2020 Lexus RC F Performance Review

Amy Plemons | September 12, 2019
2020 Lexus RC F Performance Review

If you want to be incognito, the 2020 Lexus RC F is definitely not the vehicle to do it in. With its Flare Yellow hue - not to mention the attention-grabbing exhaust sound -- people will definitely see and hear you coming. This sporty two-door coupe with its carbon fiber package had more than a few looks thrown its way during my time with it over the course of a week. Thankfully, I managed to get away ticket free, because this is one spirited rocket to ride.

New for 2020

Lexus says the refreshed 2020 RC F comes with improved performance and aerodynamics along with new tires and a stiffer retuned suspension. The 2020 model gets some exterior tweaks and also sheds some weight -- 55 pounds on the standard model. Electronic launch control is also now standard across the lineup.

Powertrain

The rear-wheel drive RC F’s 5.0-liter V-8 is one of only a few naturally aspirated engines left in the segment. It’s also the most powerful Lexus V-8 to date adding 5 more horsepower and 6 more lb-ft of torque this year for a total of 472 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque. Lexus says a tweaked 8-speed automatic helps acceleration -- giving the standard RC F a 0-to-60-mph time of 4.2 seconds. (The Track Edition gets you there under four.) The engine features Smart Stop Technology.

Acceleration is fantastic, the F-Adaptable Variable suspension and limited-slip differential handle the road superbly and it’s a smooth enjoyable ride in the fast lane. I’ll tell you -- this thing flies when you get it into Sport+ mode. The low center of gravity feels terrific and you get a feeling of really being planted on the road. Handling and steering feels good but isn’t as tight as in other even more stiffly sprung sports cars. To me the RC F is more about sheer, glorious, power with a Lexus’ hallmark smooth ride. It’s top track speed is 168 mph.

Carbon Fiber

Lexus tweaked the front end, but we have to start with my model’s $11,600 Performance Package that includes a carbon fiber front spoiler, rocker panel splitters, diffusers, and speed activated wing. And wow is that carbon fiber roof something to behold! It makes for one great looking sports coupe. It also helps shed weight and lower the center of gravity.

My test model shares newly optional triple beam LED headlights with the LC coupe -- they flank a reshaped lower grille. Functional aerodynamic ducts set low in the front bumper channel additional air to the front brakes, transmission oil cooler and engine oil cooler. In the rear you get quad exhaust, new taillights and a reshaped bumper.

Optional 19-inch hand-polished 20-spoke alloy wheels hug new Michelin Pilot Sport 42 tires designed specifically for the RC F. Their unique profile shape, tread pattern and rubber compound maximize grip. Brembos are standard with optional orange calipers.

Interior

The RC F sports a race-inspired cockpit, from the position of the front sport bucket seats to the placement of the steering wheel and the racing pedals at your feet. Soft touch leather surfaces abound from the dash to the door panels. Carbon fiber accents carry through to the cabin as well. The high-back bolstered sport Nulux leather-trimmed seats with F embossed headrest logos were particularly impressive. The 10-way power adjustable seats were the perfect combo of support and comfort.

A power tilt-and-telescopic leather heated steering wheels with paddle shifters features audio and menu controls and voice recognition works great. On the LFA-inspired tachometer the driver’s digital display is on the left providing g-force meter and lap times among other things.

Lexus infotainment screens are among my favorite in the industry and this 10.3-inch screen came with the same high quality graphics but I found it slightly more reflective than the ones in the RX. You control it via Lexus’ Remote Touch Pad Interface system. You get Apple Carplay but no Android Auto (the new 2020 Lexus RX is the first Lexus vehicle to get the latter.). Dual zone A/C with a sliding controller is no surprise.

On the console you find a great leather-wrapped gear shifter, your drive mode select and the newly standard launch control button for quick acceleration off the line.

As you’d expect, the RC F’s back seat isn’t big, but it’s easy to access using a lever on the front seat. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the decent amount of trunk space for my groceries.

Premium Package

My test model’s Premium PKG ($5,350) comes with heated and cooled front seats, a power tilt-and-telescopic heated steering wheel, auto dimming mirror, and rear seat center console with cupholders. The RC F comes standard with Lexus Safety System+. The Premium package adds Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Options

Other Options on my test model include 19-inch spoke alloy wheels ($1,500), those Triple Beam Led Headlights ($1,160), the 17 -speaker Mark Levinson sound system with navigation ($2,725), the orange brake calipers ($300), park assist ($500), and that catch-me-if you-can Yellow Flare paint job is a premium add-on ($500).

Pricing

The Lexus RC F starts from $64,750. But add all the options, especially that $11,600 carbon fiber greatness, and my test models hits the $89,305 mark.

Verdict

The 2020 Lexus RC F is a tech’d out, well-appointed sports car that makes a great daily driver. The price point seems on the high side due to the carbon fiber package but if you can live without that you can get a less expensive version that’s just a powerful and fun to drive. 

2020 Lexus RC F

  • What I liked most: The power, fantastic high-back bolstered sport seats and sharp-looking carbon fiber package.
  • What I would change: Loose the antiquated CD player and use the space differently, perhaps put a wireless charging slot there.
  • MSRP: Base price MSRP $64,750; As tested: $89,305 with transportation.
  • Fuel Economy: 16 city/24 highway/ 19 combined with filler on the driver’s side.
  • Fuel Tank: 17.4 gallons.
  • Dimensions: 185.4 long/ 72.6” wide/ 54.7” high.
  • Weight: 3,902 pounds.
  • Trailer Towing: N/A
  • Miles When Tested: 775 miles.
  • Official Color: Flare Yellow.
  • Final Assembly Point: Tahara, Aichi, Japan.
  • 2020 Lexus RC F in a few words: A furiously fun to drive, fast, and sure-footed sports car that looks and sounds fantastic.
  • Warranty: 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, with roadside assistance, and 72-months/70,000 miles of power train coverage.
  • Manufacturer’s website: Lexus
Tags: 2020 Lexus RC F, Lexus, RC F, Sports Coupe, Vehicle Reviews, V8, Carbon Fiber
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