Sporty intentions, but short of greatness.
The Lexus RC F is the sporty, Japanese alternative for those uninterested in the established German crop that is BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi. And with a 2019 update that includes new looks, some added tech, and a minor weight loss, it's more of an enticing outlier option than ever.
Unfortunately for us, the 2019 Lexus RC F doesn't hit dealers until later this year (you can read all about the standard 2019 RC here). But while that means this review of the 2018 RC F is already dated, it turns out there are still some compelling reasons to consider last year's model.
Love it or hate it, the Lexus RC F's “spindle grille” is eye-catching. It looks unlike anything else (outside of Lexus) on the road. The sporty coupe is even more head-turning in the Lemonhead-esque Flare Yellow paint job pictured here, which accentuates the daunting black grille further. We wouldn't necessarily say the RC F is “pretty,” but it's definitely striking. The 2019 model looks a bit better, though.
Yes, we're aware that Lexus pumps fake engine sound through the speakers. A lot of companies do that. But even with augmentation, the RC F in Sport and Sport+ modes, at full throttle, sounds ridiculously good (if a bit artificial). It's an intoxicating noise that encourages you to push the car to its limits.
For its aggressive looks and raucous exhaust note, the RC F is uncharacteristically comfortable. The highly configurable leather bucket seats absorb everything. And you'll want to spring for optional heated and cooling functions, too. Press a button and the functions quickly heat and cool the leather.
The RC F's naturally aspirated, 467-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 looks good on paper. Where other companies look to turbos, Lexus engineers keep the naturally aspirated V8 alive here – we commend them. But this engine shows its age with a significant lack of low-end torque. It takes the RC F 4.4 seconds to hit 60, while turbocharged competitors like the BMW M4 (3.9 seconds) and Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe (3.7 seconds) get there much quicker.
The fact that Lexus had to build a lightweight Track Edition is a sign of just how much the RC F weighs. It’s fat. Tipping the scales at 3,958 pounds, the RC F is the heaviest option in its class. The M4 with an automatic is a significant 414 pounds lighter (and lighter still with a manual) than the RC F, and the C63 is 129 pounds down, respectively. The RC F's portly size is damning enough in theory, but even more egregious when you feel all 3,958 pounds on road. The RC F isn't anywhere near as nimble as its competitors, and its mass has a lot to do with it.
Lexus just can't get its infotainment right. And the RC F is no different. The same frustrating, hard-to-use touchpad carries over here. The screen itself is fine, and the graphics look good but attempting to navigate it is maddening. Even more damning, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t available for 2018. Both arrive with the 2019 update.