2015 Lexus RC F's three biggest surprises
This past week Torque News and other automotive media outlets were treated to road and track testing of the new 2015 Lexus RC F premium performance coupe. This new V8 powered track animal is a complete departure from prior Lexus automobiles in terms of its capabilities, looks, and target market. During our testing, three things jumped out at us we were not expecting. The 467 horsepower V8 does not make the list. We expected that to be amazing, and it was.
Lexus RC F Seats
I have the best job in the world. At work, I get to test the world’s best cars on and off track. One trend I have found is that many cars that have excellent seating for the road, fail miserably at keeping the driver in place when pulling 1.3 Gs, as we did in the Lexus RC F. The driver either slides off the seat to the side because the leather is slippery, or the driver tips over into the door or console under hard cornering. Conversely, the best track seats usually have Alcantara inserts that make you sweat, are so well bolstered that the sides annoy you in normal driving, and tend to be too stiff overall. Not so the Lexus RC F seats.
The seating in the RC F is unique to just that one car. The seats are perfect on track. They even have slots for the installation of a racing harness. They come up high on the driver, almost above one’s shoulders, yet that is not a problem on a long drive. The side bolstering is good and keeps the driver in the seat without the need for bracing, yet on the road it does not feel as if you are being hugged. The perforated, heated and ventilated leather surfaces are not exactly grippy, but there is no tendency to slide around. In total, I did about 24 long laps in the RC F on track and I spent three hours in one driving to and from the track. These are the best seats in any car I have ever driven under $100K. The only ones I have ever been in that rivaled these are the active seats in Mercedes SL.
Lexus RC F Ride Comfort
For many years I wanted seat time in a Nissan GT-R. The GT-R is fittingly called Godzilla by fans, and it is one of the fastest cars on a road-course in the world. Period. It has the look of a GT that one might enjoy on back roads and touring. Actually, the look is all it has. When at long last I got my seat time I found that the car hammers the driver over any road imperfection. My back and guts hurt after driving it on New Your State mountain roads. The car is also so loud it gets monotonous fast. Not so the Lexus RC F.
The RC F by contrast handles bumps very nicely thank you very much. Better than a Toyota RAV4 Limited, or even a Lexus IS 350 sedan. Although it rolls on low profile, ultra-high performance tires, on big 19” trims, the suspension makes the car great for daily driving. This is a car you could go on a scenic road trip lasting a full day and finish feeling refreshed. On track, the suspension is also perfect. The car does not understeer. It is totally neutral, buttoned down, and can pull more lateral Gs than a Corvette of just a few years back. The Lexus RC F is a true GT.
Lexus RC F Transmission
When I got back from testing the RC F over two days, the first story I wrote was about the transmission. In case you read every word I post on Torque News, I will not re-publish that account. You can read the full description here. In short, the 8-Speed sport-direct-shift transmission with AI (artificial intelligence) is the perfect transmission for the track, and behaves itself well on daily drives or back-roads blasts. Yes, of course, you can paddle shift it, and when you do those shifts occur in under 0.2 second, up or down, with matching revs on the way down. The torque converter also fully locks in manual mode in every gear from 2 through 8.
In auto mode, there are five settings we can tell you about and one we cannot. They are Eco, Normal, Sport, and Sport+. The secret ones are called “Expert” and…Can’t say. The transmission matches your RPMs perfectly in all situations. It is a joy to use.
The Lexus RC F has many amazing attributes, but to us these were the three that most exceeded our very high expectations. If you drive the car, please tell us if you agree.
Main Story Image By John Goreham