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2017 Lexus RC F Race on Sunday; Drive to Work on Monday - 2017 Lexus Review By Larry Nutson


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2017 Lexus RC F
Race on Sunday; drive to work on Monday.

- 4 Star Rating by The Auto Channel

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

The 2017 Lexus RC F is designed and built with the expectation that it will be track driven. While at the same time, the RC F will also provide comfortable, luxurious, and very fast personal transportation.

In developing the RC F, Lexus engineers enhanced body rigidity, suspension systems, brakes, tires as well as the engine and transmission with the expectation that some owners would be driving their cars at track events.

That doesn’t mean you need to be a race driver. There are a number of car-oriented country clubs around the U.S. that allow its members to “play” on a race track. Many offer driver training programs so that even a novice can develop safe and competent track-driving skills.


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The stats for the 2017 RC F are impressive. The 5.0-L V8 develops 467-HP. It has a 12.3:1 compression ration requiring Premium 91 octane fuel. Power gets to the rear wheels through an eight-speed direct shift automatic transmission. Shift paddles and a manual shift mode make for perfect racetrack control. Zero to 60 mph is in 4.4 seconds; the ¼-mile is covered in 12.5 seconds; top speed is 170 mph.


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The RC F comes standard with a Torsen Limited Slip Differential and offers an available Torque Vectoring Differential that adjusts left-right torque distribution.

The RC F weighs just shy of 4,000 lbs. The connection to the road, or track, is with RC F specific 19-inch Bridgestone Potenza or Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires. Up front are 255/35s and in the rear 275/35s. BBS wheels are 9-inch up front and 10-inch on the rear.

Brembo brakes with huge 15-inch rotors and six-piston calipers up front, and 13.6-inch rotors and four-piston calipers in the back do the stopping.

For 2017, RC F handling performance has been further refined with an all-new Linear Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) which controls damping force with more precision. Using a linear solenoid design, it was tuned on the Nürburgring to improve steering during cornering and body roll stability. In addition to consistent handling, F-AVS enhances ride smoothness during acceleration and deceleration.

Certainly an impressive resumé.

In my auto-writing role I am a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association. Every year this group holds its Spring Rally at the storied 4.2-mile Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Just recently at this event, through the courtesy of Lexus, I and many of my colleagues drove the very same RC F that I street-drove for this report on the Road America race course. We hit triple-digit speeds and drove hard into the corners making full use of the tires and brakes.

Acceleration is rapid and the transmission shifts quickly. Handling is composed and compliant and matches that of many other performance cars. Brakes were firm with no fade and easy to modulate.

On the more mundane everyday-use side of things, the 4-seat RC F is also a bit “green” with its low-emission engine certification. I appreciated the somewhat large 17.4 gallon fuel tank that should make for 400 miles of driving range. Although not a big factor in performance car purchases, I should mention the EPA test-cycle fuel economy ratings of 19 mpg combined, with16 city mpg and 25 highway mpg. I didn’t do any real-world measurements.

The trunk is only a bit over 10 cu ft, so that could be a challenge with lots of luggage. The rear seat is fixed with no fold-down feature.

In my drives around Chicagoland the RC F proved very streetable and comfortable. I’m of medium-build and therefore the contoured body-hugging seats worked well for me. I liked the small-diameter steering wheel with its robust rim thickness. The 835-watt Mark Levinson 17-speaker system audio system had me envisioning concert hall performances. Overall, the interior is very luxurious, well appointed and quite gorgeous.


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The RC F comes one way, priced at $64,165. Optioned on my media-loan test-car was the $5,500 Performance Package that includes the torque vectoring differential as well as a carbon fiber roof panel and rear wing.


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The Premium Package at $1,240 includes heated and ventilated front seats and some driver-assistance safety features that are well worth the money. If you need to know more, detailed info and specs can be found at www.lexus.com.

As one might expect if you build a car for the track you should be on the track. Lexus has done that with a pair of RC F GT3 racecars that made their IMSA debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona earlier this year.


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Success is coming quickly and the 3GT Racing No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 recorded a fifth-place result in the GTD class at the just-completed six-hour IMSA WeatherTech Championship endurance race at Watkins Glen International with drivers Jack Hawksworth, Robert Alon and Austin Cindric. The fifth-place result marked the best finish for 3GT Racing and Lexus Racing this season.

We’re halfway through 2017 and overall vehicle sales are lower than 2016, not surprisingly as forecasted and expected. Trucks, meaning pickups, SUVs and minivans, are taking the majority of new vehicle sales. Luxury, personal use cars are holding their own, to some extent. Coupes suffer a bit today because 4-door sedans offer every bit the same performance in a more functional package. That said, personal use high performance cars will continue to be of interest. At least, they will be to me.

© 2017 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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