About a year ago I brought you my first impressions of the all-new RC 350 and RC F coupes from Lexus. I went over each model offered by the automaker and discussed the vehicle’s driving virtues both on local streets and at the track and here a year later I spend a week behind the wheel of the RC F.
Lexus launched its F brand in 2007 in honor of pure driving excitement with massive power under the hood. Initially this came in the form of the IS F sedan which was followed by the limited production LFA V-10 carbon-fiber supercar. For model year 2015 it arrives in the form of the RC F, the new coupe-based hotrod in the Lexus stable. F actually stands for the Fuji Speedway where the luxury division of Toyota conducts much of its high-speed testing and development. After spending a week in the car you may come to find that F may stand for a few more common words uttered by drivers today.
As I mentioned in the technical outlay last year, the RC F is powered by a new 467hp 5.0-liter V-8 featuring direct injection. It generates some 389 lb. ft. of torque and sends power to the rear wheels via an 8-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic gearbox that comes with paddle shifters and four driver selectable modes – Normal, Sport S, Sport S+, and Manual. During my week I operated the vehicle in Sport S most of the time, reserving Sport S+ for those times when I felt like “a wild and crazy guy.”
There are a host of other technologies engineers have put into the RC F that I detailed in my first reveal of the this car last year, but to sum them all up they work harmoniously to deliver a sports car worthy of being compared to some of the world’s greatest rides in this class. And the RC F – in all it’s sports car glory – is still a daily driver in the workaday world. You just may find yourself taking the long way quite often.
The car feels connected to the road thanks to an electric power steering that is tuned to deliver driver feedback and give back that feeling of control. The sport suspension adjusts with the drive mode so drivers can find that right fit for the roadway underneath the large alloy wheels shod with performance rubber that grips in every turn.
Inside is a driver’s cockpit chock full of the latest technologies and safety gear. From the very supportive heated and ventilated sport buckets one can access digital displays in the instrument panel or center dash for all of your vehicle information and driver infotainment. The RC F features the Lexus trackpad controller with haptic feedback when accessing the radio, nav, or Lexus Enform suite of apps and most of that control is also available via voice control for moments that dictate keeping both hands firmly on the sport steering wheel.
Despite the engine compartment being occupied by a V-8 the RC F manages some decent fuel economy in the range of 16 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, but who is really concerned about EPA numbers when purchasing this model?
OK, real world experience moment – we actually had to use that back seat area during our week as I picked up my mom on a visit to my sister’s house. Like so many her age, mom suffers from poor leg strength but she found little difficulty in climbing in and out of the front passenger seat in the RC F. And that back seat? Tish got to experience that for the ride to and from sister’s house, and while she never uttered any words of praise for the interior team at Lexus she did find it usable.
Pricing for the 2015 Lexus RC F begins at $62,400. The final sticker for our test vehicle came to $74,560 after the inclusion of a couple of packages that added the 17-speaker, 835-watt Mark Levinson sound system with 5.1 surround, carbon fiber interior trim, blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, park assist, moon roof, special paint, hand polished 19-inch 20-spoke forge alloy wheels and a few other goodies.
The RC F is an aspirational car to be sure. It ranks up there with Corvette and Shelby Mustangs but flies a bit more under the radar. Everywhere I went during my week in the car folks would stop and stare as they had not seen this vehicle much at all. It does sport the new Lexus front fascia that some people love and others despise, but the simple fact remains this is a daily driver with sports car goods. It is as much at home on your daily jog to work as it is zipping around the track or the twisty back roads on the weekends. It’s pretty F-ing good.