2015 Lexus RC F
by John Davis
When you say “Lexus”, most buyers will respond with adjectives like “luxurious”, “quiet”, and if you’re a car enthusiast, “boring”. But, while the widely held perception of Toyota’s luxury brand is still a pretty plush one, there is a not so quiet revolution going on that may change how Lexus is perceived and received in the near future.
Perhaps it’s a holdover from the limited production LFA sports car, further fueled by their constant tinkering with the IS sedan, but Lexus is now focusing as much on performance as traditional luxury with every new vehicle they introduce. This was the message loud and clear in the all-new NX compact crossover utility. Now, the brand is shouting even louder with their new RC sports coupe.
But, to us the proof is in the driving. So, recently we spent three days with the high output RC F version at our favorite road course of choice, Savannah’s Roebling Road Raceway. There, despite well-earned skepticism, our drivers were impressed with the car’s great V8 bark, and nimble chassis bite to back it up.
That V8 is a 5.0-liter with roots that indeed go back to the IS F sedan. Output in the RC F coupe is rated at 467-horsepower and 389 lb-ft. of torque. In rear-wheel drive only, the transmission is an 8-speed direct shift automatic.
Another value-added component is the available torque vectoring rear differential. It makes a huge impact on both the RC F’s performance and personality, helping put maximum power to the pavement in corners when in Track mode.
Through the corners, the bolstered RC F sport seats kept our drivers squarely in place. Yet, they still delivered the comfort Lexus owners demand. The interior overall, however, comes off tighter than a typical Lexus buyer would be accustomed to. Still, the usual leather coverings, high quality materials, and high-tech niceties are mostly included.
An F-specific gauge set alters screens depending on driving mode, and the multi-information-display hosts a wealth of data including lap times and even rear wing position.
Now, the real bonus: Even with all of its track prowess, the RC F is also a pleasant street car. The ride is never harsh, and great chassis response means you don’t have to be driving overly fast to enjoy yourself.
There are also body enhancements galore that make the RC F stand out. Among then a slew of air inlets and outlets, an active rear wing, optional carbon fiber roof, and stacked exhaust tips that give the hind quarters a look that suggests to everyone that this car is more than just a tease.
For more on our exclusive track test of the 2015 Lexus RC F, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3430 that begins airing on March 20, 2015. For a complete listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on the Velocity cable channel.
For a brand that has made itself a gold standard in luxury cars in less than a generation, to now go after the same status in performance cars is unprecedented. But, then, Lexus has always been a surprising brand. Only now, with the 2015 RC F, that surprise is evident on the track as well as the street.