- Reaction score
Just over a 1.5 seconds improvement over the RCF (TVD, non-carbon) and almost the same as the C63S AMG and the 1:37.8 of the standard M4
There's a lotThere's a lot to like underneath the Lexus RC F's rather, er, distinctive bodywork. As a luxury muscle coupe with a naturally aspirated V-8 for a heart, it is still impressively high tech, sumptuously appointed for everyday comfort, and nicely composed when pushed hard. Lexus dialed up the RC F's excitement for 2020 with a new Track Edition and a host of small updates across the lineup. While those changes succeed in making the standard RC F a touch better to drive, they fail to sufficiently address its oppressive curb weight.
HIGHS: Soulful V-8, improved cornering grip, excellent ride quality, comfortable and luxurious interior.
We've already driven the drift-happy RC F Track Edition, which costs $97,825 and adds carbon-fiber body panels and aerodynamic appendages as well as carbon-ceramic brake rotors. Additional weight-saving measures that it shares with the regular model—including hollow half-shafts and more aluminum in its suspension—help the Track Edition drop a significant 253 pounds versus the last RC F we tested, a 2015 model. The net result is a 3.2-second quicker lap time around Virginia International Raceway's Grand Course. We expect its other performance metrics to also improve once we get one to the test track.
As for the regular RC F tested here, however, its weight reduction is almost nonexistent. At 4017 pounds, our test car is only 31 pounds lighter than before and remains roughly 400 pounds heavier than a BMW M4. The RC F's 5.0-liter V-8 is as smooth revving and sweet sounding as ever, emitting a prominent intake honk at lower rpm that gives way to a burly snarl as it approaches its 7250-rpm redline. Minor changes, including a lighter intake manifold, help it produce 472 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque—increases of 5 horses and 6 pound-feet. Yet, as much as we enjoy the sound and direct response of a naturally aspirated V-8, it's easy to see why most manufacturers have replaced them with smaller turbocharged powerplants that unfurl their maximum torque just off idle. In the RC F, you have to spin its 5.0-liter mill to a lofty 4800 revs for it to reach peak twist. Which is fun but not necessarily quick, particularly in a car as heavy as this Lexus.
Despite a shortened final-drive ratio (3.13:1 versus the previous 2.97:1) and the best efforts from the snappy, Aisin-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission, the RC F's V-8 takes a beat to wake up from a good poke of its accelerator. This is partly because Lexus relaxed the engine's throttle tuning for a more linear feel, but the recalibration makes the RC F feel slower than its 472 horsepower suggests. While we expect the Track Edition to join virtually all of the RC F's competitors in the sub-four-second-to-60-mph club, the standard RC F misses the cut with a 4.1-second time—a mere 0.1 second quicker than the previous car. Similarly, its unimpressive 12.7-second quarter-mile pass at 113 mph is about the same as before. Although electronic launch control has been added for the new model year, our quickest acceleration runs were made without it.
The RC F's Sport drive mode is our preferred setup for spirited cruising, as it maintains a luxury-car comportment yet slightly sharpens the responses of the drivetrain and brings a bit more engine and exhaust noise versus the standard setting. You have to step up to Sport+ for the RC F to feel athletic. Regardless of the mode, the eight-speed transmission shifts quickly and smoothly, although the V-8's dearth of torque at low rpm can cause the gearbox to hunt for the best gear ratio. To keep the V-8 on boil through corners, we often found ourselves manually tapping the responsive shift paddles on the back of the steering wheel. While we never tired of winding out the RC F's engine, doing so did drop our average fuel economy to 16 mpg, the same as the EPA's city estimate. Cruising on our 75-mph highway loop returned a far more impressive 27 mpg, which is 3 mpg better than its federal highway rating.
The RC F's drive modes also control its adaptive dampers, which offer a considerable range of ride tiffness. The Sport+ setting produces a lot of vertical heaving on poorly maintained roads, but overall ride comfort and body control are excellent. There's no hiding the RC F's girth on a twisty back road, but stiffer bushings for the rear subframe and the electrically assisted steering rack do help it feel more precise over undulations and quick transitions.
