2015 Lexus RC F Long-Term Road Test: Introduction
January 15, 2015
What Did We Get?
Lexus has traditionally been the sensible alternative to German luxury. At the expense of driving dynamics, a Lexus offered a top-notch interior, pillow-soft ride and outstanding reliability for less money. That has taken the company far in a very short time, but now it has decided to take on its competition head-on with sharp looks and wicked power.
Lexus has already dipped its toes in the waters of high-performance cars with the development of its "F" line of performance cars. The IS F sedan proved Lexus has what it takes to at least stay in the ring with the BMW M3 and Mercedes C63 AMG, while the LFA supercar showed what can happen when Lexus lets its engineers loose.
Now, the RC F coupe is poised to continue widening the gap between traditional Lexus buyers and younger, performance-hungry drivers. It features a 5.0-liter V8 sending 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of twist to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. It also gets more aggressive suspension settings and beefier brakes compared to the standard RC 350 and even the RC 350 F Sport.
Lexus has just two "F" cars under its belt, but the RC is priced competitively and may offer better value. We got one to find out if the coupe is a serious player in this cutthroat performance coupe category.
What Options Does It Have?
Prices for the well-equipped 2015 Lexus RC F in gray, silver, red or black begin at $63,325. A rearview camera, 10-speaker sound system, dual-zone climate control and active rear wing are all standard features on the RC F. But while base cars are less expensive, we want to be able to test as many options as possible.
We started with an RC F in Ultra White, a color that required the addition of the $4,400 Premium package. Features in this package include heated and ventilated front seats, a blind-spot monitor and carbon-fiber interior trim. White on red is a classic color combo that looks good on the RC F, so we added Red Circuit leather seats for an extra $800. We also added a pair of luxury amenities: a 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system with navigation ($2,840) and sonar parking sensors ($500).
Our RC F is a preproduction vehicle on loan from Lexus and has one option package that is not yet available on production models. It's called the Performance package, and it bundles the torque-vectoring differential ($1,750 à la carte), 20-spoke wheels ($1,500 à la carte), and a carbon-fiber roof and rear spoiler. We will post a future update when pricing is announced.
Excluding the options in the Performance package, our 2015 Lexus RC F retails for $71,865. Add the diff and wheels by themselves and our RC F carries an MSRP of $75,115. Figure in another $1,000-$2,000 for the carbon-fiber bits.
Why We Got It
Lexus has been trying to break into the performance side of the luxury realm for some time now. It has had some success, but still struggles against BMW and Mercedes when it comes to delivering that perfect blend of startling performance and refined luxury.
The RC F is the latest and most concentrated effort yet. It hits right at the heart of BMW's new M4 coupe and Mercedes' various AMG offerings with a mix of V8 power and aggressive styling. It also has a slick interior design and the latest technology. If the RC F can't make any inroads, it's hard to imagine another Lexus that will.
We have six months with our RC F to find out if it has what it takes to break out from the pack. That should be enough time to put at least 10,000 miles on the sport coupe and see where it stands. Follow along on the Long-Term Road Test Updates page for new posts.
Best MPG: 18.2
Worst MPG: 15.6
Average MPG over 674 miles: 17
The manufacturer provided this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.