The problem with the Lexus RC F...

Gecko

Administrator
Messages
4,079
Reactions
9,419
This post is a bit satirical, so bear with me, but there is some truth here too.

I daily drive a GX 460 and as much as I love it, I'm not sure "thrilling" or "fun to drive" would be among the terms I use to describe it. As I've settled into the GX over the last year, I am starting to make a plan to purchase a sporty vehicle or coupe that would offset the GX's well... challenges. Something fun to drive before everything is EV and the joy of driving becomes so digital.

I've primarily been going back and forth between an IS 500 and LC 500, but there have been some other thoughts as well. I want to keep this purchase in the Toyota family and the new GR86 is one of their best looking sports coupes ever, IMO. I love it, but it is a bit small for me, and I'd prefer to get something with a V8 since they're almost extinct. Then there's the Supra, and even with my reservations about owning a BMW product long term, it's not particularly comfortable for me and a little bit... visceral.

I loved the IS 500 prototype I had last year and that car has been stuck in my mind ever since. Since we have the GX and a Camry XSE V6, I really don't need another 4 door vehicle, but I'm not opposed either. The sticker price of an IS 500 as I'd want would be around $63k which is more than fair for what it offers - I love the car. My only challenge is that my other half had a 2014 IS 350 F SPORT for 4 years and feels like the new one really isn't different enough to put in the garage. I don't wholly disagree.

The LC I'd want stickers around $104k - almost double the IS 500, but most of us would probably agree the LC 500 is a car unlike any other, and worth the premium. After tossing LC 500s around Eagles Canyon Raceway last year and Road Atlanta earlier this year, my love affair with the car is strong but financially planning for a $104k car is very different from a $63k one.

So that got me to thinking: Isn't there something in between that would be a coupe and a little more "special" than the IS 500, and a little less expensive than the LC 500? So that brought me to RC Fs and used GS Fs. The RC F... hmm. While the RC F has never been a media darling, I do still like it and it comes with a V8. And it's a true Lexus product - not a BMW or a Subaru in Toyota clothing. That is appealing to me.

So I got to building RC Fs on Lexus.com and... I had a bit of sticker shock. Let me preface this by saying I know times have changed and inflation is real, but I remember when the RC F came out and it was the sub-$70k M3 hunter with Lexus reliability and a burly V8. Most of them were $63-68k and it felt like a lot of car for that much money.

What changed?

A $67K base MSRP all these years later is understandable, but for that price, you only get white or black exterior. USB 2.0, Infrared or any other color requires a minimum $7k upcharge to the Premium Package or an $18k upcharge to the Carbon Package. The Premium Package adds heated steering wheel, actual leather interior (base car is Nuluxe?), parking assistance sensors, heated and ventilated seats and power steering column. Even now with the Premium Package, you only get two interior seating options - black or black and white - and one interior trim option - silver carbon fiber. Anything other than black or white requires upgrading to the Carbon Package for another $11k, which I wouldn't do, so we are now up to $74k just to have ventilated seats, parking sensors and an exterior color other than white or black. Not used to this type of "nickel and diming" from Lexus, but okay...

Gotta have Mark Levinson - that's another $2,750 bringing us up to $77k. Didn't realize this price would still have the base single projector headlights, so let's of course add the triple LEDs for $1,160. Now we're at $78k. Torque Vectoring Diff is probably something most people would leave off, but for $1,250, I'd say throw it in. Add a rear spoiler, trunk mat and illuminated door sills and we are now over $80k.

I realize I'm really in the weeds here, but the RC F is no longer a value of any sort. The M4 starts at $72k and the M4 Competition starts at $75k. The Mercedes-AMG C43 coupe starts at $60k and the E53 coupe starts at $77k. The RC F costs ~$80k just to get any color other than white or black, nice headlights and a good sound system. If you want to leave off ML audio, triple beam LEDs and the TVD, the deed can be done for around $76k but... the RC F is not a lot of car for the money at that price.

Maybe I haven't been paying enough attention to the RC F and didn't realize how much pricing had changed. And I'm sure even at the German base prices above, there are still lots of options to be added that will increase MSRP. However, what is Lexus doing with this car? It feels to me like they're either intentionally trying not to build and sell them or they've lost their minds. Which is it?

For someone like me, $60-80k is a sweet spot for a new sporty coupe, but at $80k as built (again, just to get basic stuff like Infrared or USB 2.0, ML audio and upgraded headlights), I'd be inclined to spend $20k less for a Supra or IS 500, or $20k more for an LC 500. The RC F is just sitting in no man's land right now, and there's no value at that price, IMO.

