Car Reviews

2015 Lexus RC F review

Robert Pepper’s 2015 Lexus RC F review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and rating.

Editor's Rating

77%
The RC F isn't sufficiently agile and responsive enough to truly succeed at being a sportscar even though it is fun in its own way, and while practical enough it could do better as a grand tourer or daily driver. However, at $133,000 (plus onroads) it offers a V8 soundtrack and performance, easy handling and an array of luxury features so is a reasonable all-rounder and decent value.
77

On the outside

Most of my friends are into cars, either 4WD or sportscars and it is interesting that very few span both interests, but that’s a topic for another time.  Anyway, I asked the sportscar group to guess what I would have on test, saying only it would have north of 350kW and be a rear-drive coupe.
 
Most of them came up with a list like this:
 
1. An AMG Mercedes coupe with the 6.2l V8,

2. A BMW M6 coupe,
3. An XKR Jaguar coupe,
4. An Aston Martin DB9 or DBS,
5. A Ferrari 612
6. A Ferrari 458 Italia
7. Some sort of Yank Tank
 
These are people that live, breathe and eat cars of this nature, and between them they own pretty much one of everything.  Yet when they found the car in question was a Lexus RC F many of them turned to Google to discover exactly what it was.  And they’re not alone, because up until I collected the press car I don’t recall seeing another on the road.   But I did find one during the test, the lower-spec RC 350.  It didn’t catch my eye on a dark and wintry night during peak hour traffic, and even when I was following it I wasn’t quite sure if it was an RC, so I wouldn’t say it’s particularly distinctive. 
 
But that’s me.  I took the RC F along to Cars and Coffee, where it attracted some admiration.  It seems that those people predisposed to Japanese cars like the look (well, some of them), whereas those who prefer European or American cars are not so keen.  As ever, here’s the photos for you to make your own mind up.
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Trivia: the RC is for “Racing Coupe”, the  “F” is for Fuji, the Japanese racetrack where some of the car’s development was carried out – but of course, they’ve also given it a good run around the ‘Ring
 
The RC has been designed from the ground up as a coupe, not the typical path of a sedan conversion, although the engine has been developed from the V8 in the now-discontinued IS F.  The “F Brand” is Lexus’ high performance sub-division, with cars such as the IS F and LFA, which ceased production in 2012 so the RC F is the new hero car. 
 
The “F” doesn’t have the historic resonance of BMW’s M or Mercedes AMG, but in time there’s no reason why it wouldn’t be up there with such names.  Problem is that getting to that stage takes a lot of investment.  So, let’s see if this car is a first step towards greatness.

Room & Practicality

This is a coupe, so it’s never going to be super-practical.  But it is a large one – both longer and wider than the Forester I had on test recently, and it’s not made by Lotus or some other bunch of crazed single-minded enthusiasts who care not for liveability.
 
Starting from the front we have seats that manage to be both comfortable and fairly supportive, but as with any sportscar you lower yourself into the car.  Once in there is a pleasant feeling of an enclosed cockpit, which is what you want in a sporting vehicle.  
 
The seatbelt is a grab over the shoulder, without any clever system to bring it easily within reach like you find on BMWs, just a strap which doesn’t really help.  That is one of many similarities to the Toyota 86, although the two cars are very, very different.  The strap is poorly placed as the seatbelt is wont to slip down across the seat shoulder, ending up too low for safety and comfort.
 
There’s not a lot of headroom.  I found my head touching the roof-mounted grabhandle when I looked right, and while I’m not short I’m no skyscraper.  I tried it with a helmet, as Lexus claim the RC F is for the track, and it was even worse.  If I owned the car I’ll unscrew that grabhandle, never used it anyway.  On the positive side, there are two very well positioned armrests for comfortable long-distance cruising and the electrically adjustable steering wheel can be positioned to perfection.
 
The rear seats are comfortable for your torso and thighs.  Your head and neck will not enjoy the ride because there’s little headroom, and there’s also not much under-front-seat footroom.   Yes, it’s a coupe, but another 10mm of headroom can’t have been that hard to engineer, and the car is not small.
 
Entering the rear is done simply, by pulling a lever on the front seat which pivots the seatback forwards, and then the seat itself slowly moves forwards by electric power, not to be rushed.  Then you get in, and reverse the process.  The rear seat keeps going backwards, and when it detects it has made contact with your feet will relent a bit and move a little way forwards.   Once in the back there are dual drinks holders and seatpockets on the back of each front seat. 
 
