Used 2016 Lexus RC F Review
The 2016 Lexus RC F amps up the performance compared with Lexus' regular RC coupe. The resulting power and luxury is an appealing combination, but other rival high-performance coupes are more desirable overall.
Lexus launched the RC F in 2015 as its third entry to wear the division's performance-oriented "F" moniker (the LFA and IS F being the other two). An amalgamation of the IS sedan, IS convertible and GS sedan, the RC F landed into the thick end of the performance coupe segment alongside heavy-hitting competitors.
The Lexus RC F is a hotted-up version of the more pedestrian RC coupes, of which there are now three others: the RC 200t, RC 300 and RC 350. Taking the fight to those elite German sport coupes required Lexus to beef up nearly every aspect of the RC to create the RC F. Externally, the RC F wears more aggressive styling, 19-inch wheels, quad exhaust tips, and available features like an actively deploying rear spoiler and a carbon-fiber roof panel. But what really sets the RC F apart from its stablemates is what's beneath the reworked skin. Headlining the changes are the RC F's naturally aspirated 467-horsepower 5.0-liter V8, upsized Brembo brake hardware, more aggressive suspension tuning and an available torque-vectoring rear differential.
The 2016 Lexus RC F takes on the likes of BMW's M3 and Cadillac's ATS-V.
A strikingly styled cabin is still part of the mix, blending contemporary visual drama and rich-feeling materials in equal measure. Its seats also stand out for their ability for a wide variety of posteriors to find exceptional comfort and support. The RC F's exterior styling may not be to everyone's liking, but we have to at least give credit to Lexus for trying something adventurous.
At the root of the RC F's downsides is its heavy weight, which takes a toll on the car's athleticism. It's not as sharp or rewarding to drive as other high-performance coupes in its segment, and its acceleration suffers as well. Its stability control system can be overeager to dial back the fun, though there's always the "off" button. While the ride quality isn't overly harsh, it's certainly quite firm, and some drivers may find this fatiguing on long drives. Last, the fiddly touchpad controller in navigation-equipped RC Fs is distracting to use, which we discovered during a long-term test of a 2015 RC F.
Overall, we're partial to the 2016 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 2016 Cadillac ATS-V to think about and, if you wait until summer 2016, the stunning 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe. But if you're not prioritizing absolute performance and are more interested in a combination of luxury and style, the RC F should work out well.
trim levels & features
The 2016 Lexus RC F is a compact, rear-wheel-drive, four-passenger high-performance sport coupe.
Standard equipment for the 2016 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 mirror, a rearview camera, a 10-way power driver seat, an 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 a USB interface. Also standard is Lexus Enform Remote and Lexus Enform Service Connect, 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 and receive maintenance alerts via email and push notifications.
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 in place of the standard Torsen mechanical unit. 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 2016 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. A manual transmission is not available.
At Edmunds' test track, an RC F sprinted to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. That's certainly a quick time, though it's a few tenths or so off the speediest segment entries.
The EPA estimates the Lexus RC F will deliver 19 mpg combined (16 city/25 highway).
Quad exhaust pipes, an aggressive body kit and sinister black wheels are part of the RC F's visual upgrades.
The 2016 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.
When the RC lineup debuted last year it 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, an excellent result, though one that's comparable to other premium brand, high-performance coupes.
The 2016 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 impressively smooth during normal driving, and the adjustable driving modes can be used to quicken its responses. Driver-selected shifts via the paddle shifters, however, lack the responsiveness and precision provided by rival performance coupes with the latest automated manual transmissions.
The RC F isn't offered with an adaptive or adjustable suspension, so it's a "one size fits all" type of suspension tune. For the most part, it's a pretty agreeable balance between performance and comfort, but those drivers expecting a large dose of traditional Lexus serenity will no doubt be disappointed with the RC F's rough ride and tire noise.
At a moderate pace around turns, 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 exceedingly 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 2016 Lexus RC F's dramatically styled four-seat cabin is trimmed in consistently high-quality materials. Dense padding covers the upper dashboard, armrests and even the sides of the center console (where knees tend to rub). Most drivers will find the front seats impressively supportive yet supple, but those with larger frames might feel slightly snug. Like those of many coupes, the rear seats are very short on legroom and best left for kids or cargo. Headroom back there isn't much better.
Sport seats are wonderfully supportive and upholstered in rich, soft leather.
Though the multi-tiered cockpit is unusual, it is 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 navigation system's touchpad controller is the one notable foible in the cabin. 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 jerky, particularly when you're on the move, not to mention the fact that all the icons are the same color. Thankfully, there are a few redundant console-mounted hard buttons, but a conspicuous absence of one for a shortcut to the map screen.
The touchpad-style controller is the only misstep in the exquisitely detailed interior.
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 base RC variants, however, due to the F's additional structural bracing behind the seat.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.