2017 Lexus RC F

Starting MSRP: $64,165 - $64,165

Estimated MPG: 16 city / 25 hwy

2017 Lexus RC F Review

The 2017 Lexus RC F is a high-performance, rear-wheel-drive sports car that comes ready for the track straight from the dealership. It offers striking good looks, dynamic handling and a powerful V8 engine.

By Charles Krome
Last Updated 04/18/2017

The RC F seats four in luxury, and it carries over essentially unchanged for the 2017 model year. It comes in a single trim, with a substantial level of standard equipment to boost both the car’s athleticism and its premium style.

Lexus' RC F is the performance variant of the Lexus RC, which is reviewed separately. Relative to the RC, the RC F features upgrades such as sportier suspension tuning, larger brakes and a more powerful engine.

Exterior

Exterior
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The 2017 RC F has a road-grabbing stance and curvy exterior design, along with a number of dramatic details that accent the car without overwhelming it. The large “spindle” grille smoothly evolves from the RC F’s powerful hood, and it looks more organic here than it does in some other Lexus models. Standard L-shaped LED daytime running lights and intricate lower front intakes make for especially sharp touches at the front. The rear is highlighted by stacked exhaust outlets.

LEDs also are used for the headlamps, taillights and brake lights, with Lexus further providing helpful lights for the exterior door handles. The RC F’s standard 19-inch forged-alloy wheels were designed specifically for the car by the well-known wheel manufacturer BBS, and two other 19-inch designs are optional. Orange brake calipers are also offered, providing even more visual interest as they peeked out from between the spokes of our test car.

Standard features include a speed-activated rear wing and cooling ducts in the hood and fenders.

Our RC F was upgraded with the Performance package. This adds a carbon-fiber roof and rear spoiler, which are clear-coated to show off the material’s distinctive weave pattern.

The list of available features also includes illuminated door sills, auto-dimming side mirrors with auto tilt-down in reverse, a sunroof, rain-sensing wipers and upgraded triple-beam LED headlamps.

Interior

Interior
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The 2017 RC F provides plenty of support at all four seating positions. The driver and front-seat passenger naturally get the best of it. Their high-backed seats are upholstered in standard leatherette, with prominent side bolsters and built-in headrests to hold occupants in place during aggressive maneuvers. The driver also enjoys standard 10-way power adjustability, and the front passenger seat has standard eight-way power adjustability. Our test car's seats came with optional heating and ventilation for added comfort, though it’s worth noting that the seating position is lower than the norm in the low-slung RC F. Rear seats themselves are surprisingly comfortable, but legroom is quite tight.

In terms of trunk space, capacity is rated at 10.1 cubic feet, which is less than the 11 cubic feet offered by the BMW M4 coupe, a chief rival. Still, the trunk’s wide-and-shallow dimensions were fairly practical in our test vehicle. There’s also a pass-through between the rear seats that allows for carrying longer items.

Levels of craftsmanship were high throughout the cabin, and touch points were covered in appropriately soft materials. For sophisticated style in our test vehicle, carbon-fiber trim is used on the door panels and center stack. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is another F-specific upgrade and has a smaller diameter than the traditional wheels for better driver control. Leather also wraps the gearshift lever and perforated leather is available to trim the seats.

The RC F comes standard with amenities such as dual-zone climate control, ambient lighting and aluminum pedals. You can upgrade your RC F with a heated steering wheel.

Performance

Performance
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Lexus explicitly designed the RC F for track-day purposes, complete with a 5.0-liter V8 engine and an extensive range of performance-enhancing suspension and chassis features. The car’s engine produces 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet of torque, with that output managed by an eight-speed automatic transmission. A manual shift mode is offered for those who prefer using the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters (or gearshift lever) for a more engaging driving experience.

Lexus prepares the RC F to handle all that power with a standard limited-slip differential that helps optimize torque distribution to the car’s rear wheels. Since our test vehicle had the Performance package, an electronic torque-vectoring differential was onboard for even quicker reflexes.

Our test vehicle didn’t get any actual track time, but on-road performance was electric. Lexus claims the RC F can hustle from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds, and there’s no reason to doubt that number. We made no attempt to check the car’s 168 mph top speed, but there certainly was no trouble getting halfway there. The RC F trades some on-road comfort to achieve its track-ready performance. Its ride was fairly stiff on all road surfaces, and it’s easy to see how that could become an annoyance for daily driving.

Our test vehicle returned better than 19 mpg in combined driving - much of it under heavy throttle. That’s right in line with the car’s EPA ratings of 16/25 mpg city/highway.

Technology

Technology
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There’s a full complement of technology for the 2017 RC F, and standard features include a 10-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, satellite radio, Siri Eyes Free and subscription-free traffic and weather updates. Navigation with Lexus’ Remote Touch interface, as well as smartphone app integration and a 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio system are available.

There’s one feature in particular that must be singled out: the available Lexus Remote Touch system. In cars like our test vehicle, which was equipped with navigation and a Mark Levinson audio system, it works much like a touchpad on a high-end laptop computer, and it was very easy to learn and use in the RC F.

Alternatively, voice recognition can be used to control the RC F’s infotainment and climate systems, the latter of which also can be adjusted with an eye-catching controls on the center stack.

Conspicuous by its absence was Android Auto/Apple CarPlay smartphone integration.

Safety

Safety
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Standard safety features include antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front knee airbags and side curtain airbags. Lexus furnishes a number of driver-assistance technologies for the RC F as both standalone options and within upgrade packages. Key features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, a pre-collision system, adaptive cruise control and parking sensors. All worked without issue on our RC F. Moreover, our test car’s rain-sensing wipers and water-repellent side-window glass were a bonus for visibility in poor weather.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
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For the typical luxury customer, the 2017 RC F represents a high-performance sports car with blazing acceleration and premium appointments. Its price starts at $64,165 (excluding a $975 destination fee) and with upgrades such as the Performance package ($5,500) and Premium package (at $3,240, this package is required with the Performance package), the RC F’s suggested price easily exceeds $70,000.

The base RC F is less expensive than a BMW M4, but only slightly. The M4 has a base price of $66,200. The RC F may be fast and finely equipped for the street, and more dynamic to drive on a competition course than other Lexus models, but it doesn’t have the same sheer performance levels as similarly priced rivals.

Overall

Overall
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The 2017 RC F is one of the best-looking, most fun-to-drive vehicles in the current Lexus lineup, and its Remote Touch system is a major breakthrough in infotainment and navigation control. Indeed, the brand goes out of its way to create a premium performance experience for RC F owners, from instruments that monitor track times and g forces to Active Sound Control for electronically optimizing the car’s engine note. Even the car’s fuel economy performance was relatively impressive.

On paper, the RC F just isn’t the same sort of all-out track beast as some competitors. However, that’s not going to matter on the street, where most driving is going to be done. There, the RC F’s unique blend of style, comfort and power is hard to beat.