The boot is reasonably commodious, has four tie-down points but no luggage net of any description, and naturally it’ll take golf clubs.  It’ll also easily take weekender bags and much more.  A very small hatch to the main cabin allows carriage of longer items, but once centre table is down there’s just a tacky cloth divider.
 
This next point sounds picky, but it is representative of the car’s design.  The boot release is quite a long way down towards the pedals, is not illuminated at night and difficult to find.  Less important controls like the spoiler are given far more prominence. Given you’re far more likely to press this button than any other it would make sense to locate it more prominently.   Grouping of controls is also a bit off, with the lane departure control on the steering wheel, and blind spot control elsewhere.
 
interior
One nice touch is that the interior lights come on when the keyfob is close to the car, regardless of wheter you unlock it or not.  If only there were more such cool little features.
 
Obviously this is a coupe, so you can’t expect hatchback levels of practicality but it’s not bad by coupe standards, certainly not as completely hopeless as a Jaguar F-TYPE.  That said, given the size of this vehicle and the fact it is a Lexus, who should be all about liveable luxury, then the scoresheet will be marked “could do better”.   There’s too many little instances of lack of thought for it to be considered a very good tourer.

On the inside

The interior is an odd mix of 1995, 2015, an oddity and Toyota.
 
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The latter first.  Lexus, as we all know is the luxury brand of Toyota.  Naturally there will be some parts-sharing, but frankly, these should not be the parts you see, feel, touch or hear.  Therefore it is disappointing to see the same switchgear as used in Toyotas, some of the same icons as I have on my 86, and the same gearshift pattern markings you find elsewhere, and the same white capitals font.  Not that there’s anything wrong from a functional perspective, but most people would like the car to be more different.
 
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Now 1995.  Parts of the interior do feel a bit dated – blocky text, the large and prominent CD slot when many cars are losing CD players entirely, the array of bright primary colours.  While the seats in our test car were beautiful cream, there was little corresponding balancing colour anywhere else save some of the stitching.  But then if you looked closely you could find blue stitching to match the bodywork, and black which didn’t match anything, then there was alacantra..but only over the centre console and eventually you notice some over the instrument panel. Basically, the colours aren’t balanced, and different types of plastic are everywhere. 
 
And 2015.  Some parts are bang up to date, namely the large revcounter which is actually a small TFT screen.  It changes according to driving mode which is not only the sort of cool that never gets old, but is actually useful.  It is also important to note that the revcounter is given pride of place in the centre, which is the way it should be in sportscars.
 
The oddity.  The screen is not a touchscreen, which is fine, I think touchscreens in cars are overrated.  Instead, Lexus have opted for a touchpad, like you find on laptop computers.  You trace your finger over the pad and press to select.  This is not a good move.  The problem is simple; a car bounces around a bit, particularly a sportscar.  So as your finger traces over the pad a bump arrives and you inadvertently select something.  And then you swear loudly.  I’d like to apologise to everyone I called and hung up on at this point.

 

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The heating controls are similar, you trace your finger over them.  That works much better, but is still more effort and harder than a normal dial.
 
There is voice control that worked perfectly once, and then insisted on dialling numbers instead of names thereafter. 
 
Both front seats can be heated or cooled, but the heating is best described as gentle warming.  No danger of scorched buttocks here.
 
Overall, the RC F interor is well appointed, liveably practical but there’s quite a bit of scope for improvement and it is not up with the best in class.

Performance, ride and handling

Around town and cruising
Big coupes are never the easiest to handle around town.  The RC F might be fast, but it is fast like a rhino – takes some time to get up to speed, certainly not a zippy-nimble sort of car.  Mrs P described it as “very big and heavy”. Flooring the car away from the lights reveals a hesitation, and smaller cars leap away like baitfish before a barra. They don’t stay ahead for long though, as once the RC F finishes its coffee, spins the wheels and gets power to the ground everything ahead becomes an object in the rear-view mirror.
 
In automatic mode the gearbox behaves somewhat as it is is faintly surprised by the power of the engine – late to select gears, and often making unnecessary changes which interrupt progress.  Somehow, it appears Lexus have somehow managed to build a non-turbo V8 that has turbo lag, and you’d never guess it was a V8 without the engine note.  Incredible though it sounds, this 351kW car does not actually feel very fast unless it’s finally got into gear and the revs are above 4000. 
 
