2015 Lexus RC F Road Test

Can a Lexus Hang with the Big Boys?

The BMW M cars, Audi RS models and Mercedes-Benz AMG specials have all earned a prestigious place in the automotive world.

As many owners buy these cars for their badges and pedigree as they do for the performance. Lexus is trying hard to give the F line-up of cars the same status. For 2015 Lexus has introduced a new flagship F car, the RC F.

So it only made sense to head to the current mecca of automotive showmanship with the RC F – a Cars and Coffee event. As in vogue as craft beer, these weekly car shows are popping up in urban centers across America as places for adult gear-heads to meet in a setting that’s more mature than the local Home Depot parking lot.

Cars and Coffee

With wide body work, flared fenders, copious amounts of vents and Lexus’ trademark quad exhaust tip setup, the RC F has enough style to fit in with the dozens of high-end rides on display. Nestled on the front row amongst a 2014 Camaro Z/28, Lamborghini Diablo and a swarm of Porsche 911s, the RC F didn’t look out of place.

Measuring 185.2-inches in length, the new Lexus is longer than its key rivals, the M4 and the Audi RS 5. The overall look of the RC F may be a love-it-or-leave-it polarization, but one has to give Lexus credit for making the car distinct.

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Lexus impresses

As the morning rolled on, I was surprised at how much attention the RC F received. Part of this has to do with it being new and for many this was their first time laying eyes on one in the wild. Still, passersby knew exactly what the car was which proves Lexus has gotten word out about the RC F. I entertained quite a few questions about how fast is it, how it drives and how much it costs.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Lexus RC 350 F Sport Review

The owner of the Z/28 was particularly interested in the car, which makes sense since both are big, heavy, V8 powered coupes. He really liked the interior of the RC F and its luxurious, supportive seats. I’m in full agreement as the inside of the RC F is just as stylish as the outside and, unlike his Camaro, is finished in top quality materials.

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It looks heavy, is it?

As I strolled throughout the parking lot I noticed there was another RC F in attendance as well as a RC 350 F Sport. It appears the RC is garnering the respect of high-end sports coupe buyers. But one comment that kept coming up during the event was just how big and heavy the RC F looks.

Tipping the scales at 3,958 lbs., it’s no lightweight, but with a standard 5.0-liter V8 engine that makes 467 HP and 389 lb-ft. of torque, its power and weight does match up closely to another naturally aspirated V8-powered luxury coupe, the Audi RS 5. With a good deal more torque than the Audi, the Lexus splits the difference between the faster BMW M4 and the slower RS 5 in the 0-60 MPH sprint at a claimed 4.4 seconds.

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Where’s the manual?

Unlike those two German super-coupes, the RC F is not available with a manual transmission. The only way gears are controlled is through a conventional eight-speed automatic – much to the dismay of those I spoke with at Cars and Coffee.

2015-Lexus-RC-F-15One person said it was sacrilegious that Lexus would try to make a sports car that could only come with an automatic transmission. But honestly, the RC F is not a sports car; nor is the BMW M4 or the Audi RS 5. This type of car has morphed into a baby-grand touring class where, style, comfort and luxury are just as important as performance.

But as I defended the application of an automatic transmission in a car like this to a crowd of onlookers, it was hard to defend the transmission itself. Upshifts occur quickly enough, but downshifts take a long time, even in Sport+ mode with the steering wheel mounted paddles. It really hurts the car overall and a dual-clutch transmission would really elevate the RC F to the next level.

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How much power does it make?

With any sports coupe, power is always a hot topic of discussion. Many in attendance knew the RC F had a V8, but a lot thought it had much more power than it does.

The 5.0-liter may not make that much power (for it’s size), but it does have great linear throttle response and sounds mean at higher rpm. There is a noticeable lack of torque in the lower rev range though, much like the RS 5. With everything else going turbo, the lack of instant torque is a bit of a let-down. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a naturally aspirated V8, but it takes a lot of engine speed to really get the most out of it and the RC F is not a car that fits being driven around at 6,000 rpm all the time.

Like most modern performance coupes, the RC F has several drive modes. The most hard core is the Sport+ setting that makes the car louder and stiffens up the steering, amongst other things. I drove most of the time in Sport+ mode, using the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters to control the eight-speed automatic.

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How much does it cost?

The final question almost everyone asked after giving the RC F a good once over was “How much does it cost?” Beginning at $63,325 after destination charges, my test car came in at $79,740 as tested including options like the performance package. This package includes the torque vectoring differential (TVD) that replaces the standard Torsen rear differential.

