- Exterior styling makes it stand out
- Lexus are coming out top with their model reliability
- Very comfortable sports seats
- Interior looks like it will date quickly
- Avoid the Solar Flare paint colour if you’re not an extrovert
When Lexus launched their LFA supercar back in 2010 I bet even the Japanese manufacturer didn’t realise how popular it would be: even a certain Jeremy Clarkson raved about it, and still does. But what next when you cease production of that model and you’re most associated with bringing hybrid technology onto the roads? Well Lexus decided to launch a 2+2 sports coupe this year, the RC F. Striking in looks with the performance to match, what is it like to drive?
On The Road
Performance comes from a throaty 5.0-litre V8 which produces 477hp with 530 Nm of torque, acceleration is as fierce as you'd expect when you floor it as it gets from 0-62mph in just 4.5 seconds. Lexus’s most powerful V8 to date sees an electronically limited top speed of 168mph through a smooth, 8-speed Sport Direct Shift sequential transmission. There is a manual mode to use steering wheel mounted shift paddles if you really want to be in full control, plus it avoids the unwanted gear changes the automatic makes, and on downshifting your ears are treated to some excellent throttle blipping.
There is a Drive Mode Select rotary dial which enables the car to be driven in three different ways; Eco, Normal and Sport/Sport +. For everyday driving and to conserve fuel then Eco mode is the way forward, the instrument display will also turn blue, while flick it to Sport and this will turn to red with increased responsiveness from the throttle and the steering.
To add visual eye candy a touch of a button will release the retractable rear spoiler.
If you’re looking for ride comfort then sadly the RC F disappoints, it is really firm and unforgiving on less than perfect road surfaces. It has quite a short wheelbase which aids cornering ability and the RC F can be enjoyed safely with the Sports Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system, so no need to feel less than confident chucking it into a tight bend as the rear-wheel drive car grips the road well.
The handling is responsive but overall it lacks that extra special something you want from a sporty car, excitement and preciseness is what we were looking for and it just doesn’t seem to be there with the RC F which is a shame.
It may be sporty but expect a cabin relatively free of road and wind noise, the only sound you will hear is from the V8 with Lexus developing a deep, resonant tone up to 3,000 rpm using advanced sound engineering technology.
Even the windscreen wipers have been fabricated to reduce noise by coating the surface of them in a graphite coating. Lexus seem to have thought of everything to make the drive stress free.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
The heated and ventilated high-back sport seats welcome the driver, they can be adjusted 10 different ways and Lexus have used an integrated foaming technique which really supports your back, a five hour stint behind the wheel didn’t have us bent over double with back pain as we got home.
An F-Sport leather steering wheel incorporates the mounted shift paddles and controls while the driver focussed instrument panel features a large tachometer, which changes colour depending what Drive Mode has been selected, a G-Force meter, a stopwatch and oil and water temperature gauges.
A 7-inch multimedia screen displays premium navigation, media, car and phone settings and these can be operated by the remote touch pad. There are two USB and one AUX sockets and Bluetooth for smartphone connectivity.
Interior equipment on the RC F includes cruise control, dual zone climate control, 19-inch forged alloy wheels, DAB radio and LED ambient lighting.
Although Lexus get it right in many ways, interiors always seem to have been designed to date quickly and the RC F is no different; the metallic weave inlays let it down, as does the general design of the centre console which is laden with buttons that will age terribly badly. Compared to the M4, it is streets behind...
Space & Practicality
There is plenty of room for driver and passenger, rear passengers will struggle if they’re very tall as there isn’t much headroom but we did manage to put a childseat in the back without any major issues, so thumbs up to the RC F for being practical.
Only two passengers can sit in the rear as there is a fixed centre console that houses two cup holders while the front armrest has them upfront too.
Boot space isn’t too large at 366-litres, the BMW M4 has nearly 80-litres more, but it will take a couple of suitcases and there is a luggage hatch should you need to carry longer items such as skis or those vital plumbing supplies.
The RC F costs from £59,995, the BMW M4 is a couple of thousand cheaper but it will appeal to buyers wanting a car that isn’t one of the usual sporty offerings from the German brands.
It comes with a decent list of standard equipment so options are limited to paint colour which adds £625 and a torque-vectoring differential system which is £3,500.
A Carbon pack makes it 9.5 kilos lighter than the standard version and this material is used on the roof, bonnet and active rear wing, and as these parts don’t match the colour of the car it doesn’t look that great and will add another £8,000 to the price...for less than a 10 kg saving.
Running costs will be quite high as it emits 252g/km of CO2 so will fall into VED band L. It will be £485 per year in road tax and with a combined 26.2 mpg figure there may be a fair few visits to the petrol pump if you can't help yourself using the right pedal.
Quality & Reliability
Lexus are top of the class when it comes to quality, everything is premium across all their models and the V8 engine in the RC F is hand built and tuned and the cylinder head and other moving parts are engineered by Yamaha Motorsport. Produced at their Tahara plant in Japan any imperfections are detected by their highly skilled craftsman so every RC F model rolling off the production line will look immaculate.
Not sure if Luca was keen on the colour of the Lexus RC F :) pic.twitter.com/nb22eOcgik
— Olivia Gauch (@OliviaGauch) November 13, 2015
Lexus have done really well in the reliability stakes, they took top spot as the best brand in the JD Power Survey last year and their CT model came 7th in the overall models, so we doubt there will be any issues with the RC F.
Safety & Security
Lexus have loaded up the RC F with plenty of driving assistance systems including Lane Change Assist, an Anti-Locking Brake System, Brake Assist, Traction Control and you keep a check on your tyres with a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System.
Security comes courtesy of an anti-theft alarm with incline sensor and glass break sensor and an engine immobiliser.
There are eight airbags for driver and passenger, ISOFIX in the rear for child seats and never have another parking prang with an onscreen guide on the display screen to assist parking.