Maybe I'm missing something?
 

ssun30

Expert
Messages
2,704
Reactions
6,225
Lexus USA get the worst customization of all main markets. I was surprised when I recently tried to shop a Lexus in U.S. I have almost no flexibility of choice and have to get whatever generic combination the dealer gets. The only RC F available in my area was a Fuji Speedway Edition in white. For that reason I chose to stay away with this brand. German brands are much more accommodating to my personal needs.

This is the configurator for base Lexus RC F in Japan:
JP.png
The only color you don't get is the yellow. There are three wheel choices instead of just one. Interior is semi-aniline leather in base trim with silver fiber and optional carbon fiber. The best thing is they don't force you to add on a package when you choose certain color combinations, I was extremely annoyed when trying to configure my desired LS on Lexus USA website because of this. The shopping experience was very negative as I feel every step they are trying to get more money from me.

Lexus has very low volume in Japan yet has the most flexible customization options. The "LC Bespoke Series" in U.S. is just a money grab program for things they already offer for no extra charge in Japan. Even in China I was able to actually order any vehicle configuration given on the Catalogue, again without being forced to add on packages. Plus dealers are willing to accommodate to any special demands like adding Mark Levinson on base models for a small extra charge, because they know that's a must-have for almost every customer.
 
Last edited:

Will1991

Moderator
Messages
1,384
Reactions
2,823
I would go for the LC, it’s a no brainer for me.
I’ve had the privilege to seat inside one, it’s amazing! The RC F is a tremendous car but it lacks the LC interior.

If I were in such a position, I would try to get the last NA V8 MY of the LC. I’m sure Lexus will keep improving it and knowing I would have the best of the last NA V8 Lexus coupe without any electrification…
Just imagine being able to look at your LC knowing that after that Lexus went in a whole different direction, and take it for a night drive.
 

internalaudit

Admirer
Messages
928
Reactions
991
Lexus USA get the worst customization of all main markets. I was surprised when I recently tried to shop a Lexus in U.S. I have almost no flexibility of choice and have to get whatever generic combination the dealer gets. The only RC F available in my area was a Fuji Speedway Edition in white. For that reason I chose to stay away with this brand. German brands are much more accommodating to my personal needs.

This is the configurator for base Lexus RC F in Japan:
View attachment 5844
The only color you don't get is the yellow. There are three wheel choices instead of just one. Interior is semi-aniline leather in base trim with silver fiber and optional carbon fiber. The best thing is they don't force you to add on a package when you choose certain color combinations, I was extremely annoyed when trying to configure my desired LS on Lexus USA website because of this. The shopping experience was very negative as I feel every step they are trying to get more money from me.

Lexus has very low volume in Japan yet has the most flexible customization options. The "LC Bespoke Series" in U.S. is just a money grab program for things they already offer for no extra charge in Japan. Even in China I was able to actually order any vehicle configuration given on the Catalogue, again without being forced to add on packages. Plus dealers are willing to accommodate to any special demands like adding Mark Levinson on base models for a small extra charge, because they know that's a must-have for almost every customer.
I thought you drove an ES Hybrid? Didn't know you switched to a German car.

Interesting.
 

internalaudit

Admirer
Messages
928
Reactions
991
People complaint about Porsche nickel and diming its customes.

Heck, the only add-ons I want are:

Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus
Acoustic glass
14-way seats / memory
Bose sound system (The Burmester is too expensive for my blood)

Those can be had for less than $8,000 CAD last time I checked. It's still a better value to me than having to pay $12,000 for the highest trim and still not get torque vectoring or sound insulating glass. I think only Porsche (among mainstream) allows for such customization but for those who know what they want, it could cost less to go with a Porsche than a competing brands' top trim.
 

NXracer

Admirer
Messages
926
Reactions
653
People complaint about Porsche nickel and diming its customes.

Heck, the only add-ons I want are:

Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus
Acoustic glass
14-way seats / memory
Bose sound system (The Burmester is too expensive for my blood)

Those can be had for less than $8,000 CAD last time I checked. It's still a better value to me than having to pay $12,000 for the highest trim and still not get torque vectoring or sound insulating glass. I think only Porsche (among mainstream) allows for such customization but for those who know what they want, it could cost less to go with a Porsche than a competing brands' top trim.
We give Lexus grief for not giving customers more control of options in lieu of packages.
Is it nickel and dimming if its labeled as the pursuit of the unique build?
/s

But to the RC-F, its role in the lineup is as a talking point, that Lexus still cares about the F level clientele regardless of sales performance. And to be frank, Lexus just does not have anything in the immediate pipeline that can take over the mantle and thus it must solider on. The F brand momentum is still a thing of concern.
 