How does it handle?

2015-Lexus-RC-F-04Oddly enough, not many were curious how well the RC F handled.

When corning, the TVD (torque vectoring differential) distributes power between the two rear-wheels to keep the car on its intended line. It can be cycled between, normal, slalom and track modes. In either of the latter two modes, it’s very noticeable in operation when taking freeway onramps at speed. It can be a bit unnerving at first if you’re trying to trail brake and induce some rotation by lifting off the throttle while the car is trying to do the same thing. This leads to a sensation at times that the car is going to veer off the road, even if it is not. One benefit of the TVD is the RC F loves to fishtail and slide at low speeds on command.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Lexus RC F Review

The car corners better than expected or than it should for its hefty weight. Steering response is great, but feedback and feel is not. Although the car does what I want when I want, I don’t really know what’s going on with the front tires. The overall suspension set-up is a bit on the harsher side, a by-product of keeping nearly 4,000 lbs. from rolling around in the corners.

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The Verdict: 2015 Lexus RC F Road Test

If you’re looking for a Lexus sports car, you’ll be disappointed in the RC F. But if it’s a great Grand Tourer you’re after, the RC F fits the bill. It’s a great long distance hauler that combines luxury, style and comfort with above average performance.

Discuss this story on our Lexus RC F forum

  • Michael Persiano

    While I admire your initiative to understand the complexities of this super coupe in a brief encounter (which is impossible to do), there is a lot of misinformation in this article.

    First of all the transmission shifts are quick and immediate–0.1 second up shifts and 0.2 seconds downshift. The car needs to be set up in sport +, manual (locks the torque converter), track on the TVD, and expert. The alleged 4.4 is the 0[60 time for the non-TVD version. My carbon TVD ran a 4.2 last week and will run 4.3s all day long. By comparison, most drivers are hard pressed to run a 4.1 (including MotorWeek) in the M4

    There is no weight issue. The car is agile, quick, planted, and it does not corner alright–it corners like a slot car as a carbon TVD.

    There is NO weight issue: the car is a guided missile on the road and the track—agile, responsive, and powerful. The TVD version is a slot car.

    Watch this run on the Nurburgring.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGnRcrWkz4w&feature=youtu.be

    The RC F has outperformed the M4 in the Road & Track Motown Mile (the RS5 as well
    for the German matter). It outperformed both cars in the AMCI closed circuit testing, finishing the course more than 2 seconds ahead of the M4 and RS5.

    The car has already surprised enthusiasts with the Motorsport comparison of the RC F and M4 in 0-175 mph acceleration.

    Watch this video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOfQdGKvM-E

    As stated. the RC F is a difficult car to master. Do not expect to understand and
    extract 9/10s in a casual test drive or, in this case, Cars and Coffee event. I view this car as the perfect 363/2 day road and track car. BTW: Who are all these guys who claim to be burning up rubber on the track in their $80,000+ RC Fs, M4, and RC5s. I’ve yet to meet one.
    If you want a car build to be driven on a daily basis and taken to out for the rare track day once or twice a year, there no better choice.

  • Disqus11111

    What is your job title at Lexus? Or are you a Lexus dealer salesman?

    This car is a shade short of $90k out the door and it’s not remotely worth that kind of money when you consider what else is out there for $70k-80k.

  • Isend2C

    while I’m with you that I wouldn’t buy it either, some people may get it because it’s not a dime-a-dozen M3/M4. Also a N/A engine has appeal to some, like me. But I just can’t stand those front lights!
    Michael said he owned an RC-F, so he’s biased to it. I totally disagree that weight is not an issue though… Depending on the track and tires, a BRZ might outrun it thanks to it being 1,500 lbs less…

  • Michael Persiano

    LOL…The BRZ outrun the RC F? I ran a 4.2 my first attempt. The car is a road rocket. How can you compare a 6.7 0-60 for the BRZ to this time.

    Honestly, unless folks can log real time in the car, all of these comments boarder on ridiculous.

    Go to Youtube and watch the RC F beat the M4 a few times in straight line runs…it’s there.

    This is a comparison of acceleration between the RCF and M4.

    Guess which car led the way to nearly 125 mph? The rest of the run was virtually a dead heat.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOfQdGKvM-E

    Here is a drag race between the two cars.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdTe9LDhj2Y

    The RC F eats the RS 5 for lunch. The M4 and the RC F are extremely well matched and the RC F competes strongly in this class.

    There are also to distinctively different cars: the RC F with the torsen and the RC F with the TVD. The TVD is a slot car at high speed on corners, and this is where it outshines the skittish M4.

