2015 Lexus RC F is the best V8-powered premium GT in the world at $70,160
I have just finished two days of learning about and testing the new RC line of rear-drive performance coupes from Lexus and the upshot is that these cars are going to change the reputation of Lexus. The RC 350 is an excellent everyday driver with more power than you will need on public roads. Its sibling, the mighty RC F, is now the company’s most powerful and fastest production vehicle. Not surprisingly, the RC F is priced just a little less than an equivalent BMW M4 and is no less comfortable on public roads than the RC 350.
READ MORE: 2015 Lexus RC F’s most amazing feature is the transmission
Lexus RC F Makes You Faster On Track
Are you a professional road-course racing driver, or a weekend racer with 20 years of experience? Me either. I know a few, and they all mainly have Porsches, Miatas or affordable hot-hatches like VW Golfs for the track. However, there does exist a group that will own a grand touring car (GT) and take it to the track occasionally. This is not for those on a strict budget. Remember, your auto insurance (and likely your life insurance) does not cover your track use of that car, so wreck it, and you are out of luck – and money. For those who may take the RC F to the track occasionally, the car has been built to make that day very special.
Lexus RC F Transmission
The Sport Direct Shift transmission with AI (artificial intelligence) and G-sensor inputs, the 467 horsepower V8 engine, and either the Torsen, or torque vectoring differential work with the driver to make the car fast, predictable, and still a challenge. Few drivers without professional-level skills can jump into this car and get every bit of speed out of it on a racetrack. However, all drivers with some track-day training (say a 2-day Skip Barber class) will be able to jump in and enjoy the car immediately. Lexus has really worked wonders making this a very usable track car. I have driven the Corvette Stingray, Audi RS 5, and even supercars like the Mercedes SLS AMG on this same track and this Lexus felt faster and much more enjoyable to me. Again, that is partly due to my experience level. I'm not a pro driver, but I do spend a couple days a year on racetracks.
Like all cars of its type an price point, the RC F has selectable drive modes. In Sport+, or in Sport+ Track in the case of the torque vectoring version, the vehicle will allow for neutral handling (no oversteer), some rear-end drifting, and a very predictable limit that the driver can explore over time. As Justin Bell, a professional driver that Lexus enlisted to demonstrate the Lexus RC F put it, “You might just find that the limiting factor is you.”
Lexus RC F on Back Roads, and In Traffic
I spent four hours enjoying the RC F on highways, back roads, and in city traffic. Over bumps, the RC F is more comfortable than an Audi sedan I just spent a week testing. The seats are perfect for both track (even come ready for racing harness installation) and shockingly, when sitting for two hours in New York City commuter traffic. How Lexus did this is a mystery to me, but they meant to do it and it worked.
The RC F has its own, better, instrumentation separate from the RC 350 and driving both the RC 350 and RC F back-to back, I am pretty sure the Nav system is also different (and better). The RC F has such things as a G-meter that records your best lateral, braking, and acceleration G loads, track time recorders and more. Heated and ventilated seats are also offered, of course. Having driven the Nissan GT-R (which costs about 50% more than this Lexus) on-road I can honestly say that the car is horrible. Yes, on-track it is amazing, but every pot-hole hurts your kidneys, the car is uncomfortable to sit in for longer than 30 minutes, and the noise (yes noise) is not fun after the first 10 minutes. I give this example to draw a comparison to a true GT, and a supercar some people confuse as one.
Lexus RC F Value
Lexus says that the RC F will start at an MSRP of $62,400. While that is true, none will ever ship without the $4,400 premium package and the $1,760 Nav package. Add the $1,100 moonroof, and the total price is $70,160. I have just configured a 2015 BMW M4 using the company’s website. If you want the features found in the Lexus RC I configured, you will pay about the same at $72,550, but get 2-years more of included maintenance. No matter how much you pay, the BMW will come with two less cylinders and 42 less horsepower.
Whether you buy the Lexus or the BMW, you should thank the other brand for making your car more affordable. That this much luxury, performance, and refinement is available at this price point makes me wonder who aspires to supercars, hyper cars, exotic cars and the like.