sales of the new model will commence from late 2018.

Since its introduction in 2014, the RC has played a major role in promoting Lexus’s commitment to delivering a more emotional quality in the driving experience provided by its vehicles, with its sporty appearance and versatile driving character. The fresh new RC retains all the virtues of the current model, but takes them to a higher level by adopting the latest evolution of Lexus’s signature design language and sharpened driving dynamics inspired by the brand’s flagship luxury coupe, the LC.

The exterior styling remains as sporty as the current model, but subtle changes in the details, inspired by Lexus LC design cues, imbue it with a new-found elegance. Inside the cabin, everything from the high-quality materials to the precise layout of controls and gauges was crafted to maximise driving pleasure.

Enhancements have been made to the RC’s aerodynamics, tyres and suspension, and there are also improvements to engine response and steering feel, all of which reflect the “sharper and more refined” drive philosophy that was introduced by the LC. The new RC is more stable than ever under a wide variety of driving conditions. This provides a high level of driver confidence and a reassuringly flat ride quality, making the coupe an ideal grand tourer, whether you’re negotiating a twisty mountain road or simply making a long-distance commute on the open highway.


Lexus designers sought to maintain the RC’s dynamic coupe proportions, while adding a high level of elegance to the exterior. Key to achieving this was the addition of distinctive design elements, such as a new front bumper corner that flows down from the headlamps and a grille mesh pattern comprising shapes which gradually transform from top to bottom, creating an intriguing visual tension. The vertical arrangement of the extra-small triple LED headlamps and new L-shaped LED clearance lamps add to the car’s more distinguished appearance.

Air ducts have been added to the corners of the rear bumper, resulting in better handling stability and enhanced overall driving response. A wider stance and lower centre of gravity reflect the car’s high ability to maintain grip in different road conditions. The rear combination lamps now house more pronounced L-shaped lenses that are a new signature design feature for Lexus coupes.

Eleven different exterior colours will be available for the RC, including Naples Yellow and Sky Blue, shades which perfectly communicate the car’s dynamic nature.

The new RC F Sport features the same grille mesh pattern that graces all Lexus F Sport models, together with many other custom exterior and interior items that are exclusive to this special grade. These include powerfully styled 19-inch alloy wheels, inspired by those used by the LS and LC luxury flagship sedan and coupe.


A brushed treatment has been applied to the heater control and audio panels, generating a higher sense of quality, while the knee pads either side of the centre console have been made larger and raised higher, creating a greater sense of space in the front of the cabin. The driver’s palm rest has been reshaped and a stitching pattern has been added to the surface, showcasing the designers’ high attention to detail.

A new analogue clock, identical to the one in the LC, sits high on the instrument panel in another identifying feature of Lexus coupes.

New ornamentation options, including real aluminium Naguri and Brushed Metal will be available for the RC F Sport. In all, RC customers will have five options to choose from.

Interior colours include Ochre, which is also featured in the LC, and Mustard, which comprises subtle yellow accents on a black background. Seven interior colour combinations will be available, including those reserved for the F Sport.


Adopting the driving concept of “sharper and more graceful” that defines the LC, Lexus engineers have aimed at making the new RC thoroughly fun to drive by focusing their attention on details, such as enhancing the car’s aerodynamics and fine-tuning the suspension system and powertrain. Endowed with a flatter and more stable ride quality and sharper handling characteristics derived from the LC, the new RC is more athletic and responsive than ever.

Enhanced aerodynamics, achieved with details such as a new fin shape in the side window mouldings and a duct in the rear bumper, give the car better handling stability.

New 19-inch wheels shod with higher-grip tyres support excellent steering response. New shock absorbers, which provide significant damping force from low suspension stroke speeds, and stiffer suspension bushings have also been introduced. The new RC underwent extensive real-world testing, with chassis engineers constantly fine-tuning performance, to improve ride and handling.

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