My Drive this week was the Lexus RC F. This is Lexus’ current halo sports coupe and successor to the IS F and boy is it a fun car to take for a spin.

With the RC F, Lexus has essentially taken everything they learned with the IS F and put it into the RC sports coupe. They’ve also refined and enhanced the technology, improving on the drivetrain and ride to produce a racing coupe that perhaps hearkens back to the fast spinning engines of Japanese four cylinder engine yore.

The RC F starts with the same V8 engine from the IS F – it even has the same model number. But refinements have seen power increased by 13 percent to 351 kW, and torque increased five percent to 530 Nm. The best part, in my opinion, is the engine redline. It’s up by 500 rpm, meaning maximum power now comes at 6800 rpm, and the redline itself is 7300 rpm. This means the RC F roars from take-off, heading with anger and then screaming towards redline before demanding a gear upshift.

So what does it sound like? The RC F has the same automatic exhaust flap control as before – the exhaust is quiet under normal driving, but put your foot down and the flaps open up to let a more powerful sound out of the bag. It doesn’t have that savage burble the C 63 AMG did last week, but it makes up for it with a high revving scream that evokes visions of V8 Supercars.

The eight speed torque converter automatic gearbox also returns in the RC F, with extra refinements to handle the higher revving engine here. In manual mode, every gear except first gear operates in converter lock-up mode, simulating a clutched manual gearbox. Upshifts are executed in 0.3 seconds, while downshifts are done even quicker at 0.2 seconds with the gearbox blipping the throttle to match engine speeds to the gear. Drive power goes to the rear wheels only.

Being a sports car, the suspension setup is quite a firm one, and there’s no adaptive suspension to soften it for regular road driving. It’s suited to windy roads and fast circuits, and Lexus has even developed a new, electronically-controlled rear differential to change the car’s handling depending on which kind of road you’re on. The company calls it the Torque Vectoring Differential, and it can electronically control how much torque goes to each rear wheel. You can choose from three profiles – Standard, Slalom and Track, with Slalom making the car “more agile for better handling on windy mountain rallies”, while Track “stabilises the car for better stability on circuits”.

Standard creature comforts in the Lexus RC F include adaptive cruise control, leather accented heated and ventilated front seats, proximity card entry, 17-speaker sound system, sunroof, rear parking camera and sensors, blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert and lane departure warning.

The RC F retails for $133,500 plus on-road costs.

24 October 2015
Albert Malik