2015 Lexus RC F Review
Pros & Cons
- Powerful and refined V8
- impeccable interior craftsmanship and materials
- confident handling.
- Small backseat
- distracting touchpad infotainment controller
- not as engaging in spirited driving as rivals.
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2015 Lexus RC F amps up the performance compared with Lexus' regular RC 350 coupe. The resulting power and luxury is an appealing combination, but other rival high performance coupes are more desirable overall.
Just as Mercedes has AMG and BMW has its M division, Lexus also has higher-performing variants of its models. Granted, Lexus is just getting started with its "F" variants, as there have been just two cars so far: the exotic LFA supercar and the IS F sedan. But now a third car has joined the stable: the 2015 Lexus RC F.
Based on the similarly new RC 350 coupe, the RC F certainly looks the part of a high-performance machine with its more aggressive styling, quad exhaust tips, 19-inch wheels and available features like an actively deploying rear spoiler and a carbon-fiber roof panel. Of course, if you're going to talk the talk, you've got to walk the walk, and to that end the RC F boasts a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 engine that cranks out 467 hp. A sport-tuned suspension, big Brembo brakes and an available torque-vectoring rear differential round out the performance upgrades.
Like the RC 350, the RC F also boasts a fantastic interior. The dashboard design is attractive and contemporary, and just about every surface you can find or touch is finished with high-quality materials. We're also fond of the comfortable and supportive front seats complemented by suspension tuning that isn't overly harsh. For general commuting and daily driving, the RC F is pretty docile and enjoyable.
Alas, there are weaknesses as well. While the RC F is certainly fun to drive, it's not as sharply focused as some other high-performance coupes. Acceleration and nimbleness in tight turns aren't exceptional for this class of car, and the stability control system can be annoyingly zealous at dialing back the fun any time you're driving spiritedly. We're also not sold on the infotainment system in navigation-equipped RCs due to its fiddly controller that requires too much of your attention, as you have to move your fingertip on a touchpad in mouselike fashion.
Overall, we're partial to the 2015 BMW M4. It's a superior performer, is more fun to drive and doesn't suffer from as many faults. There's also the highly impressive, all-wheel-drive 2015 Audi RS 5 to think about and the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG coupe, which is still great even though it's based on an older design. But if you're not prioritizing absolute performance and are more interested in a combination of power, luxury and style, the RC F should work out well.
2015 Lexus RC F models
The 2015 Lexus RC F is a compact, rear-wheel-drive, four-passenger high-performance sport coupe.
Standard equipment for the 2015 RC F includes 19-inch wheels with summer tires, a sport-tuned suspension, high-performance Brembo brakes, LED headlights, keyless ignition and entry, automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, 10-way power driver seat, eight-way power passenger seat, driver memory settings, heated front seats and simulated leather upholstery.
Standard electronics features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 7-inch display, a configurable multi-instrument display, voice commands and a 10-speaker sound system with satellite radio, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB interface. Also standard is Lexus Enform Remote, which allows one, via smartphone, to remotely lock or unlock the doors, start and stop the car, turn the climate control on or off, find the vehicle and obtain vehicle status reports.
There are several option packages, though availability can vary depending on the region in which you live. The Premium package includes an active rear spoiler, heated and ventilated front seats, carbon-fiber interior trim, automatic wipers, auto-dimming side mirrors and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The Performance package features a carbon-fiber roof and a rear spoiler, as well as a torque-vectoring differential. The All-Weather package includes a windshield de-icer, headlight washers and a heated steering wheel.
The Navigation package incorporates a console-mounted touchpad controller, a navigation system, upgraded voice commands and smartphone app integration (including Bing, Yelp, Pandora and iHeartRadio). The Navigation/Mark Levinson package adds a 17-speaker surround-sound audio system.
Stand-alone option highlights include a sunroof, leather upholstery, adaptive cruise control (bundled with a pre-collision system) and front and rear parking sensors.
Performance & mpg
The 2015 Lexus RC F comes with a 5.0-liter V8 generating 467 hp and 389 pound-feet of torque. A performance-oriented eight-speed automatic transmission is standard and routes that power to the rear wheels.
At Edmunds' test track, an RC F sprinted to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. That's certainly a quick time, though it's a few tenths or so off the speediest segment entries.
The 2015 Lexus RC F's standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes with brake assist, traction and stability control, front seat side airbags, front knee airbags and side curtain airbags. Also standard is Lexus Enform Safety Connect, an onboard emergency telematics system that incorporates collision notification, a stolen vehicle locator and roadside assistance.
The optional Premium package includes blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The adaptive cruise control option is bundled with a collision mitigation system that can initiate braking automatically if a frontal impact is deemed imminent.
The 2015 RC lineup earned the top rating of "Good" from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in its small-overlap and moderate-overlap frontal-impact tests. It also scored the top rating of "Good" in side-impact, rollover performance and whiplash protection from its front seats.
In Edmunds brake testing, the RC F stopped from 60 mph in a short 106 feet, about average for a premium brand, high-performance coupe.
The 2015 Lexus RC F's V8 is a free-revving jewel that smoothly zings to redline and makes glorious sounds while doing so. Off-the-line grunt is respectable, while you'll notice an increasingly insistent push in your back as the revs climb. At the right speed and throttle position, the RC F's exhaust opens up to allow a rather glorious deep V8 bellow to fill the cabin. The eight-speed automatic is refined, and its upshifts and rev-matched downshifts are impressively quick. Competitors with the latest automated manual transmissions still feel a bit sharper and more responsive, but we suspect you'll still be pleased with the setup here.
The suspension is sprung firmly enough to remind you that you're piloting a high-performance car. Yet it's not stiff-legged or crashy over broken pavement. At a moderate pace, the RC F simply devours corners with crisp turn-in, minimal body roll and sharp, accurate steering. The robust chassis promotes driver confidence, but the downside of that is the car's chunky curb weight. This, along with the uncommunicative steering and safety systems that are very aggressive about reining you in when left in their default modes, make the RC F not quite as engaging a back-roads dance partner as more serious enthusiasts might desire.
The 2015 Lexus RC F's four-seat cabin is trimmed in consistently high-quality materials. The upper dashboard, armrests and even the sides of the center console (where knees tend to rub) are swathed in dense padding. The front seats are impressively supportive yet supple, but those with larger frames might feel slightly snug. The rear seats are very short on legroom and best left for kids or cargo. Headroom isn't much better.
The multi-tiered cockpit is peculiar, but attractive and contemporary overall, with a terraced layout and subtly upscale touches. The audio and climate controls are steeply angled, reinforcing the RC F's sporty vibe, and the buttons and knobs are generally easy to use.
The one notable foible is the touchpad controller that comes with the navigation system. Inspired by a computer trackpad, this controller is the primary method for making audio and navigation selections, and it's far from ideal. Although the 7-inch display is sharp, cursor control with the touchpad is wobbly, particularly when you're on the move. Similar-color icons on the screen also make it hard to quickly find what you want on the screen. Thankfully, there are a few redundant console-mounted hard buttons, but one for the map screen is conspicuously absent.
As far as carrying stuff, the RC F's trunk provides 10.1 cubic feet of capacity, about one or two cubes fewer than competitors. The rear seat does not fold down as it does in the RC 350, however, due to the F's additional structural bracing behind the seat.