Lexus RC F Review
Lexus recently handed us the keys to one of their most exciting cars, the RC F. Although we only had the car for a short while, we did manage to put the car through its paces. Here is what we thought about it.
What is the Lexus RC F all about?
Lexus is known for its excellent build quality and use of premium materials, but their F division is constantly taking a jab at the Ms and AMGs of the world, just to remind them they can also do performance. The saga started with the first IS F back in 2007, when Lexus took the fight to BMW and Mercedes with a rear-wheel drive performance saloon of their own. Naturally, the IS F never sold in the same brash numbers as the M3 or the C63, but it did cement their spot in the performance saloon sector as a real competitor.
Fast forward seven years and we finally get a coupe variant of the IS F, officially dubbed the RC F. Unlike Mercedes or BMW, Lexus decided to scrap the saloon variant and only offer a coupe, since they figured that’s what most people would want anyway. As such, if you’re looking for a four-door fast saloon from Lexus (or even a five-door estate), you’re going to be disappointed. If, however, you want an alternative to the all-too-common M3 and C63, then you may have a winner on your hands with the RC F.
First things first though, let’s discuss the way it looks. The RC F is a car which splits opinions down the line. You either love it or you absolutely despise it, there is no in-between. I wouldn’t necessarily call it odd-looking, but parked next to an M4 and a C63, it’s the RC F which stands out as being too different.
Take the front fascia for instance. If you thought the new 7-Series grille is massive, you obviously haven’t seen one of these in the wild. The front is 90 percent grille and nothing else. If you’re not bothered by that, then the weird shape of the front headlights might make you change your mind. It’s not as aggressive as the BMW, but it’s got a personality and a character of its own. If nothing else, I like that they haven’t tried to copy the Germans and they’ve managed to incorporate some of that weird Japanese design we like so much.
The rear is much better in my opinion, with a quad exhaust setup and some interesting slats on either side of the bumper, just behind the rear wheels, to mimic the GT3 body kit found on the racing car.
There is a massive 5.0-litre V8 up front, pumping out 457 horsepower and 530 Nm of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed conventional auto called ‘Sports Direct Shift’. The sprint to 62 mph takes 4.5 seconds and flat out it has no issues slamming into the 168 mph speed limiter.
How does it drive?
It’s not as fast as an M3 or a C63, I’ll tell you that right now, but it is more enjoyable in a lot of ways. For starters, there’s the noise. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a car which sounds more motorsports than this RC F does. At full chat, shifting gears right at the rev limiter, it sounds distinctly like a race car. If you bang the limiter you’re in for a special treat too, because the ignition cut-off makes it sound unlike anything else on the road. It’s a visceral experience and one which is much more pleasant to the ears than a BMW M4, or even a C63 for that matter.
In terms of performance, the Lexus can’t live with any of its German rivals. It’s down on power and torque, and it’s noticeably heavier. Does it matter on the public road? No, not really. In essence, it just means you can enjoy more of the car for longer without worrying about losing your license. Mind you, this is still an incredibly fast car and you have to treat it as such. It’s a bit softer than the BMW but that makes it more pleasant as a daily driver in my book.
That’s really the whole premise of the RC F. It’s almost as sporty as an M4 but not nearly as compromised. It doesn’t hide the fact that it’s a road car and that it would get smoked around a test track by the BMW. Body roll is well contained though, and it actually prefers being driven faster rather than slower. Around seven to eight-tenths is the sweet spot I reckon. The chassis is lovely too, with some built-in understeer to make it more user-friendly but not so much that you can’t eliminate it with some generous use of the loud pedal.
What is it like inside?
It’s distinctly Lexus, and I mean that in the best way possible. The Mercedes might be more luxurious in terms of design and features, but the Lexus has all of its rivals licked when it comes to build quality and craftsmanship. The overwhelming feeling when you get inside the RC F is that of solidity. It feels like it’ll probably outlast you and all of your grandchildren.
The cabin uses some of the finest materials known to man and the design is clearly heavily influenced by the LFA supercar. The dashboard is positioned high to give you the impression of sitting inside the car lower than you actually are, and the seats themselves are probably the best seats I’ve experienced in this kind of a car. Forget the bucket seats in the BMW, the RC F units are second to none both in terms of comfort and sportiness.
The instrument cluster is similar to the one found in the LFA and so is the steering wheel. I also love how spacious the rear seats are. You can fit two adults in there, but ideally, that should only be done for shorter journeys. The only real letdown is the gear lever which looks way too outdated and the ergonomics which don’t make a lot of sense at first. They take some getting used to.
In all honesty, I would rather have the Lexus over the BMW or the Mercedes as a daily driver. It’s much more usable, a lot more luxurious, and perhaps most importantly, easier to maintain. The fact that it’s a Lexus also means you’ll have a relatively trouble-free ownership experience. If you own a Lexus you’ll also distinguish yourself from most ‘performance car’ owners, the majority of which are frowned upon by the general public.
Lexus RC F Cost
The OTR price of £62,755 makes the RC F a rather costly proposition, but I think it’s well worth it. If you go crazy with the options you can turn it into a much more costly financial decision, but as it stands, even the standard car offers plenty of features.
It’s never going to be a direct rival to the M4 because it occupies a slightly different market in my mind. The people who want the most sporty driving experience will always gravitate towards the M4, that much is a given. Those who aren’t afraid to try something different should go for the RC F, and I guarantee they won’t regret it one bit.
Lexus RC F Specs
- Price: £62,755
- Engine: 5.0-litre naturally-aspirated V8
- Power: 457bhp
- Torque: 530 Nm
- Transmission: eight-speed auto
- 0-62mph: 4.5 seconds
- Top speed: 168 mph
- Weight: 1,769 kg
- Economy combined: 23.9 mpg
- CO2: 258 g/km