Last edited:

internalaudit

Admirer
Messages
928
Reactions
991
We give Lexus grief for not giving customers more control of options in lieu of packages.
Is it nickel and dimming if its labeled as the pursuit of the unique build?
/s

But to the RC-F, its role in the lineup is as a talking point, that Lexus still cares about the F level clientele regardless of sales performance. And to be frank, Lexus just does not have anything in the immediate pipeline that can take over the mantle and thus it must solider on. The F brand momentum is still a thing of concern.
Who's giving Lexus any grief for the lack of choices? We vote with our money and today, there is not a lot of brand loyalty among consumers. What Toyota has going for it is reliability, build quality and relatively inexpensive upkeep. Some people will prioritize that over anything else.

In my example, it is clear that Lexus should be offering sone options like torque vectoring in its sportier models. RCF does have that, so did the GSF, but most Lexus don't. Most people don't care about TVD but I have read enough about it that I want one in a BEV.
 

NXracer

Admirer
Messages
926
Reactions
653
Who's giving Lexus any grief for the lack of choices? We vote with our money and today, there is not a lot of brand loyalty among consumers. What Toyota has going for it is reliability, build quality and relatively inexpensive upkeep. Some people will prioritize that over anything else.

In my example, it is clear that Lexus should be offering sone options like torque vectoring in its sportier models. RCF does have that, so did the GSF, but most Lexus don't. Most people don't care about TVD but I have read enough about it that I want one in a BEV.
New Lexus owners, new and to be do complain that the ordering structure Lexus uses is quite rigid and lacking flexibility (some of that has been chiseled away due to the current market); its basically "take the option packages we give you, or go away." It does simplify the build line I assume very much, but it does not seem in line with the expectations of higher tier buyer who want to spec out their vehicles as they fit.

Reliability, build quality, and relatively inexpensive upkeep have been at the top for the Lexus RCF and I doubt Lexus would finalize a product that would not exceed their internal metrics on those USPs, but from a sales numbers perspective there does not appear to be a huge subset of buyers who prioritize those three specific things in the segment the RC-F competes in.
 

internalaudit

Admirer
Messages
928
Reactions
991
New Lexus owners, new and to be do complain that the ordering structure Lexus uses is quite rigid and lacking flexibility (some of that has been chiseled away due to the current market); its basically "take the option packages we give you, or go away." It does simplify the build line I assume very much, but it does not seem in line with the expectations of higher tier buyer who want to spec out their vehicles as they fit.

Reliability, build quality, and relatively inexpensive upkeep have been at the top for the Lexus RCF and I doubt Lexus would finalize a product that would not exceed their internal metrics on those USPs, but from a sales numbers perspective there does not appear to be a huge subset of buyers who prioritize those three specific things in the segment the RC-F competes in.

Starting at $87,550 for the RCF here in Canada, I don't think a lot of people who are really well-heeled (little debt, high income, high net worth) will choose it over the competition in the two-seater, track car category. That's mid-trim Porsche Cayman pricing already and there's more cachet to owning a Porsche than a Lexus. Even German cars that are tracked could be had for significantly less.

I am just throwing a conjecture because I would never be in the market for a two-seater (just too impractical for me) and not really interested in racing/tracking. I think many prospective car buyers who have a $90K CAD budget don't plan on a two-seater either nor do they want to track cars for enjoyment. That's probably why a vehicle like the RCF will never be a volume seller.

Many of the really affluent probably don't keep their cars for very long so the redeeming qualities of a Toyota/Lexus are lost. If they have have businesses, they probably lease their cars so they're always under warranty.

Update:

Now if Lexus builds a well-appointed BEV IS (or even NX-sized / etron Q4-sized CUV) with electric motor torque vectoring differential for $70K CAD or less, I'll be happy to order one in a few years at MSRP without even test driving one. I don't even need really quick charging speed (not good for the battery in the long-term), and 250 km winter driving distance will do (there will be gradual degradation but that's expected).

I think many people who are car people enough (read automotive news, test drives, posts on car forums) would like a blend of performance, reliability, and comfort. The car doesn't have to ace everything since that will drive the price up to stratospheric levels but really TVD is the next step in the performance/safety ladder. Most don't care whether their car has TVD but I surely want that if shopping for a new BEV.



