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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2020 Lexus RC F

      Finding a bit of V8 joy

    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

    Year: 2020
    Make: Lexus
    Model: RC F
    Trim: -
    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)

    Options:
    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

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    Sounds like if you want a ricer racer, then this car would be for those fans, otherwise pass as it is under powered, over priced and over all a bit of a let down.

    Be interesting to see if the traditional Lexus Fit n Finish is there as my Aunt loves Lexus, but seems in years 3 to 5 you start seeing stuff fall off like the head lining over the rear seats, knobs, etc.

    @William Maley Over all Fit n Finish on this car? What about big people?

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    I think your review is spot on.  I actually sort of like these cars, that said, I look at it as more of a Toyota than a Lexus competing with the BMW and Merc's.  I like the showy looks and especially in yellow.  Why I wouldn't get one, an interior dash, that is right there in line with the dull blocky Japanese car dashes of the 80's and 90's....it's like not a day moved on since then.  The v8 seems to be impressive, even if its hp is down compared to others.

    At the end of the day, a well loaded v8 Camaro, way more desirable even.  

    I mean, a 2020 Corvette can be had for same money btw.....

    Edited by regfootball
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    4k lb. hog. That's ridiculously heavy for a modern Coupe in this class, shows how far Lexota has fallen behind, real R&D is a thing of the past at TMC. That Lexus front-end just keeps getting worse, that spindle grille just keeps getting more defined in a bad way. Looks likes it belongs in a GTA video game and nowhere else. For $90 grand I'd much rather have a C8 Vette or even a fully loaded Camaro ZL1 with much more power like others mentioned above. The Alfa Giulia Quadrifoglio with a TT V6 smokes this Lex. on looks alone.  

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    Classic in a way, but also...nothing like these. Not underpowered. Not underbuilt. And a beast day to day, that will, I don't know, keep going for 500,000 miles too...

    Add in the service experience, and buttery operation and...yeah. Worth it.

     

    Edited by caddycruiser
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    The interior is where the IS and RC really fall short.  I feel like it hasn't changed in 10 years and I don't think it was that good 5-10 years ago either.  That interior is a lot of plastic and Toyota switchgear.  

    The engine sounds good in the video, but it too is really dated.  You can tell Lexus is just letting their sedans die on the vine, like they did with the GS.  The IS/RC will probably be gone in a year or two and they'll keep the ES around since it is an Avalon/Camry and they will probably keep the LS even if it doesn't sell just to have a flagship.

    I think the M440i might even outperform the RC F at this point.  Probably why Toyota went to BMW to make the Supra.  

     

    Edited by smk4565
    • Haha 1
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    17 hours ago, balthazar said:

    I think some were reacting to the torque, but at 389, it's still fine. You just expect a number there that begins with a '4' nowadays (Mustang GT : 420).

    Ehhhh that's not such a significant difference it would be something to complain about. 

    Also, this is what I'm seeing elsewhere for a 2020 RC-F.

    " The 5.0-liter V-8 carries over essentially unchanged from the 2019 model, but now it makes 472 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque, which is 5 horsepower and 6 lb-ft more than before."

     

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    14 hours ago, smk4565 said:

    The interior is where the IS and RC really fall short.  I feel like it hasn't changed in 10 years and I don't think it was that good 5-10 years ago either.  That interior is a lot of plastic and Toyota switchgear.  

    The engine sounds good in the video, but it too is really dated.  You can tell Lexus is just letting their sedans die on the vine, like they did with the GS.  The IS/RC will probably be gone in a year or two and they'll keep the ES around since it is an Avalon/Camry and they will probably keep the LS even if it doesn't sell just to have a flagship.

    I think the M440i might even outperform the RC F at this point.  Probably why Toyota went to BMW to make the Supra.  

     

    Or it could be because there is no business case for Toyota to go all in on a niche car (Supra) and it makes it more cost effect to partner up with another company for it. Again, that Benz bias coming through that keeps you from seeing the obvious reasons why Toyota went that route.

    19 hours ago, ccap41 said:

    467hp in a 4000lb car is underpowered? It weights ~130-180lb more than a Mustang GT and Camaro SS and I don't think people say those are underpowered. 

    They won't because the price of those two is FAR lower than the Lexus which doesn't even compete well with its actual competition at that price point. The Lexus is also three inches shorter than the average Stang, adding slightly to the heft factor when you are down on torque. 

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    17 minutes ago, surreal1272 said:

    They won't because the price of those two is FAR lower than the Lexus which doesn't even compete well with its actual competition at that price point. The Lexus is also three inches shorter than the average Stang, adding slightly to the heft factor when you are down on torque. 

