Luxury sport coupes are niche products, simply put. And we love them. Love. Yes, they don’t sell in anywhere near the numbers of the four-doored counterparts, but a rakish and powerful coupe can have a halo effect on the rest of a company’s model line, bringing prospective shoppers onto the dealership floor and boosting overall sales numbers.
Lexus returns to the fray for 2015 with the all-new RC F, a V8-powered bad boy that’s set to do battle with the 450-hp 2015 Audi RS 5 and new 2015 BMW M4. The RC F is based on the RC 350, also new for 2015, but this is much more than an Ari Gold badge job, as every aspect of the car’s styling and performance has been given the “F” treatment.
Featuring a bold and expressive new design drawing inspiration from the well-received LF-LC Concept, the RC F’s front face is dominated by Lexus’s “spindle” grille, blacked out and stretching from the hood line all the way to the edge of the front chin spoiler. With aggressively flared front fenders with prominent cooling vents pushing the eye rearward toward a short and cleverly tapered rear deck, the overall design means business, but never comes off as cold.
Under the hood, you’ll find the newest generation of Lexus’s reliable 5.0-liter V8, the 2UR-GSE, but it’s been the recipient of extensive tuning. Ultra lightweight titanium valves now join a lightened crankshaft and connecting rods along with a larger throttle body and fuel injectors to raise power output all the way to 467 horsepower and 389 lb-ft. of torque. Coming mated to an 8-speed automatic with manual shift control and rear-wheel drive, the big V8 is good for a 0-60 mph dash of 4.4 seconds and a 170-mph top speed. Well played, Lexus.
The RC F and RC 350 ride on a platform that’s a mashup between the current GS Sedan, IS Sedan and IS C convertible, with additional welds and structural adhesives for rigidity. The “F” model packs a sportier suspension than the RC 350 with different setups for the unequal-length control arms up front and multi-links in the rear.
Attractive lightweight 19-inch BBS wheels come wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, and 15-inch front and 13.6-inch rear brake rotors provide plenty of stopping power. An available Performance Package proudly features a torque-vectoring limited-slip differential that can send up to 100% of torque to either rear wheel, along with a carbon fiber roof and rear wing.
On the inside, the four-seat interior may be a little tight on rear legroom and headroom, but that’s to be expected in this segment. Deeply bolstered sport buckets are the best place from which to enjoy an infotainment interface that’s been simplified for operation while on the road with redundant controls for common functions. Opt for navigation and you’ll get a haptic touch-sensitive controller for infotainment functions, but the overall feel here is geared toward simplicity and ease of operation.
Price and Release Date
The 2015 Lexus RC F goes on sale in Fall 2014, priced from $63,325.
ENGINE: DOHC 32-valve V8
Displacement: 303 cu in, 4969 cc
Power: 467 hp @ 7100 rpm
Torque: 389 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
Wheelbase: 107.5 in
Length: 185.2 in
Width: 72.6 in
Height: 54.7 in
Curb weight (C/D est): 4000 lb
Zero to 60 mph: 4.4 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 10.0 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.9 sec
Top speed: 170 mph
EPA city/highway: 16/25 mpg