The 2018 Lexus RC F lures drivers in with rumbling V-8 power and grip, but the big leagues are a few hundred pounds away.
The Lexus RC F doesn’t have a high-performance sheen built up over decades. Rivals like the BMW M4 have considerable laurels to rest on, in that regard. But the RC F comes the closest yet of any Lexus to nailing the elusive German recipe for track and street two-door performance.
We rate the RC F a 6.8, giving it points for its sleek design, engaging handling, powerful engine, and supportive front seats. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The Lexus RC puts slits and vents and mesh all over the ordinary RC coupe’s handsome shape. Some of those details work better than others. All work more in tune with its mission than the plainer interior, and its occasional gaping misfits around its infotainment controller and center stack.
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The RC F’s hardware and firmware get massive upgrades over the standard RC models. The 467-hp V-8 alone catapults it into the big leagues, but adaptive dampers and a torque-vectoring rear differential and semi-exotic tires cement its place. The V-8 wail suits the well-damped handling perfectly, but the RC F needs to lose some weight before it can make the earth shudder like a Cadillac ATS-V.
The RC F gives up nothing in the way of Lexus-style passenger comfort–in front, that is. The back seats are typical sport coupe, almost unusable for adults. The RC is well-equipped, but its mouse-style infotainment controller is a letdown.
Plenty of active safety features and a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS provide a measure of confidence. Other luxury touches include a high-watt audio system, brightly colored leather trim, and a now-standard set of advanced safety tech including forward-collision warnings.
Rivals for the RC F includes the BMW M4, Audi S5, Mercedes-AMG C63 coupe, and Cadillac ATS-V.
For 2018, the RC F gets a 10.25-inch navigation screen.
The standard Lexus RC is covered separately.