2020 Lexus RC F Review

2020 Lexus RC F - The 2020 Lexus RC F sport coupe has high style and sparklling performance


Prices: $64,750-$96,650

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.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

For more reviews from Dan, visit Facebook.