2018 Lexus RC F new car reviews

Is it new? Well, the RC F has now been with us since 2014. It’s the brand’s sporty coupe that, when offered in F Sport trim, features a 487-horsepower V8. Our tester came drenched in some aptly named Flare Yellow paint that, after options, totaled $74,170.

Did it impress? Read the counterpoint.

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Who’s this one for? I see two distinct owner demographics.

The first group is comprised of younger, upwardly mobile drivers who have some cash to spend on their first really nice car. You have a cool haircut, relish technology, and want a car that’s sporty but without the penalty. You may also spend more than a hundred bucks on a pair of jeans.

The second group: Their first group’s parents–people who are looking to recapture those golden years. Jeans may or may not sport pleats.

Either way they’re getting a sport coupe powered by Lexus’s silky smooth 5.0-liter V8 that’s harnessed by a genuine Torsen diff and stopped by big Brembos.

The ride offers a bit of an edge but not nearly enough to be offending. Power is smooth an ample. The interior is comfortable yet tells your passenger that you’re not boring. “Look, these seats have slots for a harness–just like a real race car.”

What didn’t I like? The transmission programming. In the standard mode, it’s just too conservative–and way, way too slow to react. Need to get going so you step on the gas? Sure, fine, but be prepared to wait for the transmission to react. Eventually, sure, it will drop a gear or two, and by then the engine will be on the cam. End result: Not exactly the most graceful exit.

In the Sport and Sport S+ modes, yes, the transmission action is way better. But here’s the but: The latest Mercedes-AMG boxes perfectly react when operating in their standard modes.

Back in the day, Lexus’s mission statement was simple: Beat Benz.

If you’re going to compete against the master, though, you need to operate at their level.

Would I put an RC F in my garage? Honestly, if shopping this market, I’d go with a Cayman, even though it offers less overall thrust. And if I needed that V8 grunt, how about a Corvette? Not hip enough? And a BRZ isn’t fast enough while an M2 isn’t sleek enough? It’s nice to have these choices, isn’t it?

Also, a small footnote.

We drove a 2018 model but there are some updates for 2019. The nose and tail have been updated, while there more technology available, including Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa integration.

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mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
1/15/19 2:29 p.m.

So Toyota has a 487hp V8 and a torsen and Brembos and a decent coupe chassis and they had to let BMW do the heavy engineering on the Supra why?

sleepyhead GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
1/15/19 2:47 p.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

So Toyota has a 487hp V8 and a torsen and Brembos and a decent coupe chassis and they had to let BMW do the heavy engineering on the Supra why?

seriously, doesn't Lotus owe them for all the engines they've used?

dculberson UltimaDork
1/15/19 2:51 p.m.

I got to drive one of these and agree with David's points. The interior, though, was amazing. The one I drove had the carbon roof option and that was stunning. It felt very high end, but was a bit numb for my tastes and not quite shockingly fast enough for the money. Then again, I do favor lighter cars and it's probably pretty tough to get a 4000 pound car feeling lively.

stafford1500 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/15/19 4:00 p.m.

You might be suprised by how much of the original car is under all the race car body work for this class...

irish44j MegaDork
1/15/19 4:01 p.m.

I"m pretty amazed. I live in the DC area, where everyone has the latest and greatest of luxury cars or luxury marques. AMG Benzes are a dime a dozen, along M3/M4s and Audi S4 and S5s. "Typical commuters" are IS-series Lexuses, 3-series BMWs, Audi A4/A6, and Infiniti Q50s. I've seen Lotus Esprits in commuting traffic, plenty of high-end Porsches, and all other sorts of things like that.

But I have yet to see an RC F, which would seem to fall right into that same demographic (IS-F's are not uncommon, though).. Are they just low-production, or do people just not buy them?

T.J. MegaDork
1/15/19 4:18 p.m.

Since 2014? Wow, that is surprising. 

pizzaman1 New Reader
1/15/19 5:29 p.m.

Another one of those high end euro wannabes , all gltter and no character.

irish44j MegaDork
1/15/19 5:52 p.m.

I'm guessing the main reason nobody buys it, is that it looks like an Altima Coupe with a body kit.

Grizz UberDork
1/15/19 6:01 p.m.

In reply to mazdeuce - Seth :

Because supra fanboys would sperg if it came without an inline 6 and turbos.

Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
1/15/19 7:03 p.m.

In reply to Grizz :

How many of them are buying new?

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