The problem with the Lexus RC F...

CRSKTN

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Had both. Not comparable. LC feels and is a bespoke item. The platform is very refined. With rear wheel steering I find it nicer to drive. RCF is a great car, no doubt, but it didn’t benefit from the focused effort the LC got.
 

Faisal Sheikh

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Had both. Not comparable. LC feels and is a bespoke item. The platform is very refined. With rear wheel steering I find it nicer to drive. RCF is a great car, no doubt, but it didn’t benefit from the focused effort the LC got.

Likewise, RCF is more focused in few key areas where the LC500 is not while LC500 is the better car in majority of the scenarios. Street driving is one thing, but trying to get close to 10/10ths to exploit the limits is another. To put it another way, RCF's average skidpad number of 0.98g on street tires is a good example of trying to measure the chassis dynamics and handling. The faster one goes in a circle, the higher the G. As for instantaneous, I have seen 1.2G regularly on my G-meter on PS4S tires under hard acceleration while turning. It is an amazing accomplishment considering it is not a dedicated track car that weighs 4000 lbs and is on street tires. It does show the focus Lexus had in the development of this car despite it being a luxury car first. That really speaks to the point I am bringing up.

An RCF is meant for a different focus than LC500. It is fine if people judge them as cars for being driven on the streets and say LC500 drives better/more refined/well sorted out than the RCF. No arguments there as I believe LC500 is the better car in majority of the real-life scenarios, but I am bringing up something that gets ignored in the $100K debate for RCF or RCF TE because it is not relevant to most buyers. Being an M4 competitor, RCF is and should have a lot of focus on track-oriented handling because that is what defines this segment.

This old video from 2014 explains well how RCF was developed. Something like thousands of KM tested on race tracks across the world with most on Nurburgring and Fuji.



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Sulu

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An RCF is meant for a different focus than LC500. It is fine if people judge them as street cars for being driven on the streets and say LC500 drives better/more refined/well sorted out than the RCF. No arguments there, but I am bringing up something that gets ignored in the $100K debate for RCF or RCF TE because it is not relevant to most buyers. Being an M4 competitor, RCF is and should have a lot of focus on track-oriented handling because that is what defines this segment.
The RC F and the LC 500 are two completely different cars, aimed at two different audiences. The RC F is built for handling at the limit, on tight curves; as such, it may not be comfortable on the longer drive. The LC, however, is a gran turismo (grand touring or GT), built for comfortable long distance, cross-country travel.
 

CRSKTN

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I’ve spent lots of hours in both, long drives and short, aggressive twisties and highway cruising.

If you’re serious about operating at the edge on the track there’s sharper stuff anyways to be had than even the track edition.

They’re both more GT car to me. The RCF was okay on longer drives, but certainly not like the LC.

The life of the production LC started on the track, very specifically it was the first gating factor. I won’t go into more detail than that, but it’s a purpose-built thing from the ground up.

Both great cars. Yes, the RCF is a full F car and as such it’s kitted and configured to be more performance oriented than the LC, but I think if you made the same effort to try and sharpen the LC, you’d begin to see the platform shine.

Anyways it’s good we have multiple offerings in the performance coupe arena from Lexus.
 

Gecko

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My RCF back in Oct 2016 was MSRP'ed at nearly $100K CAD with taxes when it was sold to the first owner, but a comparable M3/M4 were around $115K CAD at least. I bought it mildly used (with 7000 miles), but then again it is worth a lot more than I paid for back in 2017. I still believe, RCF even with all of the carbon fiber/TVD etc. was closer I believe in price to a loaded 440/340i than it was to the M3/M4. I think Alex On Autos did a price comparison like this as well.

One can compare a base model M3/M4 vs a fully loaded RCF with carbon fiber/TVD or the RCF track edition. Both of them would not look like good value, but you do get lots of great stuff for all of that extra money in a Lexus. I guess it is just an amazing car to own and all of those extra bells and whistles (carbon fiber, TVD etc.) and other amenities, do add a great deal to the experience over and above a base model RCF that is $30K USD cheaper in the US (In Canada, the "base model" is just an RCF with the Torsen LSD, with a moonroof and no CF with the non-20 spoke hand polished wheels and it is around $87K CAD). A base model RCF is just missing so many of those things. Well, minus the Mark Levinson system, which is dead weight to me since I never use it. TVD is just a masterpiece of engineering that makes the car so much more nimbler than with a Torsen because of how much faster then TVD can lock up.

