F is for Fabulous! And Fun!

It is a coupe. A V8-powered rear-wheel drive coupe. And it is orange!

Lexus RC F Video Review Part 1

I have been at the wheel of this exceptional machine and can’t help but fall in love with the sound of its engine. A nice deep and enticing rumble only a powerful V8 engine can muster. Add to this a very precise handling experience, a quick acting transmission and a full gas tank to offer the promise of a gratifying day at the wheel.

This isn’t just any old Lexus mind you but the 2015 Lexus RC F, a 467 horsepower coupe that will challenge your perception of this Japanese brand.

The goal for Lexus in creating the RC F was to offer a performance coupe that would compete with the BMW M4s and Audi RS5s of this world while offering a higher level of all-day comfort and still perform on the occasional track day.

To do so, engineers and designers opted to start with the old IS C convertible centre section, chosen for its rigidity, and added the GS sedan’s front clip for a wider track; IS sedan suspension has been used out back. The whole provides a very stiff unibody and great cornering abilities while still being able to be more supple than the competition for daily driving duties, even when riding on 19” forged aluminum wheels with 255/35 R19 front and 275/35 R19 rear tires.

19" Vossen alloys

19″ Vossen wheels

In the case of the example I am driving, the wheels are special Vossen forged items shod with Pirelli tires. A perfect combo for the track day Northwest Lexus organized to showcase this car’s abilities.

Compared to the RC, 70 percent of the RC F’s suspension is unique. The RC F has an all-coil suspension with double wishbones at the front and multi-link at the rear. New components include springs, dampers, stabilizer bars and suspension bushings.

Brakes are huge, larger than what is found on the IS F and are fitted with BREMBO callipers, rotors and pads; Lexus added new brake booster and master cylinder designs to enhance response and shorten pedal stroke. Braking power is phenomenal but in typical Lexus fashion, can be applied smoothly when slow driving is needed, preventing uncomfortable and unneeded upper-body movements for occupants.

The heart of this special coupe is without doubts its engine. Lexus Canada states:

“…engineers designed this 5.0 litre, 32-valve V8 to deliver the same concept of instantaneous torque that was achieved in the V10 used in the Lexus LFA supercar.”

This is felt the very first time one accelerates.

The Lexus RC F engine

The heart of the RC F

While the previous IS F also had a five litre engine, the one found in this RC F is totally reworked. All-new cylinder heads and lighter moving parts help bring the redline to 7,100 RPM and the compression ratio has been raised to 12.3:1 to help improve torque, which stands at 389 pound-feet, all of it available at 4800 rpm. This engine sends power to the rear wheels through an eight-speed Sports Direct Shift transmission, which offers sequential shift operation and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The transmission can operate in four driver-selectable Drive Modes: Normal, Sport S, Sport S+, and M. Normal is perfect for every day driving while Sport S is for that nice road on the way home. Sport S+ and M (for manual) are perfect for that occasional track day. Of note, the M mode will change gears upward in 0.1 of a second, with the transmission’s throttle blipping control matching the engine speed to the gear.

Inside, the driver and front passenger are seated in race-inspired bucket seats and the driver holds a well-shaped sporty steering wheel with easy finger access to sequential shifting paddles and thumb access to various other functions on the side spokes.

Lexus RC F Video Review Part 2

Audiophiles will enjoy the fact the RC F comes with a 17-speaker Mark Levinson Clari-Fi audio system. It sound very good for the couple of songs I listened to, but this sound system stayed off for most of my time with the car… Such is the aural delight of the sweet V8 engine!

This Lexus was outfitted with only one option package: the Performance Package, as seen on the RC F pictured. This includes a Carbon Fibre roof and active rear spoiler, to reduce vehicle weight and lower the vehicle’s centre of gravity for better on-track performance.

Carbon Fibre spoiler

Carbon fibre spoiler

The package also includes special wheels and a Torque Vectoring Differential – an electronic system that optimizes torque transfer to each rear wheel regardless of whether the accelerator is pressed. It turns out the RC F is the world’s first vehicle available with this technology; the system uses controlled multi-plate clutches rather than the vehicle’s brakes to vector torque.

This rear differential technology is impressive and helps launch the car efficiently and in a straight line on slippery pavement.

Talking about technology, the RC F receives as much technology attention as other Lexus models, including a Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system with Sport Mode tailored to the RC F’s performance characteristics, plus active safety systems including: Vehicle Stability Control; Traction Control; and Antilock Braking System with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist. Other standard safety systems include Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, a back-up camera in the navigation display, the Lexus Pre-Collision System, Automatic High Beam, and Lane Departure Alert system.

All in all, the RC F, touted as the Ultimate High-Performance Luxury Coupe by Lexus, is the perfect companion for the owner who is looking for a very competent and performance-oriented coupe that will not be punishing during daily driving duties while still being at ease on the very occasional track day.

Ever wondered why F? The F is a nod to the Fuji Speedway in Japan, where most of Lexus’ high-speed development is said to take place.