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ComparisonsCompetitorsLexus RC F: First Generation

Motor Trend Comparison: Lexus RC F vs BMW M4

Lexus RC F vs. BMW M4

Motor Trend has published a comparison between the Lexus RC F & BMW M4, and it’s a total mess of conflicting information:

We preferred the Lexus around town, as it’s a more interesting car to sit in thanks to its wealth of technical and visual details. The styling may be a large miss, but we admire the effort. And we were genuinely impressed with the ground the RC F made up on the racetrack. It offers performance similar to the M4’s, but it feels friendlier.

Alas, we picked the M4 when it came down to the car we’d rather take home. Its engine lacks the Lexus’ aural satisfaction, but its powerband over-delivers. Its suspension works excellently on a bumpy racetrack and isn’t exceptionally rough on normal roads. Overall, it offers a higher performance envelope than the Lexus, and while it might take more time to get accustomed to, we found more engagement and satisfaction in the process.

Let’s see — the RC F is easier to drive, handles better on public roads (where 99% of all owners will drive), costs $10,000 USD less, has better technology and a more impressive cabin. On the other hand, the BMW has a powerband that “over-delivers” and “offers a higher performance envelope”.

How does the M4’s “higher performance envelope” over-deliver? By returning a track time just .32 seconds faster than the RC F:

Lexus RC F vs. BMW M4

The M4 performs (marginally) better than the RC F on the track, it’s right there in the numbers. The testing is not the issue.

No, the issue is that a major automotive magazine has decided that a half-second and subjective opinions are worth more to their readers than near-identical performance, $10,000, and better everyday driving comfort, technology and utility.

Great photos, though.

