2018 Lexus RC F
- High-quality cabin looks great
- Refined and powerful V8 with a soundtrack to match
- Safety and driving aids come standard
- Hefty weight hampers virtually every dynamic element
- No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
- Competitors are quicker and sharper to drive
- Remote Touch tech interface is distracting to use
2018 Lexus RC F pricingin Ashburn, VA
Which RC F does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
Overall rating3 / 5
As high-performance coupes go, the 2018 Lexus RC F is not among the best. The main issue with the Lexus RC F is its hefty curb weight: It's hundreds of pounds heavier than its competitors, which keeps it from being as energetic or agile. It just doesn't feel like the performance machine you might expect from its looks and the sweet-sounding 5.0-liter V8 firing away behind that Lexus grille.
But if all you want is a boldly styled luxury coupe with a big V8 engine, the RC F could be pretty appealing. That's especially true this year since it now comes with an adaptive suspension that should provide a smoother ride quality than previous RC Fs. Ultimately, though, there are a lot of excellent ways to spend your money at this price point, and no matter how you view it, the RC F remains an imperfect choice.
Trim levels & features
The 2018 Lexus RC F is the high-performance version of the Lexus RC coupe, which we review separately. Specific F version upgrades include a 5.0-liter V8 engine (467 horsepower, 389 pound-feet of torque), a specially tuned eight-speed automatic transmission, a limited-slip differential, adaptive variable suspension, Brembo upgrade brakes, and 19-inch forged alloy wheels. The RC F also gets special styling and sport seats. There is a single trim level that can be upgraded with a choice of several packages and stand-alone optional upgrades.
Standard equipment includes LED headlights, automatic high beams, auto-dimming mirrors, adjustable drive modes, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, a rearview camera, power-adjustable front seats with memory settings, simulated leather upholstery and a power-adjustable steering wheel.
Also standard are Safety Connect emergency communications (automatic collision notification, emergency assist button, stolen-vehicle locator), Lexus Enform Remote services (smartphone-based remote vehicle controls), the Lexus Display Audio tech interface (7-inch screen, knob controller), Scout GPS Link smartphone-based navigation system, a USB port, and a 10-speaker sound system that includes a CD player and HD and satellite radios.
The Premium package adds a speed-activated rear spoiler, blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert systems, automatic wipers, water-repellent side windows, parking sensors, heated and ventilated front seats, and carbon-fiber interior trim. The Performance package adds a rear torque-vectoring differential, a carbon-fiber roof and a carbon-fiber rear spoiler. The All-Weather package adds a windshield deicer, headlight washers and a heated steering wheel. The navigation system comes bundled with the Remote Touch interface (10.3-inch screen, touchpad controller), two USB ports, voice controls and a suite of infotainment apps. You can also add to that a 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system and six-CD/DVD changer.
Stand-alone options include upgraded LED headlights, parking sensors, a sunroof and leather upholstery.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Lexus RC F (5.0L V8 | 8-speed automatic | RWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Lexus RC F has received the notable addition of adaptive suspension dampers. Although our original findings about ride and handling have been revised, the rest remain broadly applicable.
