2015 Lexus RC F

Lexus RC F Carbon is semi-race machine aimed at serious drivers who enjoy pushing themselves to their limits during track days.

Interestingly, the Lexus is powered by a naturally-aspirated engine, a 5.0-litre V8. The German machines in this high-performance category are rapidly moving in the direction of turbocharged engines. No matter how good a turbo engine is, it’s never going to have the virtually instantaneous throttle response offered by an un-blown powerplant.

The Lexus RS F coupe comes at a relatively modest price: $133,110 for the standard version and $147,110 for the RC F Carbon we reviewed. The Carbon has a carbon-fibre active rear wing, bonnet, roof panel and interior trim as well as alcantara seat fabric.

The Lexus RC range is designed from the ground up as a two-door sports coupe, Lexus goes to great lengths to point out this is not a sedan with a different back end.

The F differs from the others in the Lexus RC range by being wider, thanks to pumped guards front and rear; lower ride height, due to uprated sports suspension; and it’s longer because of the big frontal splitter and aero revisions to the tail.

2015 Lexus RC F

This Japanese sports coupe certainly looks the part, even more so when used as the Safety Car for this year’s V8Supercar season.

Lexus has taken the current fashion for big radiator grilles to new extremes. We find the front a little overpowering in the standard RC range, but it works well in the RC F.

Inside there are high quality materials, which even have some cues to the Lexus LFA supercar.

The electronic instruments are housed in a sporting binnacle and show different displays depending on the driver’s needs at the time. The tacho takes precedence in the centre of the binnacle and changes colour according to the driving mode selected; Eco, Normal, Sport, Sport Plus.

The big Lexus 5.0-litre V8 puts out 470 horsepower at 7100 revs (that’s 351 kW in metric numbers). Its top torque is 4800 to a high 5600 rpm. Those high revs indicating the disadvantage of non-turbo engines, they simple can’t be programmed to get bulk grunt at low revs in the manner of a turbo unit.

Transmission is from a sports tuned eight-speed unit that can be operated by paddle shifters when the mood takes you.

Naturally, drive is to the rear wheels, in this case by a torque vectoring differential to give the maximum in road grip.

2015 Lexus RC F 5.0-litre V8 engine

Lexus has long favoured Mark Levinson audio. The RC F uses a 835-Watt, 17-speaker system. It incorporates special technology to work with compressed sound sources such as MP3 for better playback quality. There’s Digital Audio Broadcast, Bluetooth with audio streaming and automatic phonebook transfer, iPod with voice control and USB connectivity.

Lexus RC F uses the Pre-Collision Safety System (PCS) systems that includes Pre-Collision Brake Assist and Pre-Collision Brake.

It has eight SRS airbags: a dual-stage driver’s airbag; dual-stage and dual-chamber front passenger airbag; driver and front passenger’s knee airbags; large front-seat side airbags; and full-length side curtain airbags.

Lexus has produced a stunning V8 engine, one that comes with a Jekyll and Hyde personality. Quiet and peaceful when pottering around town at low speeds and light throttle openings, very Lexus you might say. Slam open the throttle hard to get the revs into the upper regions and it becomes a loud aggressive beast.

A semi-race car in fact, hence the decision to launch the RC F at the legendary Mount Panorama track behind Bathurst. It will be interesting to see how many owners take advantage of their cars personality and give it a real workout during track days.

The zero to 100 km/h time of 4.5 seconds is good without being great.

Brembo brakes, with ventilated discs at all four wheels, help keep all that power under control.

The RC F is relatively heavy for this class, possibly to add sound deadening that’s a feature of all Lexus cars. Maybe it could have been trimmed for this model, though in all honesty many buyers will demand luxury just as much as performance.

The front seats bolsters provide the sort of good side support that’s needed in a sports machine. Comfort is good, but there’s no doubt it leans in the direction of sports in the eternal comfort versus sports equation. Exactly the way it should be in our opinion, but try it for yourself on your private test drive.

Keen to get away from its public image of designing only smooth, ultra-quiet cars Lexus has embarked on a program of developing high-performance coupes and supercars. The latter, the ultra-expensive Lexus LFA is out of reach for the great majority of us but Lexus RC is an excellent stepping stone until the lottery winnings arrive.


RC F 5.0-litre petrol two-door coupe: $133,000 (automatic)
RC F Carbon 5.0-litre petrol two-door coupe: $147,110 (automatic)
Note: Prices do not include government or dealer charges. Contact your local Lexus dealer for driveaway pricing.

ABS Brakes: Standard in all models
Automatic Transmission: Standard in all models
Cruise Control: Standard in all models
Dual Front Airbags: Standard in all models
Front Side Airbags: Standard in all models
Electronic Stability Program: Standard in all models
Rear Parking Sensors: Standard in all models
Reversing Camera: Standard in all models
USB/Auxiliary Audio Inputs: Standard in all models
Bluetooth: Standard in all models
Steering Wheel Mounted Controls: Standard in all models

SPECIFICATIONS (Lexus RC F 5.0-litre petrol two-door coupe)

Engine Capacity: 4.969 litres
Configuration: V8
Head Design: DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Compression Ratio: 12.3:1
Bore/Stroke: 94.0 x 89.5 mm
Maximum Power: 351 kW @ 7100 rpm
Maximum Torque: 530 Nm @ 4800-5600 rpm

Driven Wheels: Rear
Manual Transmission: Not offered
Automatic Transmission: Eight-speed
Final Drive Ratio: Not supplied

Length: 4705 mm
Wheelbase: 2730 mm
Width: 1845 mm (with mirrors folded)
Height: 1390 mm
Turning Circle: 10.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 1860 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 66 litres
Towing Ability: Not supplied
Boot Capacity: Not supplied

Front Suspension: Double wishbones with high-mount upper arms, coil springs, gas-filled shock absorbers, stabiliser bar. Adjustable Variable Suspension
Rear Suspension: Multilink, coil springs, gas-filled shock absorbers, stabiliser bar. Adjustable Variable Suspension.
Front Brakes: Ventilated disc
Rear Brakes: Ventilated disc

0-100 km/h Acceleration: 4.5 seconds

Fuel Type: Petrol 98RON
Fuel Consumption – Combined Cycle (ADR 81/02): 10.9 L/100 km

Greenhouse Rating: 5/10
Air Pollution Rating: 7.5/10

Four years/unlimited km

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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