Read the full Motor Trend Lexus RC F vs BMW M4 Comparison

Comments
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    Thomas Cahoon
  • December 8, 2014
curious to see if any of the mags will run a comparo without the carbon brakes. since it will be more of a true comparison cost wise. how many people will actually buy that upgrade anyway? will the RCF come out on top on the track with that comparo? hmmmmmm
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    Joe
  • December 8, 2014
They chose the M4 because most Americans who know nth about cars hate Lexus for creating luxurious cars that KO-ed their beloved Lincoln and Cadillac. So these people here in MT dare not go against the majority crowd and pick the RC-F although I bet they loved it. Imagine how the American readers would react when they find out a Lexus had just defeated a BMW sports car. Forgive these gutless people.
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    BOSS
  • December 8, 2014
Typical Motor Junk.
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      Tinhinnh
    • December 8, 2014
    No wonder they are begging people to subscribe their mags.
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      Tragic Bronson
    • December 25, 2014
    I have been subscribing for a couple of years...for free! nice to have something to read in the bathroom
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    Hakopf
  • December 8, 2014
Because motor trend is bmw biased
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      wasapasserby
    • December 9, 2014
    Which is why the GS won the last comparison. Please. You're all sounding like the butthurt whining BMW fans from *that* comparison.
J
Wow, Krew. I have never seen you write so passionately, and that is not to say that your writing lacks passion. However, the ending was rather sincere and direct. I like that!
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    deusex
  • December 8, 2014
I think they are afraid to admit that Lex is just a better choice.
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    Pweinste
  • December 8, 2014
But the Lexus is seriously ugly
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      corradoMR2
    • December 8, 2014
    Even if that may be the case, a car comparison should never be based on (subjective) looks. MT obviously factored that into the decision.
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      NVlaar
    • December 9, 2014
    R U MAD?
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    kr_metal
  • December 8, 2014
I gotta agree with Motor Trend on this one. Lexus dropped the ball slightly by making it so heavy. Without the need for engineering for a convertible version anymore, the next RC could be well worth it.
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      Zipman
    • December 9, 2014
    The fact that we are even talking about a Lexus coupe being almost equal (or maybe even better) to a BMW M4 is amazing. It shows how far they have come as a producer of performance vehicles in quite a short time. At this rate of improvement they will overtake their German competitors very soon.
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      codenamejanrei
    • December 9, 2014
    The fact that it is heavy still makes it deliver a very good performance, and what if RC F is lighter? It might eat the M4 alive.
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    Don Colione
  • December 8, 2014
These biased comparos in favor of BMW have been taking place since the late 90's. I have had subscriptions to the big three (MT, Road & Track, Car and Driver) since then and have noticed how they almost always do this to Toyota and Lexus; even in this case when this car is imho clearly the better value than the BMW. If it were an American or German brand it would have won, given the same variables. I am now convinced that they are scared of Toyota beating the americans and germans on all fronts, openly; which they still are. Now that im older, it is clear how and why, they are fudging the results. Oh well, thank God for the internet and other unbiased sources of information like the AMCI test which clearly shows which car is better, performance wise. We don't have to depend on these dinosaur, bought out print mags anymore for objective material; cause clearly we aren't gonna get that anytime soon. PS - Lol who wants to bet when the next M4 comes out, how they will be saying how hard this one was to control, sound sucked, or otherwise. They only tell the flaws when the new one comes out.
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      wasapasserby
    • December 9, 2014
    Yes, and the last gen Toyota Camry beat out the Porsche 911 to win Car of the Year
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      lafars
    • December 9, 2014
    someone who worked for AMCI testing "I did driving events on racetracks and vip events where you let the invited vips drive the cars. Obviously, you're supposed to explain why Audi's S8 is so good and why the rest is not good. I stated everything objectively which the customer appreciates much more than the "All hail my brand" fanatic marketing bullshit. The events are always done extremely well and luxurious - no expenses are spared."
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    codenamejanrei
  • December 9, 2014
"The styling may be a large miss" Seriously Motor Trend? Many people likes the very aggressive spindle grille compared to that boring front end of M4, especially the very striking rear of RC F. Motor Trend really hates Lexus with all of their reviews.
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      Tinhinnh
    • December 9, 2014
    If styling is a big factor in their ranking, then they should include reliability/cost of ownership too.
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      Tragic Bronson
    • December 25, 2014
    In the automotive media, those things don't matter, especially when it comes to luxury vehicles. Since 95% of them are leased, and they won't be subject to maintenance bills. That's "America".
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    Troy Howard
  • December 9, 2014
BIAS is written all over that article. The main points Krew makes (btw Krew, I preordered my NX yesterday; YEAH!)...anyhoo, the main points he makes regarding what MT says about how the Lexus is better in almost every other point, that a normal non-test driving, helmet wearing consumer would consider, I think is what should be looked at. Lexus IS a Luxury car first and foremost. Not a 21 - 45 year old racing/performance nuts vehicle. I also think it's a beautiful vehicle as well. Oh, that last comment was bias...
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      RAL
    • December 9, 2014
    Congratulations on your new NX. Saw the NX F Sport in black last night at our dealer. Much more impressive in real life! Can't wait to see it in Atomic Silver . . .
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      Troy Howard
    • December 9, 2014
    I was able to sit in a base model. The dealership did not have an F Sport. However, that is what I ordered in the Atomic Silver, Red interior. It is much more impressive in person as you said.
