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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
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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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  • 3 months later...
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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    • 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
    • By William Maley
      I rarely get the opportunity to drive two different flavors of the same vehicle within a short timeframe. But that's what happened in the fall when I had the chance to drive the new Hyundai Sonata in its standard and hybrid forms. The Sonata has always been a favorite of mine as it offered a lot for a midsize sedan, with a surprising price tag. It has also come very close to being at the top of the class, but falling somewhat short due to one thing or another. This new version has the chance of changing that.
      Very Polarizing Design

      The consensus from several readers on Cheers & Gears and various social media sites on the Sonata's design was of dislike. Many found the design to be a bit much and overdone. I found myself in the minority as I was impressed by the lengths Hyundai went. The flowing lines and raked roofline reminded me of the 2012 Sonata which gave notice to other automakers to step up their game. Little details such as the bars the run along the outer edge of the hood to the headlights to a distinct rear-end treatment make the Sonata stand out.
      If there is an issue I have with the Sonata's design, it is the grille. I find it to be slightly cartoonish due to the large size and shape.
      Simple, Yet Elegant Interior
      If you're worried that the polarizing ideas from the exterior make their way inside, don't. The interior is surprisingly sedate with clean lines and a simple design. Hyundai should be commended for using a lot of soft-touch plastics and leather on various surfaces. It makes the Sonata look and feel more premium than its price tag may suggest.

      Despite the coupe-inspired roofline, the Sonata's interior space is quite spacious. Most no one will have any complaints sitting in the back as there is ample head and legroom. Taller passengers should be aware that the optional panoramic sunroof for the Sonata will take away some headroom. The Sonata Hybrid doesn't worry about that as it doesn't offer the sunroof.
      Tech Galore!
      Both of the Sonatas on test came in the Limited trim which means a bountiful selection of technology. It begins with a 10.2-inch TFT display for the instrument cluster which provides all of the key information needed at a glance. A clever trick is when you engage the turn signal, the respective 'dial' brings up a camera mounted underneath the side view mirrors to provide a blind-spot view. I found this system to be helpful as it gave me an extra set of eyes whenever I needed to change lanes.

      Next up is another 10.25-inch screen housing Hyundai's latest infotainment system. I like the three-window layout on the home screen that you can customize to your needs. Navigating around the system is a breeze with a response touchscreen and capacitive touch buttons sitting on either side. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
      The next two tech features are exclusive to the standard Sonata. First is what Hyundai calls a digital key. Using the BlueLink application on a compatible smartphone, you can use this instead of the key to start the car and drive away. At the time of this writing, this is only available on Android phones. Hyundai did provide a loner Samsung Note smartphone for the week to try this out. I did not have the best experience with this feature at first because I found you need to be pretty close to the vehicle to make a connection. Trying to connect from my room upstairs, just above where the vehicle was parked, the application would throw up a connection error. I found that if I moved to the living room or just outside the front door, the phone was able to make the connection. This sours some of the appeal of this feature. 
      At least using the phone as the vehicle's key does work a bit better. It only takes a few seconds for the phone to make the connection to the vehicle and you can start it up. Although, I found myself wondering wouldn't it be easier and faster to have the key. The only feature that makes any sense to me is the ability to share the key with other people, but lock down certain aspects.
      Second is Smart Park (or smart parkh as made famous by the Super Bowl commercial from last year). Using the key, you can have the Sonata move forward or back out of the parking spot to allow for easier access to get into the vehicle. It's simple to operate, just hold down one of two buttons for a few seconds; the Sonata starts up and goes into the correct gear to move in the desired direction. I can see the appeal in urban areas where space is limited. But in the current pandemic times all of us find ourselves in, this seems to be more of a gimmick.
      Power Selection
      Hyundai offers two engines for the regular Sonata; a naturally aspirated 2.5L four-cylinder or a turbocharged 1.6L four. A more potent turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder is available on the upcoming Sonata N Line. My tester featured the turbo 1.6 which produces 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. That puts it in line with some of the base engines found in the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
      I wouldn't call this engine quick, but it handles most driving situations with aplomb. This comes down to most of the torque being situated at the lower end of the rpm band. The only area where you might be wishing for more power is merging onto a freeway or keeping up traffic. The eight-speed automatic does an excellent job of maximizing the engine's output.
      Under the Sonata Hybrid's hood is a system comprised of a 2.0L four-cylinder and electric motor to provide a total output of 192 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. The Sonata Hybrid feels just as fast as the standard Sonata around town and on country roads. It does struggle slightly on the highway due to the smaller torque figure. The six-speed automatic doesn't stumble when the change over from electric-only to hybrid mode like I have experienced on other Hyundai/Kia hybrid models.