    Are these underpowered then, because they weigh more? 

    https://www.motor1.com/reviews/242383/compare-chevy-camaro-ford-mustang/

    https://www.motortrend.com/cars/ford/mustang/2019/2019-chevrolet-camaro-ss-vs-2019-ford-mustang-gt-convertible-comparison-test/

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    • I like this car despite this car being a Toyoter
    • I dont have an issue with the horsepower and torque figures for this car
    • Despite what I said above, Id rather any V8 versions of the Challenger and Mustang. Actually, Id rather any versions of a V8 Challenger and Mustang over ANY 2 door sport coupe available on the market today...
    • I almost forgot, a C8 Corvette is sweet too. A shout out to it is necessary. Id seriously consider a C8 as well. 
    Edited by oldshurst442
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    The problem of this car is the price.  $65k for that V8 seems like a decent deal, but not $89k.  There are more powerful, faster, better equipped, more modern cars for that same money.  

    But this car will probably be gone in a year or two because car companies aren't investing in sports sedans and sports coupes anymore, or V8s anymore.  I was just thinking the other day how the VW Passage had a W8 option before, the Bonneville had a Northstar V8, the Impala had a 5.3 V8 option, and this was all about 15 years ago.  Now you are lucky to even find a V6 in a front drive car, they are mostly all turbo 4.  And look at how the Sky/Solstice, Camry Solara, Accord Coupe, Altima Coupe, Monte Carlo, Scion tC, and more coupes have been killed in the past 10-15 years.

    It is all about FWD, 4-cylinder crossovers now.   Lexus will soon replace this with that LCX-Limiteless crossover thing, that will probably have a 3.5 V6 plus hybrid combo making about 400 hp pulling 5,000 lbs, and they'll want $95k for it and position it as the flagship Lexus performance vehicle.  Because that LC will be dead by then due to no sales.

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    On 1/1/2021 at 9:10 PM, smk4565 said:

    The problem of this car is the price.  $65k for that V8 seems like a decent deal, but not $89k.  There are more powerful, faster, better equipped, more modern cars for that same money.  

    But this car will probably be gone in a year or two because car companies aren't investing in sports sedans and sports coupes anymore, or V8s anymore.  I was just thinking the other day how the VW Passage had a W8 option before, the Bonneville had a Northstar V8, the Impala had a 5.3 V8 option, and this was all about 15 years ago.  Now you are lucky to even find a V6 in a front drive car, they are mostly all turbo 4.  And look at how the Sky/Solstice, Camry Solara, Accord Coupe, Altima Coupe, Monte Carlo, Scion tC, and more coupes have been killed in the past 10-15 years.

    It is all about FWD, 4-cylinder crossovers now.   Lexus will soon replace this with that LCX-Limiteless crossover thing, that will probably have a 3.5 V6 plus hybrid combo making about 400 hp pulling 5,000 lbs, and they'll want $95k for it and position it as the flagship Lexus performance vehicle.  Because that LC will be dead by then due to no sales.

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      Illuminated Door Sill - $400.00
      Power Rear Sunshade - $210.00
      F Sport Heated Leather Steering Wheel with Windshield Wiper Deicer and Fast Response Interior Heater - $180.00
      Door Edge Guard - $145.00
      Wireless Charger - $75.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      For your consideration: Two unlikely sport sedans.
      The Toyota Camry TRD and Lexus ES 350 F-Sport may not seem like credible sport sedans at first glance. They may seem like tarted-up sedans in terms of looks, but nothing else. However, after spending a week in each one, I can say both are the real deal.
      Camry TRD
      This Camry is in your face about its sporting potential. It comes with a front splitter, side skirts, a distinct rear spoiler, and 19-inch TRD wheels with a matte black finish. I found it to be a bit much and wished Toyota offered a package that got you the goodies for the suspension and exhaust system while keeping the looks of a standard Camry. A sleeper of sorts. TRD models come with small touches inside such as red seatbelts, red stitching on the seats and dash; leather-wrapped steering wheel, and TRD floor mats. Otherwise, it is your standard Camry interior. Power comes from a 3.5L V6 with 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. Yes, that's the same output as the Camry XLE V6 I drove earlier. But what TRD has done is added a new exhaust system that provides a nice growl. I'll admit I was surprised when I blipped the throttle at a stoplight and heard what came out. This is an engine you have to work slightly to get into its sweet spot of power - around the mid-range on the rpm band. But once you do, the engine delivers a smooth punch of power. I do wish the six-speed automatic wouldn't try to go into the highest gear ASAP to maximize fuel economy. Where TRD worked their magic is with the suspension. The car is lower than a standard Camry, along with being stiffer thanks to thicker underbody braces, stabilizer bars, and shocks. On a winding road, the Camry TRD feels much more athletic than the standard Camry with minimal body and a set of summer tires providing excellent grip. The only downside is the steering which needs a bit more weight. Ride quality is a bit more firm than a standard Camry, but the suspension does a decent job of minimizing the bumps and impacts. To top it all off, Toyota has priced the Camry TRD at a surprising point. With the two-tone paint on my tester, it comes at $32,920 - making this the cheapest way to get a V6 in a Camry. The added bonus is that the TRD is also the most fun you can have in Camry.
      ES 350 F-Sport
      Lexus takes a more sedate approach with the ES F-Sport with a mesh grille insert, new wheels, and a small lip spoiler. I think if they went overboard with the sporty touches, it would ruin the elegance of the standard ES design. I will say the grey on my tester makes the F-Sport kind of look somewhat bland. Going with either the blue or red helps it stand out. Under the hood is the same 3.5L V6 found in other ES 350s, producing 301 hp and 267 lb-ft. The behavior is similar to what I found in the Camry, needing to work it before a smooth rush of power comes on. The transmission doesn't have the same programming as the Camry's with trying to maximize fuel economy. It is ready to downshift at a moment's notice. I've praised the standard ES for making a real leap forward in handling as there is less body motion on windy roads when compared to the previous model. The F-Sport takes that a step further with a revised suspension and optional adaptive dampers - which my car had. Slip the drive mode into Sport+ and ES transforms into something that you can pilot with confidence on a twisty stretch of road. The dampers firm up to make body roll non-existent, and the steering feels more weighty when turning. When you decide to stop having fun and turn the drive knob to either normal or comfort, the F-Sport transforms a standard ES with a smooth and quiet ride. The price? Base is $44,635 and this fully-loaded tester comes in at $53,950 with destination. A bit hard to swallow when you consider that the Avalon TRD offers similar performance for slightly less money. But not everyone wants a sedan that screams "look at me", and thats where the ES 350 F-Sport shines. It may be sporty, but it keeps quiet about its intentions. Disclaimer: Toyota and Lexus Provided the vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Camry
      Trim: TRD
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC 24-Valve VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 301 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/31/25
      Curb Weight: 3,572 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY
      Base Price: $31,040
      As Tested Price: $32,920 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Two-Tone Midnight Black Metallic Roof and Rear Spoiler - $500.00
      Special Color - $425.00
       
