Ever since the redesigned Lexus IS compact sport sedan debuted, we’ve been waiting for the coupe version of Lexus’ smallest sedan. Well, it’s finally here, and it will be called the 2015 Lexus RC when it makes its official debut at the 2013 Tokyo Auto Show. At the show, Lexus will show RC350 and RC300h hybrid models powered by, respectively, a 3.5-liter V-6 and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and Toyota’s hybrid synergy drive -- the same hybrid system as the Europe-only Lexus IS300h sedan.
The 2015 Lexus RC’s styling diverges from the sedan with a different take on the polarizing Lexus spindle grille. Up front, the RC has a wider, lower grille opening than the sedan with chrome trim and fog lights integrated into the lower edges of the exaggerated lower intake. The split headlight design with an L-shaped strip of LEDs remains from the sedan, but the triangular headlights are narrower and lead more into the bulging hood and flared fenders of the RC coupe. Moving down the side, the Lexus RC has a distinct character line that dips down below the side mirrors and then rises toward the rear fenders. These rear fenders flare out to meet aggressive-looking air intakes that flank the dual exhaust pipes out back; viewed from the rear, the 2015 Lexus RC looks especially low and wide. Although certain design cues from the IS sedan are gone, like the sharp-edged, sloping taillights, the overall look of the coupe is like a slightly longer, lower, and wider version of the sedan.
The 2015 Lexus RC in these early photos does not appear to have received the F-Sport treatment, so we wonder if these modifications might lend a more aggressive look to the RC as they do on the IS. We hope the Lexus LF-A-inspired gauge cluster from the IS F-Sport makes its way to the RC. The overall interior design of the Lexus RC is practically a copy of the IS sedan’s, with a cockpit-like feel thanks to the tiered dashboard. The center stack is made up of capacitive touch controls and small buttons for the audio system, along with Lexus’ mouse-like infotainment controller. Lexus does say that the RC will receive new interior colors, including a trim color called Clove, to provide a high-contrast look.
The 2015 Lexus RC rides on the same platform as the Lexus IS, but with a slightly shorter wheelbase and a wider track. The RC is also a bit lower and longer than the sedan. We expect the 2015 Lexus RC coupe to feature the same powertrain lineup as the IS in the U.S., which comes with either a 2.5-liter, 204-hp V-6 in the IS250 or a 3.5-liter, 306-hp V-6. All-wheel-drive should be an option with both engines as it is with the sedan, and an F-Sport package is expected for the RC coupe as well. Sedan models come with a six-speed automatic on all IS250 models and all-wheel-drive IS350 models, with an eight-speed automatic on IS350 rear-wheel-drive models. Lexus should be revealing powertrain details closer to the car’s U.S. on-sale date, which is also unknown at this point.
We’re also eager to hear more about the upcoming Lexus RC F high-performance model. Since the outgoing Lexus IS F sedan soldiers on for the 2014 model year, it could be a while until the RC-F debuts. Set to compete against the BMW M4, the RC F will reportedly feature a new 5.0-liter V-8 engine producing around 450 horsepower. For now, though, check out the gallery of the 2015 Lexus RC coupe and look for the newest Lexus to hit the floor at the 2013 Tokyo Auto Show in two weeks.