Saturday 22 October 2016
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Test Drive: 2015 Lexus RC F Review

Test Drive: 2015 Lexus RC F Review

I was a little confused when I first saw the 2015 Lexus RC F coupe.  It was so un-Lexus like outside and inside, it just seemed weird.  When I got behind the wheel and started to experience the car, it all came clear… Lexus is stepping out of the box, and clearly trying to get younger buyers into showrooms.  I suspect it is going to work.

The luxury performance segment is red-hot right now and Lexus now has a player.  The RC coupe has been around for a while, and it is nice, but nothing super special.  Other than the very expensive LS luxury flagship Lexus, the RC is the least volume Lexus sold in the U.S.  While the RC F is an exceptional car, I don’t expect it to be much more than a halo car, but it is a darned good one!

Let’s start under the hood where you will find a 5.0-liter V8 that is putting out a whopping 467-horses while hooked to an 8-speed automatic.  This combination puts you at 60 miles per hour in just little over 4 seconds, and it does it with ease and determination.

When you walk up to the RC F, you notice very chiseled lines, a functional hood scoop, and functional air vents in the fenders.  The hood scoop helps with performance, and the heat-dissipating fenders relieve heat coming off the massive 15” Brembo brakes that do an exceptional job stopping this almost 4000 pound sports coupe. You also cannot help but notice the electronically controlled rear spoiler, and an exceptional set of 19-inch, 20-spoke wheels.  From behind, chrome quad exhaust pipes look terrific.

Open the door to enter the cockpit, and you’ll first notice a sporty but luxurious interior with heated and cooled, very contoured front seats.  You can see Lexus paid tremendous attention to detail in every aspect of the interior, including the front seat headrests.

Behind the wheel, the gauge cluster looks daunting at first, but once you get the hang of configuring it, you quickly grow to love it.  A nice-sized center stack with armrest gives you a nice spot for your right arm and hand, and two full-sized cup holders make it easy to get to your drinks and operate the round drive mode selector.  This is where this car gets interesting.

You have choices in what you want the RC F to be.  In normal mode, you have a more traditional Lexus ride and drive.  Switch it to Eco if you want to maximize your fuel economy, and then go to Sport mode and you will feel the RC F begin to change personalities and turn into a completely different car.  The next step is Sport Plus, which is where I left it 90% of the time.  When you go into this mode, the gauges change to highlight your RPMs, you feel an immediate change in the transmission, and the steering tightens up.  For me, I get the same sensation I get when I put my Corvette into Track mode…a very tight car that makes you feel in complete control.

Also interesting, when in Sport Plus, hit the traction control button and the gauge will tell you that you are now in Expert mode which Lexus warns you is not a good idea.  Unless you drive a lot of fast, rear-wheel drive cars, I would agree, you could lose the car without the traction control engaged.  Quite by accident I also learned that if you hold the traction control button down for three seconds, it goes into a mode they didn’t even give a name too.  It is for Lexus engineers and technicians to use, and as the saying goes, “don’t try this at home.”

My advice is to stick to Sport Plus mode, partially due to the fantastic sound you hear upon acceleration.  This sound is electronically enhanced through the car speakers, but guess what?  As cheesy as it seems to do this, you won’t care, it’s that good.  Also enjoyable is the Torque Vectoring system that shifts power to different wheels, up to 70% in fact.  Take a hard left curve, and the RCF shifts power to the right side for better control.  This car, in Sport Plus mode makes you look like a better driver than you actually are.

As you would expect from a Lexus, the RC F comes nicely equipped with standard features like paddle shifters, the Brembo brakes, LED headlights and daytime running lights, push button start, power seats, backup camera, power tilting F-spec steering wheels with controls, and more.

My Ultra Sonic Blue Mica review vehicle has the great wheels mentioned earlier for $1000, money well spent.  In other options, $4400 gets you the Premium Package which is heated and cooled seats, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors, Carbon Fiber interior trim and rain-sensing wipers.  $2800 will get you navigation system, a 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system, and Lexus Enform, a suite of apps too give you real-time weather, traffic, fuel prices, and any app you have on your cell phone.  All that is accessible from a touchpad in the console, which I didn’t really care for.

In other options, $800 gets you the upgraded leather seating, and $1100 will get you a power moon roof.

The price of the RC F surprised me initially, but once I figured out you are actually getting two different cars, I was OK with it, especially when you look at pricing on some of the competition that doesn’t stack up to this car.

In summary, I never thought I would be reviewing a true Lexus sports car, but that is what this is when you tailor the Drive Mode to your mood.  My behind the wheel time got cut short by a pothole and a lack of a spare tire, but the six days I had the car, it was a pure joy.

What I liked most: Looks, performance, and handling.   

What I would change: Give me a spare tire and wheel and jack!

MSRP: Base price $62,400.  As equipped $74,560.

Fuel Economy: 16 City/25 highway/19 combined, actually doing better.

Odometer reading when tested: 2200 miles.

Weight:  3958 Pounds.

Length-Width-Height: 185.2” long/72.6” wide/54.7” High.

Fuel Tank Capacity: 17.4 gallons

Towing Capacity: N/A

2015 Lexus RC F in a few words:  A real beast, but also a luxury Lexus inside.

Warranty:  4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 6-year/70,000 mile powertrain coverage with 5 years of roadside assistance.

Car Pro Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars.

Dealers:  We have two great Lexus dealers in Dallas-Fort Worth.  Also, dealers in Houston, Sacramento, Lubbock, and Portland.

Manufacturers website:  Lexus

Jerry Reynolds, The Car Pro

Photo Credit: Lexus