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2015 Lexus RC F Coupe Review - Lots Of Money Lots Of Car!

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2015 LEXUS RC F Review

By Steve Purdy
The Auto Channel
Michigan Bureau

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Having reviewed the stylish and vibrant Lexus RC coupe not long ago I thought I knew what to expect when our friends at Lexus PR asked if I would drive the RC-F to Wisconsin for a big media event. They know I always attend and like to take the northern route through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for a therapeutic 9-hour drive to the famous Road America race track in Elkhart Lake. They also know what a pushover I am for any high-performance car. I was still a bit surprised with this scorching hot, rear-wheel drive, performance coupe.

A few years ago Lexus made a stylish and stimulating coupe out of the small IS sedan. It came in 4- and 6-cylinder models, the hottest of which called F-Sport comes with a powerful V6 and variety of driving modes including a stiff sport mode with ultra-quick throttle response and more aggressive shift points. This “RC F” takes the small coupe’s performance to a whole other level with a 467 horsepower, normally-aspirated, 5.0-liter V8, even more aggressive chassis and powertrain tuning and a bunch of high-performance electronic voodoo to maximize the driver’s adrenalin rush both on the road and on the track. At just under 4,000 pounds and with a coefficient of drag of 0.33 it will do 0-to-60 in 4.4 seconds and still easily get in the mid 20s for highway fuel mileage, using premium fuel, of course. On one long wide-open two-lane leg across the UP, I carded a solid 27.5 mpg.

My only worry leading up to the trip was the condition of my sciatic nerve, injured a month ago and slowly healing with the help of a magical chiropractor. My concern was that as a small, tight sports car the seats and suspension might be too firm for so many hours on the road. As it turned out that was not an issue at all. The well-bolstered, but comfortable driver’s seat not only held me firmly in place even during spirited driving and aggravated my troublesome back not a whit.

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The cabin is an intriguing and comfortable place to spend time. It has a luxury car’s sense of quietness during normal driving and a raucous personality to reward spirited bursts. In “Sport” and “Sport+” modes a satisfying roar comes from the dynamic exhaust within certain rev ranges. The striking multi-tiered dash shows impeccable quality of materials and workmanship but is complex enough that it takes some effort to figure out all the controls. A new multi-function, touch-pad controller mounts a bit too far rearward on the console to be convenient and, in this reviewer’s opinion, is considerably less manageable than the rocking, mouse-like gadget used on the big sedans. They have managed somehow to include a light haptic feedback in the touchpad that is helpful.

The rear seat has very limited access and is for small people or cargo. We might accurately refer to this as a 2+2 layout in traditional sport coupe parlance. Headroom up front will only accommodate a tall driver if the seat is all the way back and substantially reclined. The rear seatbacks do not fold and trunk space suffers from the addition of structural enhancements as compared to the lesser RC coupe.

The RC F starts at $62,400. Our bright blue (optional paint color) RC F came with Brembo brakes - 6-piston caliper, 14.9 inches slotted in front - dynamic, electronic gauge cluster with racing information, racing pedals, carbon fiber trim, the latest touchpad controller, and a slick eight-speed automatic transmission that shifts so fast you couldn’t begin to beat it with a manual, the hot powertrain described above, 19-inch forged wheels with grippy tires, 4 drive modes, full leather interior, special “F” model trim, a speed-activated rear spoiler, an optional Mark Levinson premium sound system, a Premium Package, moonroof and so much stuff we can’t list it all here. The bottom line on this sticker shows $73,760. That may be a lot of money – but this is a lot of car.

Well, as you might expect, the RC-F was in great demand at the Road America track by assembled journalists looking for a shot of adrenalin on the racetrack. We had many other track-rated cars to choose from like the new Corvette, 5.0 Mustang with manual transmission, Dodge Hellcats, and a variety of other wonderful cars. So I was well entertained with those as I waited. Finally, I got my turn in the RC F. I launched off the starting line making sure I had the drive mode set on Sport+. The first few turns are for acclimation then a long straight provides an opportunity to get into trouble. I quickly launched it to 120 mph into the wimpy chicanes they added to the straight. Then a 90-degree left turn requires some serious braking before we launch up the hill to the next hard left. I knew the car’s track manners well enough by then, so the rest of the way around that 4-mile road course was a hoot-and-a half. The Sport+ mode made this modestly experienced racetrack guy feel like a pro.

Sure wish I could have had a few more laps.

©Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved