2016 Lexus RC-F a hot rod in a Japanese body
Lexus supercoupe is both flashy and dashy
After going over my RC200t F-Sport notes, this full blown RC-F has all the same good things as that one, including the eye-piercing tangerine color. It also costs $80k, where the F-Sport only sets you back about $50,000, but we’ll get to that in a second.
The RC-F has the same love it or hate it look and great leather buckets as the F-Sport with lots of adjustment fore and aft, a cool LFA-inspired gauge cluster, a touchpad that takes some getting used to for infotainment and a bunch of buttoned-up and tightly gapped materials on the dash and armrest.
I love the super quick steering, and again I noticed it immediately after leaving our parking lot. This coupe can dart around with the best of them. Picking and shooting into expressway gaps is easy and nailing an apex, or as close as you can get to an apex on public roads, is nothing more than looking where you want to go, and letting the steering wheel follow your eyes. It has great steering wheel feel too...like, the actual perforated leather. It’s the right thickness and molds to your hand.
For some reason this car didn’t feel as stiff as the RC200t; I’m not sure why, but I took this as more luxury muscle cruiser or maybe even a grand tourer, where the 200t felt lighter, maybe quicker on its feet without that big V8 lump under the hood. But that’s this car’s piece de resistance, a growling, angry hunk of alloy with 32 valves and Yamaha-designed cylinder heads. We know what Yamaha can do with a car engine (see Taurus SHO), and this hammer doesn’t disappoint.
In sport plus, where I kept it most of the weekend, the RC-F has just the right amount of jump off the line. It’s not launch-control, snap-your-neck fast, but a little steeling of the guts is in order. It pulls smoothly and strongly up to its naturally-aspirated redline, and the exhaust opens up at about 4,000 rpm. I would have liked it at 3,000 or so, but that’s a small complaint. In sport plus, shifts are very quick, about as quick as you can get without a dual clutch transmission. If you shift at 5,000 or so you get a nice kick in small of your back. The only problem is that you can’t get through more than two or three gears without approaching arrest-me speeds, and, this being an orange Japanese rocket, the chances of that happening are high. The brakes are fine, medium stroke and weight. Overall the car doesn’t feel as heavy as a Hellcat, but it’s not a ballet dancer either. I did kick the traction control off at one point, but it seems to reengage when wheels start spinning. I didn’t try to turn it all the way off.
This RC-F sits in M4/C63/S5-RS5 territory, which might make the expensive-seeming price a little more palatable. The M4 starts at about $66,000, the C63 is $67k and this is $64,000 (starting MSRP). Obviously any of these cars can be optioned up to the price of our Lexus, so it’s still a matter of taste I suppose. The C63 comes with 451 hp at 3,924 pounds (8.7 pounds per horse), the M4 has 425 hp and 3,530 pounds (8.3 pph) and this Lexus has a power to weight, or weight-to-power of 8.5, so the M4 should feel the fastest. I’d still say it’s also the most track focused, though I haven’t driven the C63 in a while.
Again, this feels like a rock-solid, muscled grand tourer, so if that’s what you’re looking for, the RC-F won’t disappoint.
Autoweek | Jake Lingeman