Lexus RC F

The RC 350 is an all-new model for Lexus. The 2+2 sports coupe is not based on a previous sedan platform and was instead designed from a clean sheet. The RC's chassis builds on the successes of its model range however, and the result is exceptional stiffness. Lexus deems the RC "the best-handling regular production Lexus yet."

While the car's shape screams its sporting intentions with every curve, the RC's performance begins underhood. Power comes from a naturally aspirated 3.5L V6 -- good for 306 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. The all-aluminum engine features intelligent dual variable valve timing (VVT-i) and Lexus' direct and port fuel injection. Rear-wheel-drive is standard, and the engine is mated to an 8-speed Sports Program Direct Shift transmission. Drivers can select one of three modes: Normal, Sport and Manual. In Manual mode, this translates to downshifts in just a tenth of a second, with full engine speed matching.

Lexus also offers the RC 350 in all-wheel drive, or "all-weather drive." With a 6-speed automatic transmission, the system uses an electronic center differential to vary torque from the standard 20/80 front/rear to as much as 50/50. Braking in all RC 350s is quick and powerful in the RC 350, thanks to 13.1-inch and 12.2-inch rotors front and rear.

Outside, all RC 350s feature standard 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, and heated exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals. Inside, the RC includes NuLuxe interior surfaces with aluminum and wood accents, a 60/40 split-fold rear seat, automatic climate control, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, cruise control, HomeLink, a 7-inch VGA screen, a 256-watt, 10-speaker audio system, back-up camera and more. The all-wheel drive RC 350 also features heated front seats.

Factory options abound, including 19-inch wheels, a blind spot monitor, leather seating, heated and ventilated front seats, parking assist, a moonroof, navigation and an 835-watt Mark Levinson 17-speaker premium surround sound system. The all-wheel drive can be optioned with an All-Weather Package that includes headlamp washers, an instant-heat PTC heater, and a windshield de-icer. The Luxury Package adds many standalone options such as the blindspot indicator, heated/ventilated leather seats, rain-sensing wipers, and more. Finally, the optional F Sport Package adds a mesh grille, 19-inch alloy wheels with summer (RWD) or all-season (AWD) tires, adaptive variable suspension with a Sport+ driving mode, aluminum pedals, sport seats with contrast stitching, unique badging, and more.

From Lexus' ultra-performance range of vehicles comes the RC F, which differs from the RC 350 in significant ways. For starters, it is powered by a 32-valve 5.0L V8 that makes 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel-drive only the RC F includes the eight-speed Sport Direct Shift automatic, a Torsen limited-slip differential, huge 15-inch front and 13.6-inch rear vented disc brakes, and unique "F" exterior and interior treatments. Lexus claims the RC F will hit 60 mph from a stop in just 4.4 seconds, on its way to a 170-mph top speed.

Safety is paramount on the RC 350, and standard features include several airbags for front and side, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist, and traction control.

Editors' Review

The thought of spending a week with a hyper-limited, track-focused, special-edition vehicle with a big, high-revving, naturally aspirated V8 is pretty damn exciting. That's the stuff that car enthusiasts dream about, right? Unfortunately, reality rarely lives up to our dreams, and that is certainly the case with the 2021 Lexus RC F Fuji Speedway Edition.

On paper, the RC F Fuji edition seems great. It's got tons of carbon fiber, carbon-ceramic brakes and the 5.0-liter 2UR-GSE V8 you'll find in performance cars like the Lexus LC 500, the beloved IS F and the new IS 500. That engine produces a respectable 472 horsepower at 7,100 rpm and 395 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm, but it's here that the RC F's bummers begin.

This engine certainly does scream in its upper registers, as evidenced by the revs at which it makes peak power. It's here where the V8 is exciting and responsive and alive. Unfortunately, in the lower part of its rev range, the 5.0-liter V8 runs on the Atkinson cycle, the same efficiency-focused cycle that Toyota uses in its hybrids. This means the valve timing changes to focus on fuel efficiency at the expense of power, torque and responsiveness.

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The Good ~ Excellent build quality ~ Strong carbon-ceramic brakes

The Bad ~ Lazy drivetrain ~ Rough ride ~ Too expensive

The Bottom Line The Lexus RC F Fuji Speedway Edition simply isn't worth the money.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 6
  • Features 6
  • Design 8
  • Media 4.5

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