At suburban speeds and in gears lower than four there is an initial inability to deliver the power to the ground if you plant the right foot, a bit of axle hop as the car tries to come to terms with what you’ve asked of it. It then attempts to make up for lost time by delivering a cubic tonne of torque with rather too much of a rush when it should be more linear. 
 
Some powerful 8-speed cars are now starting off in second gear to avoid wheelspin, and I think Lexus would be well advised to consider that in the future.  The RC F will easily spin wheels in the dry, so requires a careful throttle to get the weight over the rear wheels before you can truly take off, but all that takes time and then the revs are at the stage where there’s a big power delivery.
 
The latest Mercedes and BMW autos make you feel as if the engine is barely working, whereas this transmission seems to require more effort for the motor.  It does not lope along with the sort effortless pace you find in the best grand tourers.
 
All this is in Normal mode. You can try Sports mode, which sharpens things up a little but then starts to use a few too many revs when it doesn’t need to.  You want your V8 tourers to burble along with barely any revs.  And forget eco mode, it’s too much like driving a bowl of porridge.
 
Visibility is not great, but it does have a reversing camera and parking sensors at the front and rear.  Turning circle is 10.8m which is not bad for this class of vehicle. There is radar cruise control but that stops working below 40km/h.  Modern ones should work to a stop/start.
 
The RC F has a foot-operated parkbrake.  This is behind the times now, cars of this nature should have electrically operated parkbrakes.  Or better yet, if it’s going to be a proper sportscar, a handbrake…because otherwise how are you going to flick a nice 180 on the skidpan?  Oh wait, 350kW and rear-drive, I forgot.  Still, that doesn’t help if you want to hang a reverse j-turn.   Poor marks on the stunt front.
 
The suspension is pretty good, soaks up most of the bumps but is firm enough for a sporting feel.
 
The RC F is liveable as a daily driver, certainly not too hard-edged a sportscar.  It can seat four, sort of, take a reasonable load in the back and has most of the modern aids.  It is however not what I’d call a fun car at urban and suburban speeds, although that V8 burble will never get boring.
 
Out on the open road the RC F is more of a grand touring (GT) cruiser.  The power delivery irritations are lessened, the radar cruise is great, the seats are fantastic for long trips, there’s all sorts of luxury features, grip aplenty, stability and ease of driving is first class, the suspension quietly does its job well, and in general this is the sort of car you’d very happily take interstate.
 
Tech talk: what’s it got?
Now we come to the performance part of the review, which begins with a run down on what Lexus has stuffed under the RC F’s bodywork.
 
The engine is a 5-litre naturally aspirated (NA) V8, which means no turbo or supercharger.  It is good for 351kW and 580Nm (how hard did they work to get it 351 not 350 I wonder?) 
 
The car is of course rear wheel drive, and has a TVD, or torque vectoring differential which means that torque (turning force) can be actively distributed between the rear wheels.  Normal differentials simply split the torque 50/50 between each wheel, whereas the TVD can (and does) assist with helping the car turn under power, and even under brakes according to Lexus.
 
Gearshift modes
  • Automatic – selects gears 1 to 8
  • Manual – you choose the gears
A small point is that while there are paddle shifts – the type that rotate with the steering wheel – you can also select gears using the gearshift.  Unfortunately, that is still the type of push-forwards-change-up when almost everyone else has copied racecars and gone for pull-back-change-up.
 
If you operate the paddleshifts while the gearshift is in D then you select the topmost gear the gearbox can use, and the car will choose the gear.  For example, you can select 6, and the car will use gears 1-6 inclusive.  If you switch to manual mode then the car will remain in the gear you select, so 6 means you’re in sixth.  In manual mode it will remain in gear even if you floor it (no kickdown) and not change up even at redline. Well done Lexus, that is the way things should be in a sportscar.  Even better, to remind you to change up lights flash on the dash and there is a beep.  Again, good work Lexus.  You need this with such powerful cars that have so many gears.
 
The RC F suffers from the usual problem with big, powerful vehicles.  At 4000rpm, just when the engine note starts to get interesting and the power starts to surge you are at 70km/h in second gear and 90km/h in third.  So any excursions beyond that rev figure are going to be brief, albeit exciting.
 
