Specification sheets don't tell the whole story, and if there's a single brand that has illustrated this time and again, it's Lexus. Parent brand Toyota plainly got out of the sporty car business a decade ago, but some Lexuses have continued to look the part. Even more important, the elements you look for — like generous power, rear-wheel drive and double-wishbone suspensions — have often been present. Regardless, they haven't always translated to the emotional experience you expect, or at least desire, based on what you see in the specs. The new 2015 RC coupe, especially in RC F form, changes all of that in ways its predecessor, the IS-F sedan, failed to do.
The RC, a two-door four-seater, is intended to compete with the likes of Audi's A5 and BMW's 4 Series (that's the former 3 Series coupe). It comes in three versions: the RC 350, the RC 350 F Sport (the regular car with substantial performance tweaks) and the RC F (a full-blown competitor for the Audi RS5 and BMW M4). I tested all three versions in New York state and at the Monticello Motor Club, a private racetrack in Monticello, N.Y.
Engines include the venerable 3.5-liter V-6 producing 306 horsepower in the RC 350, and an updated version of the 5.0-liter V-8 from the IS-F, producing 467 hp in the new RC F. Both engines drive the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, though the RC 350 also offers all-wheel drive that instead pairs with a six-speed automatic.
"While the QX70 looks great, feels sexy and elicits plenty of compliments, after the novelty wore off, I found myself wanting out because of its harsh ride," said Cars.com reviewer Kristin Varela about Infiniti's sporty SUV. Read Varela’s review to find out if there is enough performance payoff to match its looks.
Cars.com photo by Evan Sears
For years the TL sedan was Acura's bread-and-butter sedan. It was a strong seller until a radical redesign in 2009. The brand has been trying to recover ever since and hopes an all-new version with an all-new name will return the brand to luxury-sedan success.
Related: 2015 Acura TLX: First Look
The TLX not only replaces the TL, but also the smaller TSX sedan — which was less controversial but didn't fit properly in the brand's lineup, which also now includes the even smaller ILX.
After spending a day driving the TLX in northern Michigan at an Acura event, the TLX might indeed cover all those bases and runs gamut with an entry-level four-cylinder to a fully loaded all-wheel-drive V-6.
"Even its high-performance RS version can't redeem the 2014 Nissan Juke from being an odd duck, and problems with refinement and crash tests make this mallard sink more than swim," said Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays. Check out Mays' review for more.
Cars.com photo by Evan Sears
Chevrolet has been enjoying amazing success with the redesigned Corvette Stingray, delivering 37,000 of the 2014 model to buyers, nearly tripling sales of the iconic two-seat sports car overnight. Now 2014 model production has ended, and the company is ready to begin shipping 2015 models out the door of the Bowling Green, Ky., manufacturing plant. The new model is largely the same as the 2014, with one notable exception: The 2015 Stingray receives a new General Motors-designed eight-speed automatic transmission, joining the seven-speed manual and replacing the old six-speed automatic.
Why upgrade to a new transmission so soon after launching the popular Stingray? The reason is simple: The upcoming Corvette Z06 and its 650-horsepower, supercharged LT4 engine make more power than the current six-speed can handle without fragging itself. No suitable transmission could be found from a supplier to both handle the Z06's power and fit in the Corvette's unusual packaging, so GM made its own, and buyers of any Corvette variety will now get the eight-speed when they opt for an automatic.
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