£60,495 - £68,495 Price range
The well-made cockpit follows closely the company’s interior design language meaning very expensive-looking materials, but also lots of buttons. Rear seat space is tight, but that is expected from a low-slung coupe and the boot is smaller than in rivals.
All critics agree that in terms of driving, the RC F does little to challenge the BMW or the Jaguar. Because, it’s rear-wheel-drive its a bit more engaging than the four-wheel-drive Audi. It’s to bad to drive by any means and the ride quality is decent, but the rivals are just that good.
Where the RC F scores points is with it’s old school V8 engine. It’s a real charmer and in time where all of the rivals resort to forced induction, the peaky and responsive nature of the naturally aspirated engine is a breath of fresh air.
At a glance the RC F costs more than rivals, but as soon as you start going trough the list of standard equipment you see where all the money has gone – reversing camera, satellite navigation, cruise control, climate control, a seven-inch screen for the infotainment system, electric front seats and a screen in front of the driver that displays lap times and a g-force meter.
Fastest model: 500 Carbon petrol
Most popular: 500 Standard petrol
Lexus is famed for their interior quality and the RC F is no exception. If the feeling of quality and an overall premium atmosphere is high on your priority list, then the RC F leads the field. Each one of the many buttons feels specially engineered to feel like the best button you’ve ever pressed.
However, there are a few criticism level at the cabin. Firstly it’s a bit overpopulated by switches, displays and buttons, but after a few months, when you’ve learned all of them you’ll discover they all do important things and make certain processes easier. Secondly the mouse pad style infotainment system controller may sound technologically advanced, but the rotary dials in Audi and BMW are much easier and faster to use. The seven-inch screen also looks a bit small in a premium coupe with luxurious as well as sporty aspirations.
Lexus RC F passenger space
The low roofline and small rear windows make for a very cramped and claustrophobic atmosphere for adults on the rear seats. For kids and very short journeys they are ok, though. In the front there are large, supportive and comfortable seats that are a great companion on long distance cruising – an M4 has harder seats so it’s less suited for relaxed driving.
Lexus RC F boot space
The RC F has decently sized door-bins, a large air-conditioned glovebox, but a small boot. Its 366-litre boot is considerably smaller than the Audi’s 455 litres or BMW’s 445 litres.
Lexus has marketed the RC F as a machine which can compete with the likes of the M4 on a race track. This, on reflection, was a mistake, because many testers picked up on this point and immediately slated it for not delivering on the thrills that were promised.
It uses a lot of the IS saloon’s architecture – the base chassis is largely the same, but in this guise it weighs a substantial 1765kg – 228kg more than the BMW M4. This manifests itself as a confidence-sapping vagueness when trying to extract the best from it. Not even the optional torque vectoring differential – which increases cornering speeds by actively moving power to the wheel with the most grip – can stop it from feeling “clumsy near the limit” with “shuddering brakes and nowhere near enough precision”.
Despite this, comments are far more positive away from the track. Driven at a more gentle pace, reviewers compliment the RC F for its “really nicely weighted and fluid” steering, and good grip. Even the ride is more than capable of smothering nasty bumps.
Essentially, then, we recommend you take what Lexus promised with a pinch of salt: this is by no means a car for the track, but it is an accomplished GT car.
The RC F goes against the philosophy of most other cars in this class, by ignoring the trend towards smaller turbocharged units in favour of a naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8. Producing 471hp, Lexus claims it will make the 0-60 dash in 4.5 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 168mph.
Going down the old-school route of a large-capacity atmospheric V8 has its benefits. For starters, it sounds fantastic, with a “Nascar-like” soundtrack, reminding one tester of what’s wrong with the M4’s new engine. However, the non-turbo unit has a shortage of torque compared to its rivals, which is compounded by the heavy weight of the RC F. Even when it is worked much harder than the M4, it never feels as quick. This leaves more than one reviewer feeling that the driving experience is a little underwhelming.
The RC F is equipped with an eight-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. It isn’t quite as smooth as some manufacturers’ dual clutch systems, but it’s nice enough.
The high asking price is compensated for by the fact that the RC F is very well-equipped with all the kit that is optional on rivals and if you spec them up to the level of the Lexus they would cost similar money or even more.
Lexus RC F Carbon
For a considerable premium, it is possible to buy the RC F Carbon. In addition to a nice Mark Levinson hi-fi and fancy alloy wheels, you’ll also get a carbon fibre bonnet and roof. They save 15kg from the overall weight but the bare carbon might not be to everybody’s taste styling-wise.
When viewed as a direct rival to BMW’s M4, it is outclassed in most areas. The handling can’t compete with its German rival, and it doesn’t feel as fast, either.
However, treated like a GT car, there is still much to recommend it. If you’re more interested in qualities like a nice interior, a glorious V8 noise, and getting your hands on a genuinely rare car, then the Lexus RC F is still well worth considering.