Driving Modes
The mode settings change the throttle sensitivity, traction control, stability control and automatic gearshift points. They are:
  • Snow – for slippery surfaces
  • Eco – because you need that in a near two-tonne V8.  Does things like controls the aircon to use less fuel, changes auto shift points and so on.  It is, as all such things are, as useful as an icecube in a swimming pool.
  • Normal 
  • Sport – changes throttle sensitivity, traction control, steering feel. Starts to use the G-meter to help assess the correct gear select.
  • Sport+ – as above and modifies the VDIM (Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management – stability control,  traction control, steering) and so on.  Disables the pre-crash system (PCS).
modes
Eco, Normal and Sports Plus modes. The revcounter changes. The bottom image also shows the TVD changed, and PCS (pre collision system) disabled. Traction and stability control are disabled, lane depature warning is enabled, as are the park sensors.
The ABS includes a vertical G meter which is used to optimise braking performance relative to how much weight is on the wheels.
 
Stability control and traction control
  • Traction control off – short press of the button.  You will never need to do this. Forget it exists.
  • Stability control off – long press.  This disables stability control and brake traction control.  You may now drift the car.  This is also known as Expert mode, or “I hope you can handle 351kW through the rear wheels mode”.

(you may wish to read this on the difference between stability control and traction control)

TVD – torque vectoring differential
  • Normal
  • Slalom – enhanced steering response
  • Track – stability at speed
The TVD also operates under brakes to assist turn-in.  It is good that it can be individually controlled seperate from the rest of the cars modes, a design feature other manufacturers would do well to copy.
 
Sadly, there is no drift mode.  Lexus do not like journalists drifting their cars in Australia so we did not explore which mode is best for sideways action.  However, Lexus do say the TVD does assist with holding a drift.  It operates in two basic modes; feed-forwards, where it takes direction from the driver’s controls and makes the car do what the driver wants, and feed-back where it tries to second-guess the driver and control the car that way.
 
Other tech features
The RC F has an ASC, or Acceleration Sound Control.  This “sonically emphasises the vehicle’s response to the operation of the accelerator pedal and shift lever or paddle shift switches.”  Back in the day you just had a 3″ mandrel-bent exhaust, now there’s ASC.  Progress, I suppose.
 
There is a rear wing that goes up and down.  It is purely cosmetic.  An 1800kg car needs no downforce (well, it’s actually a reduction in upforce), not even one with 350kW.  Sorry, 351.
 
Lexus say that the “main development aim of the RC F was to create a car that enables drivers of all skill levels to enjoy its performance, both on the road and track” and that with the LFA out of production, the RC F “takes on the responsibility of becoming the F image leader”.
 
From reading the detailed specs it seems that the RC F is intended as no mere boulvevard cruiser, but has a range of features to enable it to be used on a racetrack. There is also a sensor to optimise braking when the car is airborne for when it returns to earth, a result of testing at the Nurburgring.  There’s high-performance brakes, special engine and oil cooling, and all the various modes described above.
 
Suspension in the F is not adjustable, and is monotube which is what you tend to find in serious sportscars becuase it is uses high-pressure gas, giving it quick responses compared to twin-tubes or foam.
 
A neat and usuable sub-display on the dash shows G-forces, laptimers, and how much torque is going to either wheel via the TVD.  A nice gadget, but you don’t really want to be looking at your g-force meter if you are at speed on a track.   Most people find looking ahead through the corner to be more effective.  The laptimer is handy though, even if I’d prefer a direct feed to Harry’s Lap Timer.
 
displays
At 1860kg the RC F is heavy for a sportscar, even a larger luxury model.  It is closer to the M5 in weight than the M4, and the former has four doors.  As an example of what can be done consider Alfa Romeo’s forthcoming Giulia is around the size of an M5 and will weigh just 1530kg.
 
Out on the open road
Now we leave the ‘burbs behind and drive for fun.  Throughout the test week it rained pretty much continuously.  That is why all the photos are in the rain, and I didn’t get a lot of dry time with the car. 
 
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There is a plethora of modes, but I selected Sport Plus.  Gearshifts were done in manual mode.
 
So let us start with the engine.  In years to come we will speak of such engines in hushed tones to our grandchildren who will know only propulsion by electrical power.  
 