      Year: 2020
      Make: Lexus
      Model: ES 350
      Trim: F-Sport
      Engine: 3.5 DOHC 24-Valve VVT-iW V6
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 302 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/31/25
      Curb Weight: 3,649 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY
      Base Price: $44,635
      As Tested Price: $53,950 (Includes $1,025.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Navigation/Mark Levinson Audio Package - $2,900.00
      Triple Beam LED Headlights - $1,515.00
      Blind Spot Monitor w/Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Intuitive Parking Assist w/Auto Braking - $1,065.00
      Adaptive Variable Suspension - $750.00
      Hands-Free Power Open/Close Trunk - $550.00
      10.2-inch Head-Up Display - $500.00
      Illuminated Door Sill - $400.00
      Power Rear Sunshade - $210.00
      F Sport Heated Leather Steering Wheel with Windshield Wiper Deicer and Fast Response Interior Heater - $180.00
      Door Edge Guard - $145.00
      Wireless Charger - $75.00
    • By William Maley
      There are some cars I will not turn down the opportunity to spend time with again. A prime example is the Mazda MX-5 Miata, a car that brings a smile to my face. This past fall, I had a chance to spend some time in a soft-top version and to figure out whether I would have this or the RF.
      What has changed since our last visit with Miata? Only a few things such as the addition of Mazda's i-Activsense suite of active safety features (automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-departure warning) as standard; and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for the Club and Grand Touring models. I find myself drawn more to the standard Miata than RF because it looks a bit neater. The hardtop makes the Miata look somewhat bulky.  The 17-inch wheels finished in dark silver help set the car off. The addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto makes using the MazdaConnect infotainment system a bit more bearable to use. I found myself using CarPlay more due to its easier interface layout and brighter graphics. Power comes from a 2.0L Skyactiv-G inline-four with 181 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed manual, while an automatic is optional. As I noted in my review of the RF, the new 2.0 makes a dramatic difference to the Miata's performance. Leaving a stop, the engine freely revs and delivers a smooth rush of power. I think this version is slightly faster than the RF, mostly due to it not having the foldable hardtop. The six-speed manual is still one of the sweetest transmissions I have used. It feels smooth and precise when running through the gears. Handling is still one of the Miata's strong points as it eagerly changes direction and shows little body roll. Steering is sharp and provides the right amount of weight when driven hard. Ride quality is slightly better than the RF I drove last year due to the Grand Touring not having as stiff as a suspension setup. Yes, you will still feel several bumps and imperfections. But not at the rate as you'll experience in the Club. The Miata is one of those few cars I find myself still being impressed with every time I get the chance to drive one. It offers a level of driving fun that very few models can match, along with a price tag that won’t break the bank. If you were to ask which Miata I would choose, it would be the soft top. Disclaimer: Mazda Provided the MX-5 Miata, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Mazda
      Model: MX-5 Miata
      Trim: Grand Touring
      Engine: 2.0L Skyactiv-G DOHC Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Six-Speed Manual, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 181 @ 7,000
      Torque @ RPM: 151 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/34/29
      Curb Weight: 2,341 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Hiroshima, Japan
      Base Price: $31,670
      As Tested Price: $32,790 (Includes $920.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Grey Cloth Roof - $200.00

      View full article
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