Noise & vibration4
Ease of use2
Getting in/getting out3
Audio & navigation
2018 Lexus RC F video
[MUSIC PLAYING] CARLOS LAGO: Though it's received some minor updates, the Lexus RC F has been largely unchanged for the past few years. And that means we know certain key things about it already. It may have 467 horsepower from its 5 liter V8, but the fact that it's heavier than most of its competitors means it's slower in a straight line and not as sharp when it comes to handling. But if those are the things we already know, let's take a look at this example and see the things you might appreciate if you were to own one. Inside the RC F, you find the look is consistent with the outside in that there is a lot going on from a style perspective. You have different color stitching, you have different kinds of materials ranging from soft touch to leather to carbon fiber to a plastic that looks like metal. There's a lot happening in here and it's kind of hard to take in but at least it looks similar to the outside for better and worse. But without further ado, let's get this car started. One of the things that I like a lot about the Lexus RC F, and a lot of Lexus in general, is the gauge cluster. Though it has analog style housings, most of it is digital and it changes depending on the drive modes that you're in and the settings that you have engaged. It's a really clean, high-tech look that also works well. And the configuration options it gives you allows you to tailor it the way you'd like to have it, which is a nice thing to do. In the middle, you have a large center display. It's a big screen but it's so big, in fact, that the bottom left of it is kind of obstructed by the dash right here, which is not the worst thing in the world but it is noticeable. Controlling it, you have this large touch pad in the center here. It's not as elegant as some other solutions that you'll find in similarly priced luxury cars. You won't have any big problems working with it, but it can be annoying when you take quite a bit of your attention away from the road when you're driving just to do things like change the audio track or enter in an address in the navigation system. Otherwise, the interior definitely feels like you're at the level of luxury that you would expect to get with a Lexus with a couple of weird things, like the material on the volume and the tuning dials. Whatever they've put on these knobs, when you run your finger on it, it's not unlike trying to drag your finger across a chalkboard. It can send a shiver up your spine. So it's weird that they would use that on something that you would touch frequently. But then again, I keep touching it because it feels strange. I don't know. The seats are well bolstered and supportive. I'm not the widest person in the world, but I do notice that they push my shoulders forward and that might be uncomfortable. But what you're getting with these seats is the ability to hold you in place when you're doing some tight cornering, and that does come into play with the RC F. When it comes to the more utility and functional aspects of this car, like the back seats and the trunk, well with the truck specifically, you have a lot of space. There's a good amount there for weekend trips or basically everything that you would need to do with a car like this. Back seat space, on the other hand, is pretty tight, but that's kind of what you would expect from a two-door four-seat sports coupe. There are outliers in this segment that give you a bit more backseat space like the M4, but here it seems like it's appropriate for what the car is. Overall you have an interior that's working nicely on a daily basis, but let's see how it works in action. [ENGINE REVVING] That's a nice sound. Now when it comes to driving the Lexus RC F quickly, there are certain truths that everybody already knows. So we won't belabor the point. This car is heavier than its competition. And it isn't as dynamically sharp as it's competition. So with those out of the way, we won't rest on them and talk about the things that this car does right and continues to do right to this day. First, you have that sound. You can't beat the terrific sound of a high-revving, naturally aspirated V8. And the way the powerband swells at high RPMs when you really get close to redline just feels so satisfying. If you were to take the data loggers off this car and just pay attention to the experience, you'd find that it's not that far behind the competition. There's a variety of reasons for that. You don't notice tenths at the limit unless you are a professional racing driver. What you notice are the little things the car does, like that beep when you upshift. It just sounds so good and it reminds you, hey, you're going to get another dose of that engine sound as soon as you downshift. The way this 8-speed automatic changes gears is so smooth and so satisfying. Crisp comes to mind as a way to describe it. This car has the torque vectoring differential which has various modes and it seems really complicated, using different gear sets and electric motors to help distribute the torque between the two wheels. You can even go through the settings to go from normal to slalom to track. We're in the normal setting right now but going between, and it's tough to really suss out the difference. Let's change that right now to track. Even though you may not be able to tell what it's doing by switching between the settings, that's kind of how technology is supposed to work, especially in sporty cars. You want the experience to not feel like technology is dominating it or changing it. You want it to feel natural. And then you get back to the straight where you get that beautiful sound coming back in. Now you'd find that if you were to take us to a race track, and most wouldn't take this to a race track, that this may not have the tire grip that lets you challenge corners like you would in some other sporty cars at this price, or even less than. But around town where this really comes together is the commute, the daily grind, and not an environment like this. The fact that I can enjoy this experience is nice and I can still put the car out in it's expert, quote unquote, "stability control mode," I can still get a little bit of oversteer and correct it in a way that's enjoyable. But what I really think is, when it comes to sport coupes like this, people buy the car because what they think they want to do, and not what they actually want to do. I bet that most people who go get a C 63 or an M4 would be totally fine with this if they didn't know the