      Opting for Limited on the Sonata Hybrid brings a solar panel for the roof which acts as a trickle charger for both the 12-volt car battery and 1.6-kWh lithium-ion pack for the hybrid system. Hyundai says that the panel can add an extra two miles of range with adequate sunlight. I can't attest to this claim, but will say the solar panel did add an extra bit of charge to the battery, even on an overcast day.
      Fuel economy for both models are as followed,
      Sonata 1.6T: 27 City/36 Highway/31 Combined Sonata Hybrid: 45 City/51 Highway/47 Combined My week saw an average of 29 mpg in the Sonata and 39 mpg for the Sonata Hybrid.
      Calm and Collected
      Hyundai has done some work on the Sonata's chassis and suspension to make it more rewarding to drive. It shows on a winding road as both versions show little body roll and feel more agile than the outgoing model. Steering feels direct and has a decent amount of weight. I will say the Mazda6 is still the one to beat if driving pleasure is your key goal.
      But the Sonata has an ace up its sleeve. It is also one of the most comfortable cars in the class. Driving over some of the roughest roads in Metro Detroit, the Sonata's suspension soaks up most bumps and imperfections to provide a serene ride. The minimal amount of road and wind noise that comes inside also helps.
      Rising To The Top

      The previous generations of the Sonata were always so close to being at the top of the class. But there always something that held it back whether it was the design, handling, or powertrains. But this new model shows how much Hyundai has put in. There is a nice balance between ride and handling; powertrains are very competent, and the interior is best in the class. Plus, the Sonata still retains Hyundai's trademark of offering a lot for not much money.
      Where most people will stumble on the Sonata is the exterior. It is very much a love or hate it affair. Plus, some of the tech features feel more like a party trick to show to friends than something you'll use. 
      Nevertheless, I think Sonata moves up to the top of the midsize sedan pecking order. 
      But there is one more question to answer. Between the regular and hybrid versions, which one I would drive away with. The answer which surprised me is the hybrid. I found it to be a little bit more well-rounded and deliver some excellent fuel economy figures during my time.
      Alternative:
      Kia K5: Like the idea of the Hyundai Sonata, but not to sure on the design? Then the Kia K5 may be the answer. Based on the same bones as the Sonata, the K5 takes a more evolutionary approach to the design. The basic shape may remind you of the previous-generation Optima, but its the little details such as a new grille and revised rear deck lid that help it stand out. From reviews, the K5 proves to be a bit sportier. We hope to get our hands on this challenger in the near future. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonatas, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata
      Trim: Limited 1.6T
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500-4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/36/31
      Curb Weight: 3,336 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, AL
      Base Price: $33,300
      As Tested Price: $34,365 (Includes $930.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata Hybrid
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 2.0L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four, Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 150 @ 6,000 (gas); 51 @ 1,800 - 2,300 (electric motor); 192 (total output)
      Torque @ RPM: 139 @ 5,000 (gas); 151 @ 0 - 1,800 (electric motor)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 45/51/47
      Curb Weight: 3,530 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Asan, South Korea
      Base Price: $35,300
      As Tested Price: $36,430 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: 
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00

      View full article
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