Introduced in 2015, the Lexus RC F is the third vehicle in the Toyota luxury brand’s performance-oriented lineup. Like its sedan, SUV and speed-geared siblings, it has plenty to offer.
The Lexus RC F has aggressive styling, 19-inch wheels, quad exhaust tips and a carbon-fiber roof panel. The engine is a naturally aspirated 472-horsepower 5.0-liter V8. It has Brembo brakes, improved and more aggressive suspension tuning and is rear-wheel drive.
My test vehicle, which had a base price of $64,900, also had more than $15,000 in options and taxes, including Navigation ($2,725) and Premium ($5,350) packages. While expensive, the optional choices are comprehensive and worthy.
Most notably, there’s a superior Mark Levinson sound system and a host of comfort and luxury items — heated and ventilated front seats to carbon-fiber interior trim.
Lexus RC F faces tough competition
The total price tally just surpasses $80,000, which warrants a financial pause.
Competitors include the BMW 4 Series and the Mercedes-Benz C Class. The BMW has the brand’s signature superior handling; the Mercedes-Benz has more trims available, including a convertible and four-door offering.
Driving the Lexus RC F is a treat. It accelerates with authority, reaching the standard 0-60 mph plateau in 4.3 seconds. It’s a quiet, smooth ride, a characteristic more prevalent in cruising sedans. Competitors can more than match the Lexus’ performance, although with more noise.
Gas mileage averages are 16 miles per gallon in city driving, 24 mph during freeway treks. Eight airbags secure occupants
Steering is precise and maneuvering through traffic, around corners or on and off freeway ramps defines driving authority. The driver and car mesh. The red seats and contrasting black interior further add to the car’s appeal.
Further standard equipment is impressive: LED headlights, keyless ignition and entry, automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, auto-dimming mirror, a rearview camera, a 10-way power driver seat and eight-way power passenger seat. Driver memory settings, heated front seats and simulated leather upholstery are also in the mix.
The standard technology list is equally impressive: Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 7-inch display, a configurable multi-instrument display and voice commands. And there’s the 17-speaker sound system with satellite radio, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB interface.
Likewise standard: the Lexus Enform Remote and Lexus Enform Service Connect. The technology allows, via smartphone, to remotely lock or unlock doors, start and stop the car and turn the climate control on or off. The latter feature can also find the vehicle, obtain status reports and receive maintenance alerts via email and push notifications.
The Lexus shouldn’t be mistaken for a family car. With the driver’s seat adjusted for anyone 5-foot-9 or taller, there’s little legroom. The back seats are nearly an afterthought, small even for children. There isn’t much cargo space, including a tiny trunk.
Lexus is hard to fault in most areas, including dependability, styling and craftsmanship. The 2020 RC F does a lot right. But its competitors do just as well and in some instances better.
Article Last Updated: December 30, 2020.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.