The engine note starts as a growl, and changes markedly above 4000rpm to more of a roar, and it’s brilliant either way.  It is nearly impossible to build a large-capacity V8 that doesn’t sound great and this one is no exception, almost making the car worth the asking price just by itself. But then we did a roar-off against a 2015 Audi RS4 which has a 4.2 V8 and the unanimous decision saw the German crowned king of the jungle.  Even so, my ringtone remains a Jaguar F-TYPE.
 
IMG_8168
Once you have the car in Sport Plus mode it starts to move.  The sludgy response around town is not eliminated but reduced, and the further up the rev range you are the better it is.  Unfortunately, on public roads you either won’t be too far up that rev range or your car will be heading for the impound yard.  By changing gears yourself you can be ahead of the car so the lacklustre response is less of a problem.
 
Braking is excellent, good bite and stable under heavy deacceleration.   However, often the downshift blip under brakes is harsh enough to unsettle the car.  It is the current fashion to build in less-than-smooth changes when in sports modes so the driver feels something is happening, but the idea is not to actually jerk the car.
 
An interesting comparison was the aforementioned 2015 Audi RS4 with a 4.2L V8.  Apart from sounding better, the RS had an immediacy of gearchange, briskness of throttle response and a snappy-crackle downshift the Lexus lacked, and appeared to pull harder as well as more smoothly.
 
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The RC F’s handling is very competent but unexciting.  Steering is direct and feelsome, the wheel itself feels great and the car is nicely responsive, albeit feedback could be a touch better.  It is a heavy car, but carries its weight well.  Ride is very good, handling rough roads with panache, albeit with a little too much suspension noise.   It will readily understeer, but that can be fixed with the TVD or the usual method with powerful front drive cars – go in deep, slow down and turn hard to haul the nose around, sink the foot and let the engine finish off the job of rotating the car.  It is an easy car to drive fast, so that design objective is met, but leaves the enthusiast wanting for a challenge.
 
In the turns the suspension is compliant and forgiving, not too soft, not too hard, the tuner’s job done well.  Grip is very good on the front end and the rear, but the power (and its manner of delivery) can overwhelm anything.   Fear not, because the excellent electronics calm it all down with minimal fuss.  Body roll is just right, enough so you can feel what is happening, not so much the car is easily unsettled although quick direction changes are not its party piece.
 
The torque vectoring differential’s (TVD) three modes are noticeably different.  Lexus say the the Track mode ïs about “ensuring the vehicle stays on the intended cornering line as the driver applies more throttle”.  Well, I found it tended to act as a high-performance limited-slip diff and gave the car significantly more power oversteer out of corners.   On the other hand, Slalom mode definitely helped with mid-corner understeer and very much assisted with getting the power down out of the corners.  Normal is somewhere between the two.  Bottom line – to go fast choose Slalom, to get lairy choose Track.  This test did not include any actual racetrack work so maybe it’s different there.  Lexus say the TVD helps with turn-in….didn’t notice, but again pushing harder on a track maybe it would make a difference.
 
Lexus make much of the RC F’s racetrack and sporting prowess so it will be judged accordingly.  
 
As a sportscar, my summary is that it’s a big, heavy car that you very much need to stay ahead of, given its grip, power and slow gearbox.  There is no immediacy to this car, no sense of direct involvement, and the handling is competent, safe and assured rather than exhilarating.  Yet in its own way it is fun, because you do have to work to get the best from the car, mostly by planning well ahead and being gentle with the power, but also to figure out what it needs, then to work with the car to best effect.  But that is not everyone’s idea of fun, and the RC is not as much of a driver’s car as it could be, should be and is claimed to be.
 
As a grand sports tourer the RC F works better, but thanks to less-than-ideal engine/transmission tuning does not have the effortless waftability combined with all the little touches which add up to luxurious practicality that you find in the best of such vehicles.
 IMG_8271

Quality

Lexus vehicles are typically well built and the RC F is no exception.  No concerns about this car lasting a long time, and the warranty is 4 years/100,000km which is a bit better than 3/100,000km but not by much. An extended warranty is available.
 

Pricing & Equipment

Our test car is the RC F for $133,000 plus onroads.   The entry level model is the RC 350 which has a 3.5L V6 engine good for 233kW.    It is around 100kg lighter, but the power loss means it does 0-100 in 6.3 seconds not 4.2.   However, the pricing is sharp – the RC 350 Luxury is $66,000, the F Sport is $74,000 and the Sports Luxury is $74,000.  The F Sport has features such as variable steering and adaptive suspension.  The RC F itself is not bad value considering its performance and features, so the 350 is an attractive proposition, a lot of car for the money.
 
