Car Review: Lexus RC-F

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The 2015 Lexus RC F is like a butterfly that just popped out of its cocoon.

2015 Lexus RC F
2015 Lexus RC F

You see, the RC F is the replacement for the IS F. The IS F carried the Lexus name, but it wasn’t really a luxury car (you can read my review of the 2013 model here). It was an all out performance car. But most people would not look at the car and think performance. It had humble four door styling. Attractive in a way, but not something that was going to grab people’s attention (of course that was just fine for some folks who probably wanted to sneak up on the flashier cars).

The new RC F has the IS R performance with a whole new look. No longer a four door, it’s now a coupe with fastback styling. While there will likely be someone out there who will miss the back doors, I think most buyers are going to be excited that the looks now equal the performance. It’s not quite as bold looking as the old LFA, but it’s a lot cheaper than the Lexus supercar that went out of production in 2012.

2015 Lexus RC F
Spoiler is built into the rear styling

Let’s start with that performance. The RC F is the most powerful V8 performance car ever developed by Lexus. It has a 5.0 liter, 32 valve engine with 467 HP. It’s a classic front engine, rear wheel drive setup. You get an 8-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic with paddle shift and manual mode. In other words, it can handle all that power in whatever form you want. To be honest, my week with the RC F turned out to be pretty mundane. I spent most of my time driving around town with very little chance to stretch the car’s legs. The RC F was a complete gentleman. It was perfectly smooth in the lower range and not touchy at all. I loved when I did get the chance to punch the throttle and you could hear the throaty growl from the quad exhaust. Mileage isn’t great, but then you have to remember all the power you get to play with. You’ll get 16 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on the highway. I averaged nearly 18 MPG for my week. The most disconcerting thing was when I hopped in the car for the first time with a full tank, the range was only 195 miles. Not a crisis, but something to think about.

You can choose various modes to meet your performance needs. Pick the Sport S mode and you’ll see a glowing engine on the instrument display. Obviously it’s giving you performance mapping. Another switch lights up the suspension giving you the choice of slalom, track or standard. According to Lexus you can do 0-60 MPH in 4.4 seconds. The RC F has big 15 inch front brake rotors with six-piston calipers to keep all that power under control.  It also has an eco mode for those days when you want to decrease your carbon footprint. You can watch a short video about the performance modes here.

2015 Lexus RC F
That is one big brute of a grille!

The big change is the looks. They’re now on a par with the performance. There is the big Lexus signature grille that drops all the way down to the ground. It gives the RC F a brutish look. Front inlets on either side add to both styling and performance. The belt line starts near the top of front wheel and rakes upwards as it moves to the back of the car ending at the taillights. Around back the RC F has a spoiler that pops up at 50 MPH just to give you a little extra stability. It’s nicely tucked in when not being used. To be honest, the RC F is not a beautiful car. It’s a sports car that looks like it was designed to muscle its way to the front. I think buyers will like that kind of styling.

2015 Lexus RC F Interior
2015 Lexus RC F Interior

Inside, the car has a great performance look. It has the official Lexus analog clock in the center of the dash, but the rest of the layout is pretty simple. It has a few carbon fiber trim pieces. Call it upscale performance. The seats are spectacular. The driver seat gets ten-way power adjustments, while the passenger has to settle for eight.  You get lumbar support as well as extra lateral support. The seats also have slots for a five-part racing harness. You’re not ever likely to install one, but it’s fun to think you could some day. The seats are also very attractive. There is a back seat, but it’s not big enough to use very much.

2015 Lexus RC F Interior
Loved the RC F seats

Another change for the RC F is the new Remote Touch system. Personally, I liked the previous version that used a mouse-like device. The mouse is now gone and you use a touch pad to control the car’s functions. Simply slide your finger across and then select the operation. I liked it when I was sitting still, but didn’t like it while I was moving. It seemed a bit touchy and required too much of my attention to get it right. Perhaps with time a driver will get used to it.

The instrument display has all the usual information but it also gives you some performance toys. You can check your g-force and your torque distribution. You can not only time your lap, it will keep track of your previous laps as well. The 7-inch VGA display in the center of the dash let’s you keep track of everything else.

Base price for the RC F is $62,400. My test car had both the premium package for $4,400 (which included heated and ventilated front seats, rain sensing wipers, intuitive parking assist and the black carbon trim, among other goodies) and the $1,760 navigation package. There are other options that can quickly bounce your RC F over $70,000.

2015 Lexus RC F
The Lexus RC F is made to drive at speed

The folks at Lexus said they wanted this car to be something that put a smile on people’s faces. I’m not sure about passengers or the people who get passed, but I can pretty much guarantee that the drivers will be smiling. Both at the performance and the looks.

 

 

 

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