There is someone I know (a youtuber) who is trying to order a 2022 RCF and Lexus is saying, they are not making them at the moment due to chip shortage. He went from a 2016 RCF CF/TVD to a Infiniti Q60 Red Sport 400 and now he wants to go back to an RCF.

Regarding your question of why someone like me would pick an RCF when I could get an LC500 or GSF? I am the typical demographic who still fairly young so It is because it is the sportiest offering Lexus had (other than the RCF TE, of course). I wanted a dedicated weekend car with the 2UR engine and with all of the F bits and TVD etc., it offers up in spades. I have an RX450h and my old faithful 05 Corolla XRS to do all of the heavy lifting while my RCF is a garage queen.

Also, this car makes me feel like a celebrity on the road because of the reactions it gets. Add to that, now 520 - 530 HP with the mods and race tune including a full Invidia exhaust I have and two baby seats in the back and a stroller in the trunk. It just does not get any better than this.

Anyway, my two cents as an owner who has dished out around $90 K CAD on my RCF over the course of 5+ years since 2017 (original purchase + modifications).

Thanks for sharing your experience! I definitely agree that back in 2016/2017, RC F was the obvious "fun, sporty Lexus" choice and less expensive as well. I also realize there are some pricing and option differences between the US and Canadian availability for the RC F.

IMO, things are different now with 1) The IS 500, 2) the LC 500, 3) how lexus has spec'ed and priced the car in the USA. I built an M4 with options comparable to my as-built $80k RC F and it came to $79,250, so nearly the same price. M4 feels like decent amount of performance and car for that price, RC F does not (to me). If RC Fs were available in the high 60s and low 70s with those options, it would probably be back on my radar, but I just can't justify $20k more than an IS 500.

At the end of the day though, I am all for more sporty Lexus options, and thankful they all exist (y)
 

Gecko

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The RC F and the LC 500 are two completely different cars, aimed at two different audiences. The RC F is built for handling at the limit, on tight curves; as such, it may not be comfortable on the longer drive. The LC, however, is a gran turismo (grand touring or GT), built for comfortable long distance, cross-country travel.

I think we are really splitting hairs here - the only RC F built for handling at the limit is the Track Edition/Fuji Speedway edition. In reality, the standard RC F is a GT coupe/sporty luxury car just like the LC 500. Thing is, the LC 500 does that task much better, but also costs more too and you get what you pay for. The RC F still behaves like a Lexus, is comfortable to drive and use every day and is not as hardcore as some other competing models.
 

Faisal Sheikh

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Thanks for sharing your experience! I definitely agree that back in 2016/2017, RC F was the obvious "fun, sporty Lexus" choice and less expensive as well. I also realize that there are some pricing and option differences between the US and Canadian availability for the RC F.

IMO, things are different now with 1) The IS 500, 2) the LC 500, 3) how lexus has spec'ed and priced the car in the USA. I built an M4 with options comparable to my as-built $80k RC F and it came to $79,250, so nearly the same price. M4 feels like decent amount of performance and car for that price, RC F does not (to me). If RC Fs were available in the high 60s and low 70s with those options, it would probably be back on my radar, but I just can't justify $20k more than an IS 500.

At the end of the day though, I am all for more sporty Lexus options, and thankful they all exist (y)

Fair enough. Agreed, the IS500 does nearly match the RCF in a straight line for much cheaper (if that is what you mean). Only at high speeds is where the RCF seems to have quicker test numbers by C&D (0 - 130 mph and 0 - 150 mph etc.). I said that in my review as well.

I still don't get the M4 being decent value and not the RCF. I believe you mean the base 473 HP 6 speed manual M4 for $80K (which I spec'ed out above as well). It has proven to be pretty much an even match for the RCF in a straight line when it was pit against RCF and RCF TE in videos. That would imply, in theory the IS500 should be close as well. However, since RCF and M4 are direct rivals for people who might do weekend hotlaps. It really comes down to which one a person prefers of 6 speed manual for the M4 vs a naturally aspirated high-rev V8 on the RCF. The M4 now weighs around 3850 lbs based on what C&D long term tester weighed in at so it is no lightweight either. Add the long term ownership of the RCF and you see the value proposition.

