Considering the number of Lexus RC coupes I have driven over the years, there has been a significant hole - the V8 RC F. Whenever I have asked for one, the vehicle either wasn't in the press fleet or someone else was driving it during the dates I had available. But I was able to finally get my hands on one for a week in early fall. It was good timing as I was feeling the effects of being home for the past six months due to COVID-19. Maybe this coupe could give me a bit of joy.
- The RC F is not a shrinking violet. From its bright yellow paint, blacked-out 20-inch wheels, and optional carbon fiber package that includes a retractable rear spoiler, this coupe is very brash and proud of it.
- I'll admit that I was worried about scraping or cracking the carbon fiber front splitter if I took a steep entrance ramp or bump a bit too aggressively. It looks cool on the car, but the existential dread of an expensive repair bill does sour the appeal.
- Not much changes on the inside for the RC F except for carbon fiber trim and a set of racing-style seats. Usually, I have a lot of trepidation on this type of seat because I don't fully fit in due to my slightly wide shoulders. But the seats conformed to my body within a day or so and I found them to offer the balance of support during hard-driving, and comfort for day-to-day - something I find to be hit and miss on seats from other automakers.
- Lexus Enform is still a frustrating infotainment system to use on daily basis. With a touchy control pad, it is easy to find yourself changing the song or end up in a different section of the system. This means you need to pay close attention to any change being made, which becomes a distraction hazard.
- Apple CarPlay is standard and does make using the system a bit more bearable. But I do wish Lexus would roll out their touchscreen system which makes it much more intuitive. Though, that likely will not come until a redesign, possibly in the next year or two.
- The main event for the RC F is under the hood. A 5.0L V8 engine with 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque - figures that slightly pale when compared to the BMW M4 or Mercedes-AMG C63. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic which routes the power to the rear wheels.
- The initial acceleration is a slight disappointment as the throttle response feels a bit sleepy. I'm not sure if this was due to improve fuel economy or throttle feel higher in the rev band. Thankfully, this sleepiness goes away as the car climbs up in speed and the V8 reveals its party trick. The noise that comes out of this engine sounds like a muscle car and you find yourself stepping the accelerator to enjoy it.
- Not much to say about the eight-speed automatic. It goes about its business smoothly and quickly.
- Fuel economy was surprising in the least, as I got an average of 18 mpg in mostly city and suburb driving.
- A set of adaptive dampers comes standard for the RC-F and gives it a split personality. Turn the drive mode knob to Sport+ and the dampers tighten up to make the coupe feel more agile than its weight of 4,017 pounds would suggest. Also helping in the handling are a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires, providing tenacious grip.
- But switch the drive mode into normal and RC F becomes a very comfortable and refined grand tourer. Ride quality is very good with only a few bumps making their way inside. A minimal amount of road and wind noise is present.
- One area where the RC F holds a distinct advantage over the completion is the base price of $65,925 - undercutting most by a few grand. The danger is going through the option list and deciding to go crazy, which explains the as-tested price of $89,654. You can chop off over $11,000 by skipping the Performance package which brings all of the carbon fiber bits.
- The RC F lacks the outright performance as those from Germany. But I'm willing to overlook it because sometimes you want a car that just shouts to the world and the RC F does that very well. During my week, I found myself reveling in the engine and the grand touring characteristics of the suspension. It brought me the joy which sometimes is all you need a car to do.
Disclaimer: Lexus Provided the RC F, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
Model: RC F
Engine: 5.0L DOHC 32-Valve V8
Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
Horsepower @ RPM: 467 @ 7,100
Torque @ RPM: 389 @ 4,800 - 5,600
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/24/19
Curb Weight: 3,958 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan
Base Price: $64,900
As Tested Price: $89,654 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
Performance Package - $11,400.00
Premium Package - $5,350.00
Navigation System w/Mark Levinson Audio - $2,725.00
Torque Vectoring Differential - $1,250.00
Premium Triple Beam LED Headlamps - $1,160.00
Flare Yellow Premium Paint - $595.00
Intuitive Parking Assist - $500.00
Illuminated Door Sills - $449.00
Orange Metallic Brembo Brake Calipers - $300.00