2020 Lexus RC F review: Power and presence, but still a step behind

I enjoy the Infrared paint on this test car.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

The luxury functionality coupe segment is dominated by major-hitters this sort of as the Audi RS5, BMW M4 and Mercedes-AMG C63. But Lexus has been taking part in in this area, too. The sharp-searching RC F introduced in 2015 — a coupe-bodied successor to the outrageous IS F that came in advance of it — and it will get a several meaningful updates for the 2020 product year that make it even much more attractive than in advance of.


  • Hot damn this detail looks fantastic
  • V8 engine delivers a pleasant rumble to the cabin

Really don’t Like

  • Enform infotainment technique desires a significant overhaul
  • Transmission could be snappier

What is new

You will find no denying the RC F is a handsome car, particularly decked out in the Infrared colour of my tester. But for 2020, the major coupe will get a several modest styling tweaks. The great-searching stacked tailpipes are continue to right here, but they are set off by new taillights and a redesigned bumper. Up front, you can discover larger air intakes and restyled headlights. The big spindle grille is as distinguished right here as it can be at any time been, however it can be really a little bit more compact for 2020.

The RC F will get a several engineering tweaks, too, cutting fifty six kilos from the coupe’s excess weight thanks to lighter components in the manifold and air conditioning technique, as nicely as a bumper support piece designed from a blend of carbon fiber and aluminum.

And whaddaya know, the engine will get a several little variations, as nicely. The five.-liter by natural means aspirated V8 now makes 472 horsepower at seven,one hundred rpm and 395 pound-feet of torque at four,800 rpm — gains of five hp and 6 lb-ft. That’s not really sufficient to shift the needle in any meaningful way, but hey, much more power is much more power. Electric power will get down to the rear wheels as a result of an eight-velocity automatic transmission. Fuel financial system is as dismal as at any time, however, with the 2020 RC F earning EPA scores of sixteen miles for each gallon town, 24 mpg highway and 19 mpg put together.

The RC F will get much more linear throttle mapping for 2020, as nicely as a shorter last-drive ratio of three.thirteen:one. Launch command is also portion of the package deal now, and Lexus suggests it will assist propel the RC F to sixty mph in a fairly-darn-speedy four.two seconds.

On the highway

As I make my way to my most loved twisty backroad, I change the drive method to Sport S to make use of its faster throttle reaction, but I maintain the torque-vectoring differential in its normal setting. The gearbox generally understands what it can be doing, however from time to time I am going to get an early upshift or it will not downshift below braking. Luckily, that’s easily remedied by utilizing the paddler shifters, and I even get a very little throttle blip when I downshift — a excellent way to listen to that V8 roar within the cabin.

Going to the Sport S Plus setting offers me greatest powertrain reaction and heavier steering come to feel. The TVD tech has Slalom and Observe modes, the previous of which can help the RC F come to feel a little bit much more spry on these limited backroads. Really don’t be fooled by the aforementioned excess weight loss — the 2020 RC F continue to guidelines the scales at three,902 kilos. The onboard electronics do a pleasant task of earning the coupe come to feel a little bit much more svelte, if you can pardon that use of an adjective as an adverb. In Slalom method, the RC F rotates far better as a result of turns, and I uncover myself pushing it more durable as I careen as a result of the corners.

The RC F rides on a staggered set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, with 255/35-sequence front and 275/35-sequence rear rubber, wrapped around 19-inch wheels. These tires offer you lots of grip, and Michelin worked with Lexus to specially develop these tires for the RC F. It performs, too — at no level does the rear end want to stage out below tricky cornering, and I’ve obtained tons of grip at all situations.

The five.-liter V8 puts out 472 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

When it can be time to just commute, the Lexus fortunately settles down. Placing all the configurations back to Usual reveals a car that’s continue to agency, but not uncomfortably so. Fortunately, the front seats offer you a great deal of support for lengthy excursions, as nicely as the appropriate sum of cushiness for my hindquarters.

