There’s something about straight-line acceleration that’s exhilarating when you’re driving a car with balls, so the memory of flooring the Lexus RC F on the straightaway at the track at the Monticello Motor Club is seared into my brain. This all-new sport coupe from Lexus has some serious power with 467 horsepower that can go from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds. The engine also produces a memorable growl that’s sure to put a smile on your face as you gain speed through the straightaway.
Lexus gave us the opportunity to test the RC F along with the RC F Sport at the picturesque Monticello track that features 18 turns per lap, so we got to test much more than the straight-line speed. For our safety, however, they added some cones and an S curve in the middle of the straightaway so we wouldn’t get too carried away with speeds we couldn’t handle going into the hard right curve.
As for those curves, the handling of the RC F was pretty amazing as it gripped the corners effortlessly at high speeds. Lexus has built a car that’s fun to drive regardless of your skill level. I pushed the F as hard as I could around that track and frankly had a blast.
The RC F is the most powerful Lexus V8 performance car ever and is a worthy successor to the 416 horsepower Lexus IS F launched in 2007 and the LFA carbon-fiber supercar that featured a V10 engine with 552 horsepower. If you’re looking for a performance coupe you have to check this one out.
In addition to the F model Lexus is also introducing the RC 350 featuring a 306 horsepower V6 along with an F SPORT model with Electronic Suspension Damping and Rear-Wheel Steering. We had the opportunity to drive the F SPORT at the Monticello track as well, and while it obviously can’t match the more powerful and more expensive RC F in terms of performance, it’s still an impressive vehicle that was quite fun to drive on the track.
Both the RC F and the RC 350 feature the signature Lexus spindle grille, with the F and F SPORT models looking more aggressive in a black mesh pattern. I love this new look for Lexus and it’s definitely changed the image of the brand. Also, the F SPORT models are bringing younger buyers to Lexus. As you can see from the photos above this is a beautiful coupe that will get plenty of attention.
The interior of the RC has all of the luxury features you would expect from a Lexus but with a sportier feel. It also has a back seat, but don’t expect full-sized adults to feel comfortable back there. The seats are very comfortable and provide that cockpit feel you want from a performance car. The RC F’s sports seats feature special integrated foaming construction helps the seats conform to the person’s body. This special foam is applied in three sections (shoulder, lumbar region and hip) with each intended to mold to the body with the goal of helping reduce fatigue. After plenty of drive time on roads and on the track I came away impressed.
One notable option includes the 17-speaker Mark Levinson Surround System. The system produces 835 watts total output and the control panel was designed to resemble the simple designs used on Mark Levinson home equipment. We also got a demonstration of the new Clari-Fi technology that automatically analyzes compression in the signal of digital tracks (CD, iPod, etc.) and determines how much amplification is needed. It then corrects accordingly, so the sound of your compressed files on your phone will more resemble CD quality. The sound of this system is amazing.
But it all comes back to performance with the new RC. The RC 350 is very impressive, and then the RC F blows you away. The forceful acceleration if the F’s 5.0-liter V8 along with the memorable growl of the engine grabs your attention and puts a smile on your face as you’re speeding around the track. The RC F also offers a close-ratio eight-speed Sports Program Direct Shift transmission and available Torque Vectoring Differential. I also liked how both vehicles offered a variety of driving modes.
The emphasis here is also a performance car that’s easy to drive. Some purists might quibble that manual mode involves paddle shifters, but most people regardless of skill level will appreciate how easy it is to enjoy this splendid machine.
With the RC F and the RC 350, Lexus has made quite a splash with a sexy offering in the premium coupe segment. There are some great vehicles in this space from other brands, but this coupe should definitely be on your list of cars to test drive. It will also compete with many of the sports cars in the market as well, as the F in particular can hang with or surpass many of them in terms of performance. Check it out for yourself!