In the world of high-performance luxury the stakes keep rising. There’s so much to consider… style… comfort… and of course that adrenaline rush when you punch the throttle. If it’s a coupe… so much the better. Like this Lexus RC F . So, let’s see if this rare, “radical coupe” is ready to excite and impress.
Lexus sells its fair share of SUVs, not to mention it was luxury sedans that made them what they are today. But they’ve certainly had a few more exciting offerings along the way, of the 2-door variety. Their current flagship coupe LC500 is all about attracting attention for the brand of course, so it’s easy to forget about this 2020 RC F coupe, a car that’s all about performance.
So, to keep this luxo-rocket that debuted for 2015 fresh in people’s memory, Lexus puts forth a slew of updates.
No mid-cycle refresh is complete without a styling nip/tuck for the front and rear. For the RC F, that means re-designed air intakes in the front fascia that not only look better, but direct more air to the oil coolers.
Also in the interest of managing airflow; down the sides, the rocker extensions have been widened, and the treatment in front of the rear wheels reshaped with a more concave design.
In addition, the rear bumper takes on a new form, with fresh tail lights thrown in for good measure. Thankfully, the stacked twin exhaust tips remain.
Not much to complain about really, it’s one wild looking Lexus!
Inside, you can still see the beginnings of the throwback theme to the dash which the LC took to a new level. We’d stop short of saying it’s claustrophobic in here, but the confines are certainly intimate.
The front seats themselves are quite comfortable however; and 10.1 cubic-ft. of trunk space makes things plenty practical for both weekday chores and weekend travel.
For reasons unknown to us, Lexus’ touchpad controller still exists, and is still here in the RC F. For a car that demands your full attention when behind the wheel, it’s just too distracting.
Nothings sounds like a V8; and it has certainly become a rarity in the small sport coupe segment, so this 5.0-liter powered RC F easily stands up and apart. A growl grabs your attention every time you fire it up; even more so, with its rocket-like throttle response.
In addition to a little added power, now at 472-horspower or 5-more than before, and 395 lb-ft. of torque, up 6; the V8 has gone on a weight loss plan. There’s a new intake, aluminum brackets replace steel, and there’s a lighter a/c compressor.
That, as well as new standard launch control, should make for quicker progress to 60. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the launch control to work properly; and finding a happy medium between too much traction control and too much slip without it, also proved difficult. So, we were unable to best the quick 4.4-second 0-60 of the original RC F or it’s ¼-mile time of 12.8-seconds at 114 miles-per-hour.
It sounds incredible, and the overall experience is quite visceral, with the 8-speed automatic rifling through gears quicker than some sequential manuals; but at the end of the day, it’s not as quick as rival’s turbo-6’s.
New for this rear-drive chassis, are revised bushings and tuning. The results are laser beam handling, quick nicely-weighted turn-ins, beautiful balance, and virtually no body roll.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 16-City, 24-Highway, and 19-Combined; we averaged a good 20.2 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
Pricing starts at $65,925. Seems like a lot, but that’s a bargain compared to European competitors; none of which have the character of this V8-powered luxury mini-beast.
The IS F sedan was arguably Lexus’ first true driver’s car. It was followed by the LFA supercar, and eventually this RC F Coupe. As it did when it debuted, this 2020 version delivers exhilarating performance, yet remains a bit of a throwback to a simpler time when V8s ruled the world, but with the added benefit of the quality and reliability Asian luxury cars are known for.
Now, if you want similar thrills in a more affordable package, there’s the RC300 F Sport. It’s a bit of a tweener; occupying the middle ground between the potent RC F and a base RC 300.
It receives most of the same updates as the RC F, but operates with a 241-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 if you stick with rear-wheel-drive. Opt for all-wheel-drive, and you get a naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6 with 260–horsepower.
But if your performance pendulum swings the other way, there’s also a new RC F Track Edition which we’ll have a full test on soon. So many coupes with so much performance! This is indeed a new era for Lexus.
Engine: 5.0 liter
Torque: 395 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 4.4 seconds
1/4 mile: 12.8 seconds @ 114mph
EPA: 16 mpg city / 24 mpg highway