Highlight: The RC-F is the most powerful eight-cylinder Lexus has ever built.
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $73,965 (Base Price $63,325)
Seating Capacity: 4
Standard Safety Features: airbags; LED daytime running lights; LED headlights; ABS; electronic brake distribution; Brembo ventilated disc brakes; a brake assist system; a traction control system; heated outside rear mirrors; a tire pressure monitor; a first aid kit; a rear camera; and audible alert when reaching RPM level; and Lexus’ Enform Safety Connect Automatic Collision System
Standard Equipment: 19-inch staggered wheels; an 8-speed automatic transmission; a speed activated rear spoiler; a keyless ignition starter system; power front seats with enhanced lateral support for the driver; automatic dual temperature control system with pollen filter; a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; unique blue LED illuminated needles on the speedometer and tachometer; paddle shifters; and a smart access keyless entry system
Options On Review Model: 20-inch forge aluminum wheels; leather trimmed seats; Blind spot with rear traffic cross alert; fog lights; a parking assist system; triple beam headlight system; rain sensing wipers; an automatic dimming mirror with a reverse tilt feature; navigation system; a rear back up camera; a 17-speaker (835-watt) Mark Levinson audio system; and a power sunroof
RC AWD (6-cylinder all-wheel drive)
Suspension System: double wishbone (front); multi-link suspension (rear)
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 10-speaker, 256-watt AM/FM/HD/CD with satellite radio
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 mile warranty
Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 70,000 mile warranty
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 5.0-liter, 8-cylinder/467-hp
Recommended Fuel: Premium
Standard Fuel Mileage: 16-city/25-hwy
What’s New: The RC and the RC-F, the brand’s entry-level coupes, are the latest pair of cars to join the line up. Unlike a few other Lexus products, which share a platform with its sibling Toyota, the RCs were designed exclusively for the luxury brand. In fact, the performance-oriented RC-F is the brand’s first high volume coupe that spews out 467 horses from its dual twin stainless steel exhaust pipes.
Pros: The all-new RC-F is the first Lexus that can truly go head-to-head with BMW’s M-Series and Mercedes-Benz’s AMG performance vehicles.
The RC-F, which is slightly wider, lower and longer than its six-cylinder sibling, the RC, pumps out slightly more horses than both the BMW M4 Coupe and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class C63 AMG Coupe. And to compliment both the performance and the eye-catching design of the RC-F, just like with some Audis the sports coupe has a speed-activated rear spoiler that kicks in at 50 miles per hour. The spoiler of the RC-F can be raised and lowered using a power switch located on the instrument panel, too.
The German-inspired performance suspension system offers three settings: eco, sport and sport plus. Until now, this was unheard of in a brand known for purely building luxury cruisers, as opposed to true driving excitement. The RC-F is the most engaging four-seater Lexus has built to date. With the RC-F, it is quite obvious that Lexus traded-in its typical luxurious ride for one that handles and drives more like a performance vehicle. The only Lexus that was suited to be a ‘true driver’s oriented’ vehicle has been the brand’s $375,000 plus halo vehicle, the LFA.
And besides the driving experience, the interior design team has meticulously accounted for every nook and cranny in the RC-F. The workmanship and the attention to detail is what we expect from the Lexus brand. From the form-fitting, power operated red seats dripping in leather to the array of driver-centric gauges to the brand’s newly introduced iPad-like remote touch pad, which controls the infotainment system, the interior of the Lexus RC-F screams modern day race car through and through.
This Lexus was outfitted with all of the luxury accoutrements and advanced safety features we have come to expect from the brand. Unlike RC we reviewed earlier this year, the 17-speaker Mark Levinson system in the RC-F made us feel as if we were attending a private concert.
Cons: Just a few months ago, we had an opportunity to review the more studious six-cylinder RC. And just like the RC, the rear seating area in the RC-F isn’t designed for anyone who doesn’t require child safety seats.
Another concern of ours is a true luxury sports performance car should be available with a manual transmission, which is something that was definitely lacking in the RC-F. A clutchless automatic with paddle shifters attached to the steering wheel just doesn’t cut it for this type of vehicle.
While our review vehicle was outfitted with an optional power sunroof, for the life of us, we can’t understand why this must-have feature is not on the standard equipment list. Again, as we pointed out in our earlier review of the RC, every IS, which is the brand’s entry level sedan, is built with a power sunroof, so why isn’t the RC and RC-F? Go figure.
Verdict: The RC-F is not only a head-turner, it’s a true player in the limited luxury performance coupe space. The German-inspired suspension of the Japanese built RC-F delivers the horsepower, with a speedometer that tops out at 200-mph and the handling performance with its three settings. Yes, this is a first for Lexus. We’ve been asking for a more engaging Lexus for years and the brand has finally delivered, with the all-new RC-F.
So, with the competitive price tag, the dramatic exterior styling, the race car-like inspired interior, the 5.0-liter, eight-cylinder engine, spewing out 467 horses, and the overall workmanship of the vehicle, in our eyes, the RC-F is worth every penny when placed up against the amped-up BMW M4 and C63 AMG coupes.
Competition: BMW M4-Series Coupe and Mercedes-Benz C Class C63 AMG Coupe
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website helping to connect consumers to the auto industry. Fortson is also the host of a monthly Saturday morning radio show, Auto Trends with JeffCars.com, which airs on Atlanta’s 91.9 FM WCLK. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop, the latest recalls, the radio show or to configure a new-vehicle, drive on over to www.JeffCars.com. Follow him on Twitter/JeffCars.