Nissan’s latest sports car wanders into town wielding old ideas matched to an aging chassis. No hybrid. No torque-vectoring differentials.
 
Last edited:

mikeavelli

Moderator
Messages
5,778
Reactions
12,568
We give Lexus grief for not giving customers more control of options in lieu of packages.
Is it nickel and dimming if its labeled as the pursuit of the unique build?
/s

But to the RC-F, its role in the lineup is as a talking point, that Lexus still cares about the F level clientele regardless of sales performance. And to be frank, Lexus just does not have anything in the immediate pipeline that can take over the mantle and thus it must solider on. The F brand momentum is still a thing of concern.

Yeah internally USA is trying to show we have a great F fanbase here. You see the investment in Lexus Racing, the driving schools etc. It is tough as we now just have the RC F which is being raced but also is 8 years old. Obviously rumors of the next Lexus supercar are coming but that will be expensive even at it’s cheapest. Then there is the move to EV.

Hoping we get more F products soon. The other part is dealers have to be interested in selling and people gotta buy them new. Buying 5-10 year old F cars is obsolete to a brands bottom line. It’s great for enthusiasm but no car company is in business to sell used cars.

Trying my best to fight the good fight lol. And Lexus USA has some real car enthusiasts leading the company now which is great news.
 
Messages
1,449
Reactions
2,321
Yeah internally USA is trying to show we have a great F fanbase here. You see the investment in Lexus Racing, the driving schools etc. It is tough as we now just have the RC F which is being raced but also is 8 years old. Obviously rumors of the next Lexus supercar are coming but that will be expensive even at it’s cheapest. Then there is the move to EV.

Hoping we get more F products soon. The other part is dealers have to be interested in selling and people gotta buy them new. Buying 5-10 year old F cars is obsolete to a brands bottom line. It’s great for enthusiasm but no car company is in business to sell used cars.

Trying my best to fight the good fight lol. And Lexus USA has some real car enthusiasts leading the company now which is great news.

You need IS F's, RC F's, NX F's, GS F's (is there a chance that the GS could make a return?), RX F's, LC F's, and LS F's and actually have variety in the brand. Having a few cars being sporadically released here and there is what takes away interest from the brand.

Toyota is doing the opposite of what Lexus is doing with F with GR and in response they're getting way more hype than Lexus.
 

JustADude

Fan
Messages
152
Reactions
96
You need IS F's, RC F's, NX F's, GS F's (is there a chance that the GS could make a return?), RX F's, LC F's, and LS F's and actually have variety in the brand. Having a few cars being sporadically released here and there is what takes away interest from the brand.

Toyota is doing the opposite of what Lexus is doing with F with GR and in response they're getting way more hype than Lexus.
problem is nobody will buy those vehicles. people will only buy rwd Lexus performance cars like is,rc,gs. Gr is demolishing F its embarrassing. too bad we probably wont get a future ICE rwd Lexus IS/RC, they'd probably go electric. Id love to see the t24 and v35 in an IS and RC.
This post is a bit satirical, so bear with me, but there is some truth here too.

I daily drive a GX 460 and as much as I love it, I'm not sure "thrilling" or "fun to drive" would be among the terms I use to describe it. As I've settled into the GX over the last year, I am starting to make a plan to purchase a sporty vehicle or coupe that would offset the GX's well... challenges. Something fun to drive before everything is EV and the joy of driving becomes so digital.

I've primarily been going back and forth between an IS 500 and LC 500, but there have been some other thoughts as well. I want to keep this purchase in the Toyota family and the new GR86 is one of their best looking sports coupes ever, IMO. I love it, but it is a bit small for me, and I'd prefer to get something with a V8 since they're almost extinct. Then there's the Supra, and even with my reservations about owning a BMW product long term, it's not particularly comfortable for me and a little bit... visceral.

I loved the IS 500 prototype I had last year and that car has been stuck in my mind ever since. Since we have the GX and a Camry XSE V6, I really don't need another 4 door vehicle, but I'm not opposed either. The sticker price of an IS 500 as I'd want would be around $63k which is more than fair for what it offers - I love the car. My only challenge is that my other half had a 2014 IS 350 F SPORT for 4 years and feels like the new one really isn't different enough to put in the garage. I don't wholly disagree.

The LC I'd want stickers around $104k - almost double the IS 500, but most of us would probably agree the LC 500 is a car unlike any other, and worth the premium. After tossing LC 500s around Eagles Canyon Raceway last year and Road Atlanta earlier this year, my love affair with the car is strong but financially planning for a $104k car is very different from a $63k one.