There is a Carbon pack available for the RC F.   This uses carbon fibre on the bonnet, roof, active rear wing, and interior ornamentation.   My calculations indicate the total weight saving is around 20kg all up, but the Lexus specs list the kerb weight for both at 1860kg.  The pack includes 20″ wheels, so I suspect they are heavier than the normal 19″ wheels – usually when you go up a wheel size you gain weight.  The carbon pack is $14,000 and is, shall we say,  questionable value for money.

Safety

As you’d expect the RC F does well on the safety front.  It hasn’t been ANCAP tested, but it has all the usual airbags and safety features.  There is also Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Change Alert and rear traffic cross alert for when you’re backing out of a park space.
 
There is PCS, which is Pre-Collision Safety.  When a potential head on crash is detected the car will apply the brakes to lessen the impact.  This appears to be less effective than a full-on AEB system but nevertheless a very good safety aid.
 
A tyre pressure monitoring system is standard but is is disappointingly basic.  Doesn’t tell you which tyre is low, and if there is a readout for the pressures for each tyre I couldn’t find it.
 
There is a reversing camera with moveable guidelines.  There would also appear to be some sort of park assist…but after a few minutes of trying to work out how it was meant to assist I gave up and consulted the manual.  Which made no mention of the mode, so I’ll leave it at that.  Certainly wasn’t an auto-park system.
 
The headlights are very good.  There is an automatic dip function which can be trusted to dip the lights when required, but is far too cautious about returning to main beam.
 
Front tyres are different front to rear – 255/35/19 and 275/35/19 – which means different diameter as well as width.  That is why get a flat-tyre repair kit, and no spare of any description.  Having inspected the rear I reckon you could ditch the foam inserts and take a spare tyre, which I’d pick as the rear given that’s the driving wheel and you don’t want to damage the differential or upset the electronics by running different diameter tyres on a driving axle.  The difference in diameter between from and rear tyres is only 14mm.  Or you could just use the spare wheel well as extra storage space.
 
 
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Reversing camera helping position the car.
 

2015 lexus RC F

PRICE :  $ 133,000 (+ORC) 

WARRANTY : 4 years / 100,000 km

SAFETY : not ancap tested

ENGINE : 5L V8 nA

POWER : 351 kW at 7100 rpm 

TORQUE : 530 Nm 4800 – 5600 rpm 

0-100km/h :  4.5 seconds 

TRANSMISSION : 8 speed automatic 

DRIVE :  rear drive with torque vectoring differential

BODY :   4705 mm (L);  1845 mm (W),  1390 mm (H) 

TURNING CIRCLE :  10.8 m 

WEIGHT :  1860 kg 

SEATS: 4 

TOWING :  N/A 

FUEL TANK : 66 litres 

SPARE : repair kit

THIRST : 10.9 L/100km ADR81/02 combined cycle 

FUEL : 98 RON

Thanks to Stephen, Juliette and David for their assistance with this review.  

Don’t miss our RC F vs RC350 comparisono, the RC350 review, or RC350 vs Toyota 86 comparo.

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2015 Lexus RCF Photo Gallery: Driving

2015 Lexus RCF Photo Gallery: Detail

Lexus RC F TV ad

Here is a test which Lexus say proves the RC F is quicker and handles better than the RS5 and M4.

I would like to know more about this test because it appears to have been arranged by Lexus.  Draw your own conclusions.  Regardless, rapid does not necessarily equal fun. 

 

LEX_V8_Supercars_150206p0141hr
Lexus RC F safety car with GS 350 F Sport and IS 350 F Sport supporting the V8 Supercars series.


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Michael Persiano
Michael Persiano
5 years ago

Well, with all due respect, this is filled with a lot of misinformation. I own an RC F carbon TVD. The car has already run a 4.2 zero to 60 in sport +, track mode, automatic, expert setting. If you wish to drift, put it into slalom mode an hammer it. As for the tranny, it is faster than the outgoing ISF, and that tranny was lightning fast. Lastly, the RC F ECU learns the driver’s preferences, and in time it “delivers” based on your driving habits. This will not reprogram and learn during a cursory test drive. As for handling, when enabled in TVD track mode, the RC F becomes a slot car that powers through the apex. You do not buy the car to save on gas, drive in ECO or normal, or to avoid speeds achieved in the 4,000-7,200 rev range. The engine is a masterpiece, it will not come alive until you exceed 4,000 rpm. It’s a race engine.