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    TMG
  • December 9, 2014
Hope to see another comparison of RC F now with the new ATS-V Coupe.
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    wasapasserby
  • December 9, 2014
@krew Since you're not familiar with racing, it's worth pointing out that on a short track such as Willow Springs (only 1.55 miles), 3/10ths of a second is a sizeable difference. Longer tracks, such as the F1 circuit in Austin (3.4 miles), will show a much larger gap of several seconds or more. A large number of M4 owners do track their cars, and while the cheaper RC F is good car on its own, for a daily driver/weekend racer, the M4 is a better car.
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      Don Colione
    • December 9, 2014
    I'll bite troll... What do you have to say about the OBJECTIVE, AMCI testing video, which shows the RC F being 2 seconds better on the track than the M4, despite being heavier, cheaper etc....? It was the post before this one, you should check it out....
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      wasapasserby
    • December 10, 2014
    Not sure how MSRP would affect track time, but okay... Loved the quote at the end of the AMCI video: "Beating the others by even two tenths of a second would be impressive - nearly two full seconds is something special." Truly an impressive result, only slightly tarnished because AMCI built a track to the RC-F's strengths (hence, custom-designed, CLOSED track). The M4 requires a more skilled driver to lay the power down due to its low-end torque, while the RC-F has a more linear torque curve. This video is a good illustration of how the M4 is faster but needs more driver input: http://lexusenthusiast.com/2014/10/30/video-motor-trend-compares-lexus-rc-f-bmw-m4/
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      Don Colione
    • December 11, 2014
    You mentioned MSRP, it applies in the value equation... I'm not how sure how they "built a track to the RC-F's strenghts", if the M4 is the outright better car, as you stated? Stop drinking the BMW kool aid, please. The AMCI had cars with similar levels of equipment, and is a certified tester, which means no bias or uneven tactics were used. In the motor trend video, they equipped the M4 with unfair options. After a day at the track the Lexus' brakes were probably even faded, compared to similar laps with a CCB M4; major advantage to M4. With all that, and a 400+ pound weight difference, low end torque and whatever, the M4 is still MUCH, slower when similarly equipped, and only .3 sec with a BIASED motor trend test. That's pathetic. It needs WAY more driver input because that turbo engine is sacrificing control for "low-end torque". On the road that will spell disaster for a rookie in the wet, possibly dry, and even be dangerous for a pro, at speed. Driving on the road is a whole lot different than the track, and oversteer on the road, is. not. good. Being that it costs more, sounds worse, looks worse, worse interior, slower... it shows that the M4 is beat this time. On Lexus first time out no less, for this type of coupe. Just like first time out with the LFA, Nurburgring Record. After Ferrari, Porsche and the rest have had decades to perfect. Wait until the RC F is perfected, if it is already doing this. and give up the BMW brainwash. Their only real competitive advantage in the past was having the Nurburgring for development. Now that others have found out about it, they are no longer the sportiest. That was all they had. Now even cadillac, toyota and others have found out about it, caught up, and now have overtaken. Because sportiness was all they needed. BMW's time is over.
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      MD
    • December 9, 2014
    You definitely are a troll. Virginia international raceway is a big track. One of the biggest in USA. BMW M4 got trashed by heavy, GT cruisers like E63 AMG and S63 AMG in the "Car and driver lightning lap". The old '10 IS-F was only 5 seconds slower on a large track than the new BMW M4. It is well known that the RC-F is a lot faster than the IS-F around the race track. RC-F would have no problems being within the same ballpark (give or take a few tenths) around Virginia international raceway.
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      wasapasserby
    • December 10, 2014
    Did you even read your post? You practically agreed, word for word with mine. The 2011 IS-F and the 2015 M4 are separated by 4.7 seconds over a 3.3 miles course (VIR). On a shorter track, like Willow Springs, that difference narrows to tenths of a second. Also, that "thrashing" of the M4 by the E63 AMG is hardly so: 0.6 seconds.
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      lafars
    • December 11, 2014
    You should compare the old IS-F to the old BMW M3 Apples to apples you know
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      Shanghai
    • December 11, 2014
    You said "Willow Springs (only 1.55 miles)" and "3.3 miles course (VIR)", so Willow Springs about half length of VIR, then how the time difference narrows from 4.7 secs to "tenth of a second"? For example 5/10ths of a second is only 1/10th of the time gap, but the circuit is half the length. To make that happen might need a circuit that has extremely rare characteristics, and I don't even think that's gonna happen. And I realise that if you are a troll, I might have wasted my time.
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      gsgill
    • December 12, 2014
    Wow, your math is amazing. Lets see, the M3 does about 7:55 on the Nurburgring. The M4 does 1.23 on the MT course. Lets say the M4 can do 7:50 on the Nurburgring. So if all things are equal (which they most certainly are not), we can guess that the Nurburgring course is about 6 times larger. So then 6*.6= 3.6. So on the Nurburgring, we can estimate that the LFC is at most 3.6 seconds behind the M4. I don't know how you got your silly 4.7 seconds slower on VIR. Its like you didn't expect anyone to actually know how to do elementary math. I think the bias is most obvious when reviewers blatantly gloss over reliability. When you have one vehicle (BMW) that is consistently at the bottom of reliability versus one that is consistently at the top (by a very large margin), and produces effectively the same performance, it is hard to see how the BMW always seems to be given the win. Even when the Lexus wins, you are left wondering why it didn't win by a larger margin! It is telling of engineering competence IMO. Lexus can make a car that costs less, has more standard features, performs pretty much the same, and will rarely ever leave you stuck at the mechanic. Plus it sounds better, feels better as a daily commuter. IMHO, looks way better. I mean, nothing is more boring than a BMW which has looked the same for longer than I've been alive. Car reviewers must be old men, who long for the 'good old days' of their youth or something, and BMW gives them some sort of nostalgia. I can't think of any other explanation.

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