The normal adaptive cruise command performs as advertised, but its procedure is a very little wonky. I have to engage the technique from a stalk on the reduced left aspect of the steering column, but the distance command is on the steering wheel itself. In actuality, there are a good deal of structure challenges with the inside, but I am going to get to that in a moment. The RC F’s other normal driver-guidance characteristics include things like lane-departure warning and lane-maintaining help, as nicely as ahead-collision warning with pedestrian detection. Blind-place monitoring and rear cross-traffic warn are both of those package deal-based solutions.

Troublesome tech

I simply cannot chat about the RC F with out shaming the Lexus Enform infotainment technique. It truly is undesirable. Definitely undesirable. My tester has the optional 10.three-inch multimedia display screen, which is a pleasant up grade around the normal seven-inch device. Enform is managed by a touchpad that is intended to be analogous to a smartphone, exactly where I can tap, swipe and pinch-to-zoom to my heart’s articles. In actuality, on the other hand, this is just horrible to use. It truly is exceptionally effortless to swipe past icons, even immediately after adjusting the parameters of the touchpad. There are tricky buttons for the map, primary menu and to stage back a person display screen, but anything else have to be selected by the touchpad, which is infuriating to use whilst driving.

More, in buy to access applications like I Heart Radio, Yelp, Amazon Alexa and Waze, motorists have to have the Lexus Enform Application Suite two. installed on their mobile phone. You can get around this utilizing Apple CarPlay, but Android Automobile is absent (even however you can get it on the non-F RC coupe).

The cabin is comfortable, but the infotainment tech is infuriating.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

Although the inside of the RC F is entire of delicate-touch, quality elements, it suffers in terms of structure and person experience. In addition to the aforementioned adaptive cruise command stalk/steering wheel snafu, a button on the appropriate-hand aspect of the steering wheel controls a digital information and facts pane on the left-hand aspect of the gauge cluster. The convert indicators and windshield wiper stalks both of those return to place routinely and it can be hard to get just a several blinker clicks for, say, a lane modify, or a person wiper swipe to take treatment of a very little rain mist. Oh, and why does a car so packed with tech continue to have a foot pedal parking brake?

I never expect a sporting activities coupe to have considerably in the way of utility, but the Lexus falls shorter right here by comparison. There is limited in-cabin storage and the truck only features 10.one cubic feet of area, which is more compact than what you get in the Audi RS5, BMW M4 and Mercedes-AMG C63. The rear seats never fold down but there is a pass-as a result of to accommodate lengthier goods, for when you want to take your rear-wheel-drive sporting activities car skiing.

How I might spec it

I enjoy the way this car looks, so my ideal RC F would be painted Infrared, which expenditures $595. I might incorporate the high quality package deal ($five,350) which will get me heated and cooled seats, a heated steering wheel, blind-place monitoring, rear cross-traffic warn and the rear seat pass-as a result of. Last but not least, I am going to incorporate the $one,250 torque-vectoring differential, bringing my ideal RC F up to $73,one hundred twenty out the doorway.

Lexus also features a $6,000 functionality package deal which tacks on a bunch of carbon fiber parts, which I never really want. Embedded navigation expenditures $two,725, which I am going to also skip considering Apple CarPlay is totally free. If you really want to go major, you can find also the $97,825 RC F Observe Version, but that’s a complete unique animal.

The RC F is a entertaining car, but it just can’t maintain up with the competitors.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

Great looks aren’t sufficient

At $sixty five,925 to get started, like destination, the RC F is more affordable than its critical rivals, but not by considerably. The Audi RS5 will come in at $75,195, the BMW M4 begins at $70,one hundred forty five and the Mercedes-AMG C63 expenditures $70,895, all like their respective destination fees. For a several thousand bucks much more you get nicer interiors, much more keen powertrains and considerably far better cabin tech.

The 2020 Lexus RC F is a fantastic alternative for these who favor day-to-day-driving comfort around entire-blast, knock-your-socks-off shenanigans. But with fierce rivals that do so lots of issues far better, it continue to winds up becoming a back-of-the-pack decide on in this enjoyable segment, even if it does convert heads.

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