If would seem there is a bizarre gravitation on the part of many reviewers to focus on the weight angle. The car is strong, planted, and capable of hitting 175 mph in 40 seconds. It outperformed the M4 and RS5 is closed circuit testing and Road and Track had the RC F finish the Motown mile long in advance of the M4 and RS5. If you want to see decent track driving, watch the Motorweek review of the car. It is every bit as capable and even more in many ways than the M4. MotorTrend was surprised at how close Randy Pobst’s track times for the 2 cars were nearly identical.

This is a car that is not mastered on a cursory road or track test.

If you a looking for vanilla, by all means this is not the car for you. If you want the best road and track car in the class, lay out the bucks to secure the carbon TVD. It is a work of genius and not a wanna be German auto.

Robert Pepper
5 years ago

Michael

Thanks for the considered comments. It is always good to hear from owners. Let me address your points:

– The car has already run a 4.2 zero to 60 in sport +, track mode, automatic, expert setting.

I’m not denying it can do a 0-100 run that fast.

If you wish to drift, put it into slalom mode an hammer it.

I didn’t get the chance to drift the car. The test was on public roads. However, it seemed to be that track mode locked the rear diff more which is what you want for drifting. But as I didn’t get a chance to drift I’ll have to reserve judgment. There’s no question it’s got the power to drift!

As for the tranny, it is faster than the outgoing ISF, and that tranny was lightning fast.

This transmission is simply not fast. There is a perceptible lag between command and execution, even in Sport+, which is well off the pace for 2015. Drive an high-performance BMW, Porsche, Jaguar or Audi and notice the difference.

Lastly, the RC F ECU learns the driver’s preferences, and in time it “delivers” based on your driving habits. This will not reprogram and learn during a cursory test drive.

Heard this point before about many other cars. All I can say is that this ECU must be different to every other one on the market. ECUs learn very quickly, over a period of minutes. I spent time driving the RC F as hard as possible on public roads, and if after that it hadn’t learned, then the learning is too slow. Moving the selector into Sport+ should instantly set the car to its most responsive settings.

As for handling, when enabled in TVD track mode, the RC F becomes a slot car that powers through the apex.

The handling was not criticised in terms of ability, but involvement. In my test, I found slalom to assist more with directional changes and help combat understeer.

You do not buy the car to save on gas, drive in ECO or normal, or to avoid speeds achieved in the 4,000-7,200 rev range.

You might not, but others may well. I have to test the car’s features. You must drive in 4000-7200 on public roads, and if the car is not enjoyable and responsive at those speeds then that is a big black mark.

You’re clearly an driving enthusiast, some others may just like the shape and not care about the handling so much, only wanting a quick burst of V8 power every now and again…that happens a lot with such cars. The review needs to cover all bases. If this was say a track-foucsed car like a Lotus Exige then you could forgive the lower rev band problems, but the RC F is clearly a daily driver, GT cruiser and sportscar, so it fair to expect it to perform well in all areas. As indeed do many other cars.

The engine is a masterpiece, it will not come alive until you exceed 4,000 rpm. It’s a race engine.

Unfortunately, it’s a street car. If this was a track-focused machine it’d be a different review. At 6000rpm in 2rd gear you are at our legal speed limit of 100km/h, so you can’t legally really enjoy the engine unless you’re on a track. Again, this review was done on public roads for normal drivers. It is not a track test.

If would seem there is a bizarre gravitation on the part of many reviewers to focus on the weight angle.

Given the importance of weight in all vehicle and especially sportscars it is not bizarre at all. The RC F handles its weight well, but it would be a better car if it lost 400kg which should be well within Lexus’ engineering capabilities.

The car is strong, planted, and capable of hitting 175 mph in 40 seconds.

No question there

It outperformed the M4 and RS5 is closed circuit testing and Road and Track had the RC F finish the Motown mile long in advance of the M4 and RS5. If you want to see decent track driving, watch the Motorweek review of the car. It is every bit as capable and even more in many ways than the M4. MotorTrend was surprised at how close Randy Pobst’s track times for the 2 cars were nearly identical.

This is a car that is not mastered on a cursory road or track test.

