Introduced for the 2015 model year, the four-passenger RC F coupe is similar in appearance to its less powerful RC cohorts. Comparisons end there, because the RC F unleashes a 467-horsepower V8, backed by a profusion of performance-focused components. After launching the RC series coupe with just one version (RC 350), Lexus offered four varieties in 2016, topped by the track-ready, super-powered RC F. Priced far above its less-potent mates, this rarin’ to go coupe is right at home on a racetrack, as well as on a highway or two-lane road.
What's New for 2017
A linear adaptive variable suspension system is now standard. So is a Scout GPS Link. The standard wheels get a fresh design.
Choosing Your Lexus RC F
Enthusiasts know that in the lexicon of Lexus, the suffix “F” may as well stand for fast; and possibly even furious, if not fantastic. Power and performance figures tell a prominent part of the RC F tale, as it compares to the trio of other RC models.
Most notably, the 5-liter V8 engine generates an eye-opening 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque, driving an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic transmission that includes paddle shifters and a manual-shifting mode. Other Lexus RC coupes hold V6 or four-cylinder turbo engines.
The V8 is something of a curiosity, because it operates in two distinct cycles: the familiar Otto cycle, and an Atkinson cycle that reduces power output and eases fuel consumption. When power is needed to pass or merge, the Otto cycle is active. Under more relaxed driving conditions, the Atkinson cycle takes over. To help alleviate any doubt about RC F capabilities, three driving modes are selectable: standard, slalom, and track.
Offered only with rear-wheel drive, the RC F is no lightweight at nearly two tons, but has well-balanced 55/45 (front/rear) weight distribution. Brembo brakes have 15-inch front discs and 13.6-inch rear discs. Forged aluminum 19-inch wheels hold 255/35R19 tires up front and 275/35R19 rubber at the rear. When the RC F is cornering at higher speed, an available Torque Vectoring differential sends power to the rear wheel that needs it most.
External details are similar to the regular RC models, with a few exceptions. For example, functional side vents on the RC F enhance cooling, while underbody panels improve airflow. Compared to other RC coupes, chassis rigidity has been enhanced, and the suspension is tuned more firmly.
Acceleration to 60 mph can be achieved in a sizzling 4.4 seconds, according to Lexus. Fuel economy is estimated by the EPA at 16 mpg in city driving and 25 mpg on the highway (19 mpg in combined driving). Hardly a fuel-sipper, but better than might be expected for a car with track-ready potential.
Standard equipment includes NuLuxe simulated leather seats with enhanced lateral support, hand-finished aluminum interior trim, leather/silver-trimmed steering wheel, power front sport seats with three-position memory, pushbutton start, and Bluetooth 3.0 audio streaming. The 10-speaker, 256-watt audio system has a 7-inch screen, and the backup monitor includes dynamic gridlines. An audible alert occurs when the engine reaches its rpm limit, and an active rear wing spoiler deploys at 50 mph.
Pricing begins at $65,140 (destination charge included), which is almost $16,000 higher than an RC 350 F Sport. Options include a moonroof, leather-trimmed seats, navigation, Park Assist, orange brake calipers, 10- and 20-spoke wheels, triple-beam LED headlights, and a pre-collision system.
To make this combative coupe look and act even hotter, an optional $5,550 Performance package includes a carbon-fiber roof panel and rear wing, along with the Torque Vectoring Differential. Also included are heated/ventilated front seats, black carbon fiber interior trim, Intuitive Parking Assist, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
Buyers who envision driving their RC coupe on a track as well as on the road are the prime candidates for owning an RC F. So, too, are those for whom the 306-horsepower engine in an RC 350 simply won’t suffice. You’re paying quite a hefty surcharge for that additional 161 horsepower, but a host of high-performance components are packed into the RC F. No, it’s hardly for everyone, but a fair number of RC prospects are at least tempted to shout “yes” to the ultimate edition.