difference in performance and weight. You get that throttle. When you start really pushing this thing through the corners, you see the tire grip isn't there, the understeer starts cropping up in places where you wouldn't want it to. You feel like this thing should be able to go through corners a bit more quickly before it starts giving up on the cornering balance. There it is, there it is. OK. Back to the straight line though. But the thing is, you're never going to be challenging corners like this when you're driving around town. You may goose it a bit on a freeway onramp, but that's really the extent of it. What you're really going to notice is the consistency with which this accelerates and how approachable it's cornering limits are. But when it comes to the refinement and drivability of the Lexus, that's where it really comes together. This is a luxury car experience with a nice sounding engine, with a satisfying transmission, with handling that isn't so sharp that it will bite you, but it is approachable enough to enjoy. What's nice to know about the RC F, though, is after all this time the changes it hasn't seen. It's got a new adaptive suspension underneath it, but it's still the same old car it was back in 2015. Where does the RC F go from here? That's an interesting question. I hope it maintains this style of engine. I don't need much more power. I'd like it to be lighter, of course. I would like it with a bit more tire grip on it. But beyond that, I like this experience a lot. This is pleasing, this is enjoyable, and if I were to drive this every day I think I'd be really happy with it overall. It's just a shame about how it looks. When it comes to luxury sports coupes like this RC F, it's really important that you be realistic with the things you want from the car. Though this car isn't as quick in a straight line and it isn't as sharp around a handling track as its competitors, let's be honest. Are you really going to take these cars to the racetrack? If you do, there are better options for this money, and cheaper. But if you're looking at a nice, luxurious daily driver that is satisfying because of how the engine reacts and how the transmission behaves, the RC F is a great pick. If you like what you saw, keep it tuned right here. Be sure to find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and be sure to visit edmunds.com. [MUSIC PLAYING]
2018 Lexus RC F Review
Edmunds Senior Writer Carlos Lago tests and reviews the 2018 Lexus RC F. Because this luxury performance-oriented coupe has been around for some time now, we already know that it's heavier than its competition and not as quick around a racetrack. But does that matter? To find out, we look at what the RC F gets right by delving into its interior and driving it at our test facility.
Features & Specs
Our experts’ favorite RC F safety features:
- Pre-Collision System
- Warns the driver of a possible impact with other cars or pedestrians. Can automatically apply the brakes if necessary.
- Lane Departure Alert with Keeping Assist
- Warns you when drifting out of your lane and intervenes with steering input if needed.
- Safety Connect
- Includes automatic collision notification, an emergency assist button and stolen-vehicle location services.
It's an era in which many new models have been put on strict diets, often shedding hundreds of pounds in the process. But the 2018 Lexus RC F is not one of them.
In fact, its extra weight, relative to that of other performance-oriented coupe competitors, is one of its major downsides. The good news is that for those who like the RC F's good looks and sporty demeanor, the extra poundage will largely be a nonissue.
That's because the RC F still offers strong acceleration and sharp handling, even if both fall well short of class-leading. The 467-horsepower V8 engine provides plenty of thrust: Zero to 60 mph takes just 4.6 seconds, and it has a great exhaust note to go with it. The transmission's quick upshifts are admirable, though downshifts can be jerky at times.
Quick steering is a plus, though its precision is a tad lacking, and the car's extra weight makes understeer a common problem, especially when you push hard. Strong, easily modulated brakes are a definite plus, though they tend to show some signs of fade under the most extreme use. In short, the RC F is exciting to look at and drive around town. It's less so if you're looking for the most finely tuned performance machine.
Inside the RC F, you'll find outstanding materials and a handsome design. The front seats are extremely comfortable (if you fit in them) and make a fine place to enjoy the RC F's engaging driving dynamics. Add the available 17-speaker Mark Levinson premium audio system, and you have a good excuse for taking the long way home.
Lexus offers the RC F in a single trim level. There are a handful of option packages, of course. We can recommend the Premium package, which is filled with LED headlights, automatic wipers, heated and ventilated seats, parking sensors and rear cross-traffic alert. The Performance package might sound appealing, but honestly it doesn't offer enough of what's advertised to warrant its extra cost.
There are other quibbles as well. The handling is hampered by all that weight, and some buyers could find the lack of a manual transmission disappointing. The rear seats are really seats in name only, offering so little room they should be considered more of a spacious package shelf for purses or gym bags. Finally, and perhaps most damningly, the Remote Touch tech interface you'll find on most RC Fs is distracting and downright infuriating to use.
All things considered, however, the 2018 Lexus RC F makes a fine and handsome sport coupe, even if its extra pounds prevent it from being the driving machine you might expect. Let Edmunds help you find the one that's right for you.
2018 Lexus RC F Overview
The 2018 Lexus RC F is offered in the following submodels: RC F Coupe. Available styles include 2dr Coupe (5.0L 8cyl 8A).
What do people think of the 2018 Lexus RC F?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2018 Lexus RC F and all its trim types. 0 Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2018 RC F.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2018 Lexus RC F and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2018 RC F featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our 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.
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Should I lease or buy a 2018 Lexus RC F?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.