I didn’t claim it was mastered, nor slow. Please re-read the review to see what was stated and what was not. 0-100 times, quarter-miles, times around a circuit are all interesting but not critically important.

What is important is how the car feels and how much fun it was. Neither I nor my test drivers felt the RC F was, on public roads, quite the car it could be. An example from lower down the foodchain is WRX vs 86. The WRX is quicker and easier to drive but not as much fun as the 86. In some ways the RC F reminds me of the SL400, very quick, very competent but not as much fun as say a Boxster. There is a growing recognition that sportscars should be about enjoyment not raw numbers, as typified by the Toyota 86 and Mazda MX-5 of late.

If pure figures and laptimes are the question, then the GT-R is usually the answer.

If you a looking for vanilla, by all means this is not the car for you. If you want the best road and track car in the class, lay out the bucks to secure the carbon TVD. It is a work of genius and not a wanna be German auto.

If by the carbon you mean the carbon option pack then having looked at what you get I cannot see the point of the extra cash. The kerb weight of the car is the same, so I assume the heavier wheels (rotating mass) cancel the weight saved elsewhere. Why do you think it worthwhile?

Michael Persiano
Michael Persiano
5 years ago
Reply to  Robert Pepper

Robert,

I appreciate the response. Back to the tranny, the RC F was not engineering for those who wish to leisurely coast through town, IMO. The direct-shift transmission is violent in shifts, particularly above 4,000 rpm–where life really begins with the RC F. You need to get the new beast on a track or open stretch of road and explore its designed performance in the 100-175 mph range. The shifts are quite quick–faster than the outgoing IS F.

As for the AMCI CERTIFIED testing, I must say that anyone believing AMCI would misrepresent their global brand for ONE test in quite mistaken. In this certified test, the RC F ate the M4 and the RS5 for lunch. Proficiency on a track or demanding back road is not base on HOW MUCH horsepower one has but on HOW WELL the car delivers the horsepower to the road. The TVD is a champion of doing that well, and that was clearly demonstrated in the video.

The RC F, RS5 and M4 are all great cars and clearly have been designed to compete. Lexus has created a most unusual car with the RC F–it is a superb toy for the track in the hands of a talented driver as well as an exceptional grand tourer. No car will ever be everything to everybody. The RC F is, IMO, THE car in the class that delivers the best of both worlds.

Jason Harper, a friend and the automotive writer for Bloomberg/Business Week drives the world’s best performance cars for a living. He too believes the RC F competes head-to-head with the other cars in this class.

This is an compelling video that is moving many to secure the RC F despite the smoke screens being thrown up by pro-German, anti-Japanese car critics. Give it a go.
I’ll be keeping the RC F for another 2+ years. My next ride, that I expect to be attacked–again–by pro-German, anti-Japanese car critics will be the LF-LC.
Cheers

Robert Pepper
5 years ago

Hi – I’ll see if I can get an RC F on track. As I said, my test and review did not include any track time, and while the engine may come alive above 4000rpm that’s not a rev range we can use in Australia with a 100km/h speed limit. I do not wish to extrapolate road experience to the track as I know that is dangerous ground. However, I doubt many RC F owners will track their cars, so the review covers their needs.

The RC F may or may not be faster than its rivals in one specific test. That’s actually not relevant unless you are in a pub bragging match. You want more speed, easy, slap on a set of R-specs. Or just get a GT-R then and forget all these RWDs.

What is relevant is the enjoyment each delivers to the driver, because that’s what a sportscar is about.

I’ve also now reviewed the RC350 on this site and prefer it to the F, at least on public roads. But over the RC350 I’d take the Toyota 86 for driving pleasure on a daily basis.

Ultimately though may people buy these cars because they like the look, and that’s fine. However, there are those – such as yourself – who look a bit deeper and that’s what I’ve tried to cover with my review. Just hope Lexus let me track one!

AUSDAVIDZ
AUSDAVIDZ
5 years ago

I DONT get it……?
This is one of the best built cars on the planet, and for that we should all build a shrine to it, yet it gets 77%
Yet a Thai built buzz box Honda jizz gets 95%
Makes no sense, I must indeed be dumb? 🙂

Robert Pepper
5 years ago
Reply to  AUSDAVIDZ

The rating is how well the car succeeds at its function. The Jazz is better at being a cheap, practical runabout than the RC F is as being a sportscar/grand tourer. The country of origin is irrelevant.

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper