Road tested: 2016 Lexus RC-F


SAN FRANCISCO, September 16, 2016 —  With its RC-F, Lexus offers potent 2-door fun that competes head to head with BMWs M4 and the Audi RS5. While it clearly has some differences, the performance aspect of this car can’t be ignored. Powered by a naturally aspirated 5.0 liter V8 with 467 horsies under the hood and 389 lb-ft of torque, one would expect it to offer quite a thrill for drivers and it does.

However, there’s a heavy curb weight over over 4000 pounds that impedes how explosive the car can be off the line. While it’s still no slouch with 0-60 times coming in at 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 171 miles per hour. One of the best features, however, of this car is its sweet-sounding exhaust notes that greets those outside the car like a red carpet welcoming movie stars. It growls with a velvety sound, layered with snarls of a male lion.

There’s nothing quite like the sound of a well-tuned V8 engine that a V6 or 4-cylinder can match. It is literally music to one’s ears. Lexus mates an eight-speed automatic transmission which makes us wonder whey they didn’t opt for a dual-clutch option in order to disperse the power more effectively.

Stopping is not a problem for the RC-F – thanks to its large 14.9-inch front and 13.5-inch rear disc Brembo brakes. Thankfully, the brakes have a really balanced feel to them – they don’t grab too early on the pedal action and as you press through, there’s a real sense of stopping power available to the driver.

Lexus does have incorporate a torque vectoring differential in the RC-F which allows the car to constantly monitor the torque to each rear wheel and dynamically adjust it to the outside wheel. This helps the car feel more ‘secure” while cornering. The there modes for this are: Standard, Slalom and Track.

The interior is sculpted in such a way that it makes one feel more like they’re in the cockpit of a jet fighter .The red leather seats that are sculpted in such a way to provide excellent body support around corners taken at high speed. The middle console sits up a bit high in contrast to the seats and houses both the driving mode selector as well as the touch-pad you use to make your way through the on-screen menus for the car’s infotainment system.

The RC-F has what one of the coolest dashboards going.. It’s purely electronic and will swap around the speedometer and tachometer, depending on the driving mode.. Additionally, the F-spec performance monitor gives you real-time analysis of your driving.

Lexus partnered with legendary audio company, Mark Levinson, to design their in-car systems and they don’t disappoint. With great low-end bass response, silky mids and seamless highs, it’s easy to see why Lexus is proud of these systems. There’s support for Bluetooth Audio, CD/MP3/WMV, satellite radio, AM/FM and an auxilary audio jack.

While the on-board navigation can be handy, it’d be great to see Lexus adopt the use of Google Earth or another online mapping option to not only give it an updated look but also avoid costly dealer updates to the mapping.

We love Lexus’ use of carbon-fiber panels that are not over-used inside, thus giving the car a very upscale, sporty look inside. Frankly, there’s nothing to complain about with how well Lexus designed the interior here.

Even though there are rear seats, you’ll be lucky to fit anything larger than a circus midget back there as there’s very little leg room, however, the seats – like the front – are rather comfy.

So who is the customer for this car? With better-performing cars out in this price bracket, we believe it’ll be for the discerning enthusiast person with a passion for performance but also the sensibility of desiring a car with “Lexus reliability”. Additionally, there’s not another 2-door sports coupe out there that looks quite like an RC-F. It’s body design language is unique, stunning and screams sporty.

Lexus has delivered a very fun car to drive that should cater to fans of sports cars yet desire one that has some refinements to it.

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