Lexus, the upscale division of Toyota Motors, is renowned for elegant, quiet, and reliable luxury sedans.
From its very inception, Lexus engineers and designers have targeted the established giants in the luxury car market: the German-built machines of Mercedes, Audi, and BMW. In this endeavor, Lexus has hit their mark, now competing very successfully with those prestigious European brands.
As well-crafted, comfortable, and dependable as Lexus vehicles have come to be, something had been missing. Many well-heeled customers who shop in the upper reaches of the automotive arena want more than just to be coddled; they want to be excited and thrilled as well.
They want performance! The German automakers know this; they have developed distinctive lines of high performance sedans and coupes: “S” and “RS” models from Audi, “AMG” from Mercedes, and the benchmark adrenaline-pumpers in this class, the “M” cars from BMW.
Toyota/Lexus responded to the high performance challenge by building the LFA, a limited production supercar with extraordinary performance and style. They then imbued many of their production sedans with performance DNA from the LFA in the form of “F” models. As yet another nod to consumers seeking high performance in their luxury car, Lexus just introduced a Sports Coupe model, the RC, and topped that with the RC-F Coupe.
The RC-F is an eye-catcher!
With what can only be called a radical styling departure for Lexus, this car is sexy. Our test vehicle was a brilliant candy apple red that well-highlighted the car’s swoopy lines and sharp angles. The headlight display is straight out of Buck Rogers, with enough scoops and vents around the body to satisfy any NASA fan. Inside, the leather wrap-around bucket seats hold you snugly during high-G corners and exhilarating acceleration.
Oh yeah, there is plenty of power on tap—467 HP from a 5-liter, 32-valve injected V-8, delivered through an 8-speed transmission with some of the fastest steering wheel mounted paddle shifters in the business. Sitting on 20-inch custom rims, with six-piston Brembo brakes clamping ventilated, slotted rotors, the RC-F is a serious machine.
This go-fast persona notwithstanding, the RC-F is still very much a Lexus. Those sports seats are heated and ventilated, the 835-watt, 17-speaker surround-sound system can compete with the throaty growl from the quad exhaust, and the voice-activated navigation system, satellite radio, and multi-function on-board computer will provide you with an overabundance of information about the vehicle and the outside world. The $74,560 MSRP is another clue that this is a Lexus.
Let’s put the RC-F in perspective.
Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it’s radical looking, and a fascinating combination of luxury and performance. Now imagine this: You drive the RC-F to a local car show where dozens of exotics, hot rods, and vintage muscle cars are being displayed. You drive past the spectator parking and enter the display area. You park next to a BMW M3 and a classic Chevrolet.
You walk away, turn around, and observe knowledgeable car enthusiasts crowding around the RC-F taking pictures and appreciatively examining every detail…yeah, that happened.