I road tested the Lexus RC F Coupé for a week, and came away a little confused as it is a little hard to directly place where it sits.
We last reviewed the RC F in May 2015 and relished the opportunity to revisit the coupe for a road test.
Although it is getting a little long in the tooth in terms of life cycle, the question remains though – Is it a true sports coupe or luxurious performance grand tourer?
Lexus RC F exterior shape does promote discussion, as witnessed by the many people that stopped to chat in the week I had it. Many liked it, some didn’t.
The front grill is imposing and can appear disjointed, appearing stuck on as an afterthought. It does however house the triple-stack LED headlights and daytime running lights (DRLs).
From the side it appears well proportioned, with the sleek coupé style, and muscular wheel arches. The ‘F’ badge sits behind the front wheel arches.
The whole visual appeal is dramatically enhanced by the stunning forged aluminium 19 inch wheels with differential tyres – Michelin Pilot Supersport 255/35R19 front and 275/35R19 rear.
Overall the external style is a mixture. There is nothing subtle about it, yet it has subtle visual appeal.
Once you cross the threshold the RC F is all Lexus. That means luxury where the design blends into user friendly implementation.
The RC F seats are extremely comfortable, multi electrically adjustable, air conditioned and with a electrically adjustable small thick rimmed leather steering wheel.
The dash layout is a testament to simple functional design that works and easy to use. Like all good sports cars the tacho is front and centre with speedo to the right and MFD to the left.
Lexus RC F features a large central TFT tachometer, an analogue speedometer to the right, and a TFT multi information display (MID) screen to the left.
The centre stack again, simple to use, but full of features. I love the elegant analogue clock.
Overall visibility is better than expected. Forward visibility is good over the bonnet. Thick ‘B’ pillars, usually right at head alignment, prevent much over the shoulder glances and the rear window is small but definitely better than similar styles. Thankfully there is a high resolution reversing and surround camera system
Rear seats are pretty much useless for anybody and better relegated to the purpose of storing shopping or overnight bags along with a small but practical boot space of 362L.
The fit and finish is as you would expect from Lexus and a $140,000+ sports car.
What is so good about Lexus vehicles is that they include so much as standard items and have an almost non-existent options list. More the occasional enhancement package.
In line with this the RC F is jammed packed with features, way too many to list here, so we will chat about a few key ones.
The infotainment system includes the 10.3″ Multimedia screen with Lexus Remote Touch-pad Controller. The screen and system are all good enough though at times finding the screen to do what you want can be difficult. There is still no Apple Car Play nor Android Auto.
However, one complaint is the ‘mouse’ touch plate for navigating the functions on the centre screen is way too sensitive and awkward to use for the clumsier amongst us.
Lexus includes a 17 Speaker 835W Mark Levinson® DVD Audio with Signal Doctor. In short it’s superb.
The Acceleration Sound Control (ASC) V8 burble at least lets the driver have an audible delight.
There are all the expected features on top of these that you expect from Lexus.
Drive and Engine
The RC F offers the stunning and powerful 5.0L V8 engine which produces 351kW/530Nm.
It drives all this power through an eight speed SPDS Automatic Transmission with Sequential and Paddle Shift availability which will propel this hefty Coupé from 0-100kmh in 4.5 seconds and top out at an electronically governed 270kmh.
The RC F features – Drive Mode Select – ECO, NORMAL, SPORT S, SPORT S+ and CUSTOM.
ADR fuel figure is a combined 10.9l/100k. The RC F does however, have a small fuel tank at 66L.
Around town the RC F is an easy daily cruiser, with a little style. It’s easy to putter along without fuss. The V8 gives a hint of what lies within reach, but is happy and not temperamental at all.
However switch to one of the SPORT modes and find some windy roads and the RC F will excite all but the purist of drivers.
Lexus RC F doesn’t have an official ANCAP safety rating. But this is because the expense of testing low volume vehicles is prohibitive. There are, however, an abundance of both active and passive safety features including key features as:
- Reversing Camera with Rear Guide Assist (RGA),
- Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA),
- Pre-Collision Safety System (PCS) with Pre-Collision Braking (PCB),
- PCS includes Pedestrian Detection,
- Lane Departure Warning with Steering Assist (LDW+),
- Anti-lock Brakes (ABS),
- ABS with Vertical G Sensor,
- Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA),
- Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRC),
- Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)
- Brembo Performance Brake Package with Orange Calipers,
- Eight SRS Airbags,
- Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) ,
- Luxury features
- Style and comfort
- V8 power
Not so Good Bits:
- Useless rear seats
- Lexus ‘mouse’ controls
- Difficult entry and exit
The Lexus RC F is a little hard to place. It isn’t really an out and out sports Coupé nor is it a proper GT. It is however well designed for those drivers who like the extra performance in a stylish Coupé that is easy to live with every day and provides just enough thrills when they head to the open road.
This is a true luxury Coupé with extra performance.
For me I would buy the Lexus RC F over the RC 350 F Sport, over the Lexus LC 500 C, over the BMW M3 Coupé and would consider the Audi S5 Coupé or Audi RS5, but it is some $20,000 more expensive. You can count out the Mercedes-Benz equivalent as they are just too damn ugly.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Lexus RC F Coupé
- Engine: 5.0L V8 eight-cylinder petrol producing 351kW/530Nm
- Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
- Warranty: 4 Years/100,000km
- Safety: Not tested
- Origin: Japan
- Price: from $148,771