Pros-Sleek. Luxurious. Fast. Excellent handling. Good ride. Safety features. High-quality reputation.
Cons-Tight back seat. Weighty. Long doors. Track edition mostly for racers.
Bottom Line-A lot of car for the money.
The fast 2020 Lexus RC F
might be called a sports car, but its weight makes it mainly a fast, luxurious grand touring (GT) car, reminiscent of the Aston Martins seen in the 1960s James Bond movies.
My RC F rear-drive test car's sticker said it cost $64,750, while Lexus says the "track edition" is $96,650, without a $1,025 freight charge for both versions. The track version has no more power, but changes make it mainly for hard-core car buffs or racers.
A glance at the rear-seat area might lead one to think this is strictly a two-seater. But I found that two adults could fit fairly comfortably in the supportive rear seats if the front seats, which are powered to allow easier rear access, were shoved forward far enough. Not that adults, especially those with long legs, would want to spend much time back there, but the seats might occasionally come in handy. A center pull-down armrest with covered dual cupholders helps make it civilized in the rear.
This is a fairly big coupe, with a 185.2-inch length and hefty 3,958-pound weight. Long doors can make entry difficult in tight spaces, but my test car's interior was gorgeous, with easily read gauges of all sorts and a good number ofplenty of dashboard controls if you don't want to fool with the dashboard infotainment screen, which has a somewhat awkward console control. The large dashboard sound system knobs can be especially useful once you've selected your favorite radio system with the screen.
The quiet interior has high-quality materials with discreet stitching throughout and colorful seat colors. The power front seats are ultra-supportive. There's an easily reached push-button starter, a nifty analog clock and the usual luxury car features such as dual-climate control and an available power tilt-telescopic wheel. Rear vision from the driver's seat is pretty good, even without use of the large outside rearview mirrors with turn signals.
My test car's options included carbon fiber interior touches, besides a carbon-fiber roof, which lightens the car and lowers its center of gravity, front seat heating and ventilation, larger 10.3-inch (up from 7-inch) screen, 17-speaker sound system and a rear torque vectoring differential for surer handling. A limited-slip differentia is standard.
Steering is moderately light and handling is impressive, with virtually no body sway when storming through highway on- and off- ramps. I could feel the car's weight, which would work against you in a slalom, but it doesn't affect roadability much. The ride is good with the adaptive variable suspension. A console control lets the driver put the car in economy, normal, sport or super-sport mode, but even the latter mode doesn't affect the ride much.
The new RC F has special chassis and and suspension calibrations, and the grippy 35-series Michelin Pilot Sport tires on 19-inch wheels seem perfect for this car. The brake pedal action has been adjusted for easier use, and the Brembo brakes allow quick, sure stops.
The cargo area is decent at 10.5 cubic feet, easily swallowing a week's groceries, but it isn't especially deep. The power trunk lid works quickly and the trunk opening is low and wide for easy cargo loading. Rear seat backs don't fold forward, but there's a small pass-through area to the rear-seat area for narrow, tall objects.
The latest version of the RC F, which has been sold for a few years, is lighter by some 55 pounds and has such improvements as an altered grille (with one of the few Lexus grilles that doesn't look overdone), larger front air intakes, new taillights and a reshaped rear bumper.
The car's sophisticated 5-liter V-8 generates 472 horsepower (up 5 from last year) and produces a little more torque, at 395 lb./ft.
The 0-60 time is an estimated 4.4 seconds and the RC F it is said to hit nearly 170 m.p.h. The car's four tailpipes indicate that it means business.
Significant improvements include a higher final drive ratio to keep the engine in the heart of its power band. Still, I found that power doesn't come on with a full jolt via the responsive eight-speed automatic transmission unless the throttle is pressed hard. Press it normally-or shall we say "casually" - and the car is plenty fast but not as much of a neck-snapper as when the throttle is depressed fully. That's OK, as that linear power application makes the RC F easier to drive in normal traffic.The steering wheel paddle shifters work well, but do they have to be made out of plastic?
Estimated fuel economy is 16 miles per gallon in the city and 24 on highways. Premium fuel is called for to fill the 17.4-gallon tank.
Standard Lexus safety features include a pre-collision system with pedestrian protection, high-speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane-departure alert with steering assist and eight air bags.
An $11,400 Performance package includes the carbon fiber roof, carbon fiber speed-activated rear spoiler, rocker panel splitters and a diffuser. A $5,130 Premium package has a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert.
My test car's options added up, making the bottom line total $89,504 with the $1,045 delivery charge.
The Lexus RC F coupe is a rakish, reliable high-performance car that can be comfortably driven daily, something that can't be said for some costlier rivals.