2016 Lexus RC F: Luxury GT or Japanese Track Monster? [Review]

2016 Lexus RC F

The Lexus RC F claims as being powerful, fast, agile, and a monster on the race track. Considering its lofty price tag of over $70,000 and an interior fit for a prince, my guess is that only a fraction of RC F owners would dare put their beloved sports coupe to the test. Which is not to say they don’t drive the limits of these cars, just not the full track-day, tire scrubbing, braking fading beat-down of a typical track day.

The RC F is powered by a normally aspirated 5.0-liter V8, complete with 467 horsepower and 389 lb-ft of torque. Strong as an ox, but it falls towards the bottom range amongst its competitors. In the same hotly contested class is the Mercedes-AMG C63 that has 500 horsepower and torque from its 4.0-liter biturbo V8, the twin-turbocharged V6 powered Cadillac ATS-V that is close with 464 horsepower, but has the torque advantage at 445 lb-ft. And the BMW M4, which has 40 horsepower less than the Lexus, but weighs less, feels more agile and is quicker on all counts.

2016 Lexus RC F

Mated to the V8 is the same Aisin-built Toyota AA80E 8-speed transmission that was used in its predecessor, the IS F, but re-engineered to be leaps and bounds better. The 8-speed in the IS F was slow to respond, often confused when hunting for the correct gear, and engagement was rougher than a lot of dual-clutch transmissions. After being totally reworked, the gearbox in the RC F responds quickly and competently to input, and engagement is a lot smoother when rifling through the gears.

“The Lexus RC F looks like the track-worthy coupe we wanted. In reality, however, it’s just a fast luxury car. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.” Autoblog.com

At the driver’s command are selectable drive modes. There are four modes to the Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management (VDIM) system: Normal, Sport, Expert, and Off for no control by VDIM. The transmission has four selectable modes: Normal, Sport S, Sport S+, and M (manual). Then there is the optional torque vectoring differential (TVD) that acts independently of the drive mode selector, which helps the RC F slice through the turns with precision. TVD has three modes: Standard, Slalom, and Track.

Pushing the performance limits of the RC F is all good up until 70 – 80 percent of its potential. Smooth drivers are rewarded with crisp turn-ins, fast exit speeds, and swift gear changes up and down the range. Going beyond its comfort zone, the RC F is still incredibly fast, but the two tons of weight it carries becomes more of a factor and the driver has to work a lot harder to wring out performance.

2016 Lexus RC F

Driven on public roads the RC F behaves much better. It’s well-planted with good traction and stability, refined and relaxed, more vigorous than vicious. Playing with the drive modes sharpens the coupe’s character when it comes time to have some fun, or you can dial-back into Normal or Eco mode for a comfortable cruise and enjoy the available 835-watt, 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system.

In this TFLcar 0-60 mph ‘mashup’ review, we take the Lexus RC F and the RC 350 F Sport to the race track and settle the question the old-fashioned way…with an all-Lexus drag race.

2016 Lexus RC F Specs:

  • MSRP: $62,805
  • Price as tested: $77,905
  • Engine: 5.0 DOHC V8
  • Power: 467 hp @ 7,100 rpm
  • Torque: 389 lb-ft @ 4,800 – 5,600 rpm
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Drivetrain layout: front engine, rear-wheel drive
  • EPA-estimated fuel economy (city/hwy/combined mpg): 16/25/19
  • Curb weight: 3,958 lbs
  • Weight distribution (front/rear): 55/45
  • Acceleration 0-60 mph (manufacturer results): 4.4 sec
  • Top track speed (electronically limited): 170 mph
  • 1/4 mile ET (manufacturer results): 12.5 sec