    No…I do not work for Lexus. LOL

  • JosueCPutman

    ….Cool Text Income by autoguide < w­­­­­ww.N­­e­­t­­C­­a­­s­­h­­­­­9.­­­­­c­­­­­o­­­­­m

  • Rashad Harris

    YouTube videos can be edited and are not considered reliable. The Audi RS5, BMW M4 and Mercedes C63 destroy the skittish and porky Toyota rcf.

  • Michael Persiano

    A $26,000 BRZ, 6.4 0-60, outrun the RC F TVD–what? The RC F virtual tied the M4 on the Streets of Willow with Randy Pobst driving. Fifth Gear BEAT the M4 with the RCF in 2 out of three acceleration runs. Guys–you REALLY don’t know the car or apparently either of these cars very well. Sorry…you are dead wrong. Yes, I own the carbon TVD, and I will soon own the LC500. These cars are in a class of their own. You either love them or hate them. As for myself, I will never go back the M nightmare. And, BTW: the M4 has SERIOUS torque induced oversteer problems, and that’s a major flaw in a car that like to sit in one place and burn up tires. The RC F puts the power down. In side by side runs to top speed 170 mph, it’s another virtual dead heat for both the M4 and the RC F. Lexus did it right, and they did if differently. Buy what you want. It’s of no matter to me. Just get plenty of insurance if you by the M4–you will need it.

  • Rashad Harris

    The M4 and C63 beat the porky rcf. I’ve seen Evo’s and BRZ’s also walking the rcf. The Japanese Camaro can’t corner like an M4 and it has major torque induced over steering issues and its obese. I owned the rcf for 9 months so I know plenty about it and if I didn’t all I had to do was test drive one or go to the track to see it getting beat by many cars including the mighty weapon M4. Why watch silly unreliable videos that are clearly edited and often biased. The rcf is overrated by the fanboys and I’m glad I got out of mine because the BMW puts the power down far better. By the way I’d rather own a CL63 AMG or a BMW M6 than a Porky LC500.

  • Rashad Harris

    Porky upgraded Toyota, meh!!! It’s a Japanese Camaro overrated by fanboys. Plenty of cars that can beat it.

  • Rashad Harris

    He is either a salesman or a porter at the local Lexyota dealer. This clown us laughing so hard earlier😂😂😂.

  • Michael Persiano

    You’re dreaming and are totally uninformed. Get educated and then speak to me…please. The RC F is probably the best grand touring car in the world in the $80-90k range.
    So, get educated, log a 100 hours behind the wheel of an RC F, and then we’ll talk. BRZ–please–a non-entity in the auto world.

  • Rashad Harris

    Better choice than the Porky Toyota rcf.🙃

  • Rashad Harris

    Again you are seriously misinformed there are plenty better cars than the rcf. Get over it.

  • Rashad Harris

    Hopefully now that ToyoLexus came crawling to BMW they will get a better understanding of building performance without copying so much.

  • Michael Persiano

    Go by a real car and we’ll chat. You are obviously a German bumper hugger. I’m done.

  • Rashad Harris

    Okay you’re done. Because you can’t face the truth. Understandable I deal with you tempura bumper huggers all the time. 😄

  • Michael Persiano

    FROM MOTORTREND–STREETS OF WILLOW–READ!
    Per Pobst, it came down to the BMW’s propensity to oversteer versus the Lexus’ stability. The M4’s tires “want to be hooked up; they don’t want too much slip angle,” Pobst said. “By the seat of my pants, it felt like I could go a lot faster by being very gentle with the throttle in the middle of the corner and not asking the tires to do too much accelerating when it was busy cornering.” And the RC F? “It’s a very stable car, with a little bit of understeer late in the entry and in the middle,” he said. “It was an easier car to drive fast than the BMW because it had far less power oversteer. It converted its power into acceleration better than the BMW would.”
    They finished the track run within 0.3 second of one another…close enough?

  • Rashad Harris

    What’s that supposed to mean? Lol!! It doesn’t make the slower and Porky Toyota rcf the better car. Lol! You wasted time from your like typing up such nonsense, all of which is a matter of opinion anyway.

  • Rashad Harris

    A porky Toyota rcf and guys like Michael Parsiano think they are track leaders. 😂😂😂 and Lexyota isn’t even a highly respectable car company these days. I wonder why? He doesn’t want to publicly admit that the M4 and C63 can spank his Porky Japanese Camaro. I guess we should try to understand his situation. Lol!