The M4/M3 competition especially with x-drive is crazy level of performance, but then it is getting into Porsche GT4/RS territory that owns that segment.

I know from personal experience in real life, even the previous gen M4 (F80/F30) was a very close match for the RCF despite what social media made one think. A few comparisons like Randy Pobst M4 vs RCF in 2015 or Fifth Gear with Tiff Needell really showed how close they were,

Even with a terrible driver short shifting all the way in the RCF, it seems to be a very close race at all speeds. The M4 owner is equally as horrible, but sam himself driving the M4 is OK.


 
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Faisal Sheikh

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I think we are really splitting hairs here - the only RC F built for handling at the limit is the Track Edition/Fuji Speedway edition. In reality, the standard RC F is a GT coupe/sporty luxury car just like the LC 500. Thing is, the LC 500 does that task much better, but also costs more too and you get what you pay for. The RC F still behaves like a Lexus, is comfortable to drive and use every day and is not as hardcore as some other competing models.

Well, neither RCF nor RCF TE are hardcore track cars. RCF TE just gives that extra "spice" for the track. One owner of RCF TE told me, the RCF TE actually feels just as GT as the RCF while driving at city speeds except the ride is a bit more choppy. Both have the same ingredients added to a slightly different proportions. What you described, would be an RC350/300/200t that are pure luxury GT cars or maybe, KIA Stinger or Q60 Red Sport etc. What sets RCF apart from the little brother, is the track performance capabilities.

Both RCF and RCF TE are GT/high performance intended to be a balance between capabilities on the track with luxury/drivability on the streets. For example, the seats are very comfortable, but they hold the occupant in place even under very high G turns. However, both would handle the limits just fine. The difference between RCF and RCF TE is far less than it was say, between M4 and M4 GTS where there was rear seat delete, increased power, coil over suspension, more weight reduction, sticky slick tires etc.

I posted a picture of my G-meter pegged at 1.2 G left and 1.3G right. That means, I basically was going 10/10ths hot into the turns. That many Gs would actually make the passenger dizzy suffering tunnel vision. This is with a slightly above average driver like me. Drivers like Randy Pobst or Scott Pruett, easily get it up to 1.4 - 1.5G with no issues. Hope you understand, when I was pulling that many Gs into a turn on street tires, there is very little street oriented capable of actually keeping up with me going into the turn. Also, the sustained turning of 0.98g is also something you can look up, very few street cars at $100K or under can do on street tires. Mine also has the TVD, which also gives faster turning capabilities.

Another good example is, the RCF shares very little with its little brother RC350/300/200t. 70% of the suspension and chassis components are different. The entire rear axle assembly and differential are different etc. Lexus put all of that effort (like M division does) to build something to be seriously good on the track. An entire TVD system was built just for the RCF. All of the body panels on the RCF are different. For example, the hood is made of aluminum on RCF (the JDM-spec CF RCF and RCF TE save only something like 7 lbs with CF hood). There are cooling systems for oil, brakes, transmission.

RCF TE is basically the same car except it has 170 lbs lighter weight, CCB brakes from LFA as the two major differences. Technically, the suspension/chassis/bushings are all identical except the rebound stroke on the AVS is slightly stiffer in SPORT+ mode on the RCF TE (compression stroke is the same).

I agree to an extent that LC500 and RCF share much of the philosophy. If we were to draw a spectrum line, LC500 is more on the luxury, comfort with some bespoke engineering (there is no lesser LC unlike the RCF with some sharing with LS500. An LC was created to be the halo car) while the RCF is more on the performance end of the spectrum with the smaller, lighter, stiffer/firmer and tail happy experience, but it shares the platform with a mass produced car. RCF's ride is very choppy when anything other than smooth pavement, but that comes from how the chassis/suspension are setup.

That allows the LC500 to be a better long distance/daily car while a driver can exploit the limits better in the RCF on the road and track.
 
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dylanfoos

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Does anyone have any updates to the upcoming MY for the RCF? I was told we will probably hear some updates at the North American International Auto Show.