All 2020 RC Fs receive refreshed front and rear bumpers, headlights, and taillights, plus Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tires in place of the previous Pilot Super Sports. Our test car also featured the optional torque-vectoring differential (TVD), which is a $1250 more than the standard Torsen limited-slip diff. Although Lexus's engineers preferred the directness of the standard rear end for the RC F Track Edition, we've already proven that the TVD setup is the quicker way to go in the regular model. The system has three settings (Standard, Slalom, and Track) that are controlled via a button on the center console, with Track providing the most noticeable improvement to the car's agility, especially on corner exits. Aided by the new Michelins, our example posted 0.98 g of grip around the skidpad, which is up from the previous model's 0.95 g. However, its so-so 163-foot stop from 70 mph is nine feet longer than before.
The RC F's interior largely carries over for 2020 and warrants few complaints. Its cushy-yet-supportive front seats are all-day comfortable, and the cabin's overall execution is satisfying to both touch and look at. The driving position is excellent, the two rear seats fit actual adult humans, and driver conveniences abound, although Lexus's distracting touchpad infotainment interface is still present.
At its $65,925 base price, the 2020 RC F is compelling as a V-8 luxury coupe but less so as an outright performance machine. However, its appeal is far less convincing at our test car's $89,654 asking price, with the bulk of that upcharge coming from the $11,400 Performance package (carbon-fiber roof, spoiler, and exterior accents) that's bundled with the otherwise separate $5350 Premium package of convenience features. While that's more than we'd be willing to spend on any RC F, the even-pricier Track Edition does showcase this Lexus's potential when it's burdened with less mass. We just wish more of the Track Edition's mass-reduction tricks would trickle down to the standard car.Specifications
2020 Lexus RC F
front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2+2-passenger, 2-door coupe
PRICE AS TESTED
$89,060 (base price: $65,925)
DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, port and direct fuel injection
303 in3, 4969 cm3
472 hp @ 7100 rpm
395 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
Suspension (F/R): control arms/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 15.0-in vented disc/13.6-in vented disc
Tires: Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, F: 255/35R-19 (92Y) R: 275/35R-19 (96Y)
Wheelbase: 107.5 in
Length: 185.2 in
Width: 72.6 in
Height: 54.7 in
Passenger volume: 75 ft3
Trunk volume: 10 ft3
Curb weight: 4017 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 4.1 sec
100 mph: 10.0 sec
130 mph: 17.0 sec
150 mph: 24.6 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 4.5 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.0 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.3 sec
1/4 mile: 12.7 sec @ 113 mph
Top speed (mfr's claim): 170 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 163 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 323 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.98 g
Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rolloutof 0.3 sec.
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 16 mpg
75-mph highway driving: 27 mpg
Highway range: 460 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 19/16/24 mpg
Thanks for the updates. Sounds like a tire switch to super sports or even cups would produce even better track times.My observations:
Acceleration is about the same as the pre-refresh RCF. The taller gearing of the pre-refresh RCF gives a faster 0-150 mph by 0.5 seconds though. The skidpad numbers are very impressive at 0.98g. These are the best handling numbers tested for a Lexus since the LFA.
Was surprised about Lexus' changes to initial throttle response in sport+ in 2020 which is what I love the most about my pre-fresh RCF in sport+. The throttle response is savage and brutal. It snaps and opens so quickly that my wife hit her head on the headrest a few times.
With the PS4S XL versions I have, there is no side-to-side roll on sidewalls so the car feels light on its feet in hard transitions as the sidewalls resist weight. It darts very quickly and shrinks with instant responses. Lexus should have given it reinforced sidewalls instead of the SL sidewalls, but Lexus chose comfort over response in these RCF-spec PS4S tires.
True. My experiences with the OEM Super Sports were underwhelming as a performance tire. Good traction, but the sidewalls had too much "give" even after inflating them to 41 psi rear and 39 psi front. Lexus put PS4S tires now, which are better than the Super Sports since they generate so much more grip close to 1.00 g. However, the sidewall issue is still there as they also don't have the reinforced sidewalls (extra load sidewalls).Thanks for the updates. Sounds like a tire switch to super sports or even cups would produce even better track times.
Really odd the stock RC F had super sports but not the Track Edition.
Don’t forget the Track Edition does offer launch control.
The Track Edition really is a marvel to lose all that weight this day and age.Seeing what Lexus could achieve with the "heavy" and "underpowered" RCF, Lexus is really on par with Porsche in performance efficiency. If Lexus made a lightweight sports car with 2UR-GSE, it would reveal the full potential and true qualities of this engine, and create a true Porsche rival.
The RCF is unbelievingly fast for being so heavy and "torqless".