So that got me to thinking: Isn't there something in between that would be a coupe and a little more "special" than the IS 500, and a little less expensive than the LC 500? So that brought me to RC Fs and used GS Fs. The RC F... hmm. While the RC F has never been a media darling, I do still like it and it comes with a V8. And it's a true Lexus product - not a BMW or a Subaru in Toyota clothing. That is appealing to me.

So I got to building RC Fs on Lexus.com and... I had a bit of sticker shock. Let me preface this by saying I know times have changed and inflation is real, but I remember when the RC F came out and it was the sub-$70k M3 hunter with Lexus reliability and a burly V8. Most of them were $63-68k and it felt like a lot of car for that much money.

What changed?

A $67K base MSRP all these years later is understandable, but for that price, you only get white or black exterior. USB 2.0, Infrared or any other color requires a minimum $7k upcharge to the Premium Package or an $18k upcharge to the Carbon Package. The Premium Package adds heated steering wheel, actual leather interior (base car is Nuluxe?), parking assistance sensors, heated and ventilated seats and power steering column. Even now with the Premium Package, you only get two interior seating options - black or black and white - and one interior trim option - silver carbon fiber. Anything other than black or white requires upgrading to the Carbon Package for another $11k, which I wouldn't do, so we are now up to $74k just to have ventilated seats, parking sensors and an exterior color other than white or black. Not used to this type of "nickel and diming" from Lexus, but okay...

Gotta have Mark Levinson - that's another $2,750 bringing us up to $77k. Didn't realize this price would still have the base single projector headlights, so let's of course add the triple LEDs for $1,160. Now we're at $78k. Torque Vectoring Diff is probably something most people would leave off, but for $1,250, I'd say throw it in. Add a rear spoiler, trunk mat and illuminated door sills and we are now over $80k.

I realize I'm really in the weeds here, but the RC F is no longer a value of any sort. The M4 starts at $72k and the M4 Competition starts at $75k. The Mercedes-AMG C43 coupe starts at $60k and the E53 coupe starts at $77k. The RC F costs ~$80k just to get any color other than white or black, nice headlights and a good sound system. If you want to leave off ML audio, triple beam LEDs and the TVD, the deed can be done for around $76k but... the RC F is not a lot of car for the money at that price.

Maybe I haven't been paying enough attention to the RC F and didn't realize how much pricing had changed. And I'm sure even at the German base prices above, there are still lots of options to be added that will increase MSRP. However, what is Lexus doing with this car? It feels to me like they're either intentionally trying not to build and sell them or they've lost their minds. Which is it?

For someone like me, $60-80k is a sweet spot for a new sporty coupe, but at $80k as built (again, just to get basic stuff like Infrared or USB 2.0, ML audio and upgraded headlights), I'd be inclined to spend $20k less for a Supra or IS 500, or $20k more for an LC 500. The RC F is just sitting in no man's land right now, and there's no value at that price, IMO.

Maybe I'm missing something?
I'd go with the IS500 even tough it has 4 doors, but it's not like the IS is a roomy car with nice trunk space and backseat room to begin with. So really it doesn't matter that it has 4 doors, unless you want something with 2 doors then I get it.
 

Gecko

Administrator
Messages
4,079
Reactions
9,419
You need IS F's, RC F's, NX F's, GS F's (is there a chance that the GS could make a return?), RX F's, LC F's, and LS F's and actually have variety in the brand. Having a few cars being sporadically released here and there is what takes away interest from the brand.

Toyota is doing the opposite of what Lexus is doing with F with GR and in response they're getting way more hype than Lexus.

So true. The biggest problem F has is consistency and at this point, it feels like another chapter in the same book with L-Tuned and L Sportline. Their level of commitment is clear, unfortunately.
 

NXracer

Admirer
Messages
926
Reactions
653
So true. The biggest problem F has is consistency and at this point, it feels like another chapter in the same book with L-Tuned and L Sportline. Their level of commitment is clear, unfortunately.
Whats L-Tuned or Sportline?
 

sl0519

Follower
Messages
235
Reactions
466
So true. The biggest problem F has is consistency and at this point, it feels like another chapter in the same book with L-Tuned and L Sportline. Their level of commitment is clear, unfortunately.

It is too much to ask for full F, I feel like F performance line is a better way to start. I just want a new Lexus with decent enough performance that can fit 4 ppl, without sacrificing too much comfort. Sadly it is just not possible to find any recent Lexus (that is currently on sale) with those traits (IS500 only US).