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The very good reasons why there will be no Lexus RC 250

Lexus will skip the underpowered version of the new RC coupe. Smart.

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Lexus is not making an RC 250, and we could not be more pleased. The 2015 Lexus RC sports coupe will come three ways when it is introduced in the US this late fall. It will come as an RC 350, with the V6 we know form the IS 350, but with some minor tweaks. It will also come as an RC 350 F Sport. Of course, we Lexus fans know that means upgraded tires, different suspension settings, more futuristic instrumentation cluster, and more aggressive look, particularly from the front. Third, the RC coupe will be made as the mighty RC F.

IS 250 Too Slow
The first reason we love that there will be no RC 250 is that now every major automotive publication in the US gets to skip the negative reviews that say “this car is slower than my grandmother’s Camry.” Those journalism majors over at the print publications would think of 1200 words that said that in a fancy-pants way, but either way it would be true. The 2.5-liter V6 in the IS 250 has some merits, but in a car with any aspirations for sportiness it simply is too low on torque to be relevant. Yes, we all say it is smooth. In the same way saying an unattractive gal “has nice hair.”

Lexus 2-liter Turbo Coming
The second reason that we love the fact there is no RC 250 is that it is more clear evidence that Lexus is moving to the 2.0 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder as its base engine. That new engine is about to debut in the NX 200t. We are driving that vehicle this week and cannot wait to report our findings. The specifications on the engine speak volumes. The new 2-liter turbo has roughly 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That is 31 more hp and a whopping 73 ft-lbs more than the IS 250’s engine. Lexus will surely introduce the RC 200t at some point in the coming 18 months.

Having spent a lot of time in loaner Lexus IS 250s, all of which were AWD versions, this Lexus fan will not be sad to see the engine go. Let’s now hope that RC’s are not overwhelmingly sent to dealers with all-wheel-drive. Spoiling a great rear-drive, front-engine layout by adding AWD is such a shame.

Related Stories:
Lexus NX 200t has a very familiar engine design that works well for BMW
Turbocharged engine for the 2015 Lexus IS 250 confirmed
Why Consumer Reports hating the Lexus IS 250 is great

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Mark Day (not verified)    July 29, 2014 - 4:41AM

"Let’s now hope that RC’s are not overwhelmingly sent to dealers with all-wheel-drive. Spoiling a great rear-drive, front-engine layout by adding AWD is such a shame."
I guess it's a "shame" that Porsche and Audi equip their high-performance vehicles with AWD. A performance vehicle should have enough HP for the necessity of having AWD. An AWD vehicle retains it's performance regardless of weather/road conditions, while others are fair-weather drivers.

John Goreham    July 29, 2014 - 4:51AM

In reply to by Mark Day (not verified)

I feel it is a shame. Or a sham. You articulate exactly what Audi, Subaru and others have been trying to convince people of for years. "All wheel drive -it's all I drive" and such nonsense. The majority of the Audi's sold are front-drive economy cars adapted to luxury models. Their engines are in front of the steered wheels and without AWD they cannot work in their segments. Porsche is different. The AWD models they sell are very rare by any measure and they add AWD to rear drive platforms. One should be respected. On public roads AWD does not help a performance car turn or stop in the snow or in deep puddles and people don't race their street car in the rain and snow either. AWD is not needed in the rain.

Mark Day (not verified)    July 30, 2014 - 2:52AM

"...and people don't race their street car in the rain and snow either." While I don't "race" my 4WD vehicle any time, I very much appreciate jumping a Corvette, or whatever, from a light in the rain and staying ahead of the heard-like traffic. I Agree with your point regarding front-drive, therefore would purchase an 4WD Camry V6, if available. Front-drive alone can't favorably compare with rear-wheel-drive. My vehicle: 2012 Toyota RAV4 4WD V6 (269hp). 4WD automatically disengages at 25mph.
New to this site - thanks for the great auto news coverage...

John Goreham    July 30, 2014 - 8:47PM

In reply to by Mark Day (not verified)

That RAV 4 is a real gem. It breaks my heart that Toyota - Lexus moved away from the V6 (which took regular fuel) in the RAV and now the new NX 200t (drove it today). I have a similar vehicle to yours. I own a 2007 Highlander V6 AWD. Not nearly as quick as the RAV 4 V6, but still a solid performer and the same size as the 2014 RAV 4 and new Lexus NX. The NX will be a huge success. Nothing bad to say, but a modern V6 with a 6-speed trans would have been great in that platform.