If all you want is looks, then step away from the 2018 Lexus RC F. After all, you can spend a lot less and get the same attractive shape in the RC300.
But if you’re after performance, then come a little closer. Because the RC F is all about getting you there a little faster.
Since we’re talking money, let’s get that right out of the way. The RC300 starts out at $40,640. For that price you get a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 241 horsepower. Bump up to the RC350 and it’s base price of $43,570 and you’ll get a six-cylinder motor good for 311 horses.
But if you really want a thrill every time you push the gas pedal, then you need to lay out a chunk more change and bump up to the RC F. The sticker for that version starts at $64,650. It’s a lot more moola, but you also get a lot more. Start with a V8 engine that cranks out 467 horsepower. But that’s only the beginning of the F version. You’ll get stuff like Brembo high-performance brakes and the Lexus F-Adaptive Variable Suspension. In other words, it goes faster, brakes better and grips the road with tenacity.
Technically, the RC F does look a little different from its siblings. It’s a little lower and wider. The RC F has air scoops and cooling ducts along with some carbon fiber add-ons. The signature Lexus spindle grill is even more foreboding with its black mesh. Incidentally, the scoops and ducts aren’t just there for looks. They really do work.
The power comes from a 5.0 liter V8 with forged connecting rods and titanium intake and exhaust valves that allow for a 7,300-rpm redline. It’s mated to an 8-speed transmission. You can choose which mode suits your mood starting with eco, normal, sport and finishing with sport+. Not surprisingly, sport+ is the most enjoyable. On the other hand, when you’re just crawling along the freeway during your morning commute, eco is just fine. You’ll can expect 16 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway with a combined number of 19 mpg. I spent a little more time in sport+ than I should so I finished my test week at 18 mpg.
Inside, the RC F is attractive. You get a pair of impressive looking performance seats with slots for shoulder harnesses. Even though you’ll never use them, you feel faster just sitting there. The interior is nice, although I think it’s getting slightly dated (which may be because I just drove the LC500h which is spectacular inside). The RC F uses the Lexus Remote Touch system. It’s like a trackpad on the center console which controls all of the cars functions. Most reviewers aren’t too fond of it. I can’t say it thrills me either. Maybe it’s just a matter of finding exactly the right sensitivity for the pad and living with it for a while.
Back to the looks. I always considered the RC F to be a bit brutish looking. But I sat back and took a long look at the styling and decided it’s a little more elegant than I gave it credit for. Maybe it’s just that big grille that seems so imposing, but the overall shape is very nice.
Once again, if it’s just those looks you’re after, take a long moment to consider the RC300. But if you’re one of those people who are all about performance, then the RC F is going to emerge as the only option.