2021 Lexus RC F

The chic and sharp RC F probably has’t found an onlooker it hasn’t wowed, and even the base trim offers plenty of standard features to make astute luxury buyers happy. Lexus of course doesn’t stop at fulfilling simpleton desires, so the Track Edition trim is for those that want a little edge. As such, this upgrade comes with spiffy touches such as red leather inside the cabin and carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes. The Track Edition carries less weight, so it’s even sportier than the already sporty base RC F. 

We tested an RC F with a Carbon Package, which tacks on an additional $11,000 to the price, but sure looks damn good with a bonanza of carbon fiber proportions, from the roof to front spoiler to the rocker-panel splitters, diffuser and speed-activated wing. Let’s not omit the $1,500 19-inch hand-polished 20-spoke forged alloy wheels from BBS to round out this exquisite upgrade. 

The interior of our tester RC F was impressive, featuring a black carbon fiber interior and detailed with synthetic leather material seats complemented by a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shifter. The dashboard is anchored by the console touchpad and a nod to yesteryear in an analog clock. It’s situated next to the haptic slider for temperature controls, dial buttons for volume and tuning and buttons for A/C. All these parts combine together seamlessly, almost to demo that Lexus is out to corner the intersection of luxury and sports performance in its segment.

PERFORMANCE

The 2021 Lexus RC F sports a 5.0 liter V-8 that packs a mean punch on premium gas, and by that we mean 472 hp and a healthy 395 lb-ft of torque. The car is rear-drive only, mated to a 8-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode. There’s a limited-slip rear differential to assist with cornering and grip, and the car sprints 0-60 in 4.2 seconds. 

If the RC F in base or upgraded packages isn’t enough, and you have unlimited means and desire exclusivity, the RC F Fuji Speedway Edition is the cream of the crop. The six-figure car – only 60 of which will be manufactured – features a carbon fiber fixed wing and ceramic Brembo brakes pushing the 60 mph start to 4.0 seconds. 

 The RC F’s V-8 revs smoothly and politely almost, generating a signature intake sound through the lower rpm cycles before breaking into a more tough snarl around the 7,250-rpm line. It doesn’t take much to get off the ground, with the 8-speed automatic tranny capably pushing into acceleration. This is by design, as Lexus intentionally tuned the RC F down, resulting in seeming slower than its advertised 472 hp.   

The RC F’s Sport mode is spirited way to enjoy this car, as it enables more refined cruising. The luxury is there while the drivetrain stiffens a bit and the engine and exhaust are more robust in sounds and performance. When switching to Sport+ the RC F really flexes and peaks its athleticism.

The transmission is smooth throughout all the eight gears, although torque at low rpm is a bit wistful, as if searching for the best gear to lock in. We managed to keep the RC F sharp in corners by tapping into the responsive shift paddles on the back of the steering wheel. 

The RC F’s drive modes adjust the adaptive dampers, which dictate the ride’s comfort and stiffness throughout the experience. The Sport+ may leave some desire for cushion when trekking through rough roads.  

The tester was equipped with the optional torque-vectoring differential (TVD), a $1,250 upgrade on the standard Torsen limited-slip differential. This system comes in three settings – Standard, Slalom, and Track – and is accessed through the center console. The Track setting does the RC F’s agility the most justice.

CONCLUSION

The 2021 Lexus RC F starts at a base price of $68,875, and our Flare Yellow tester, with all of the upgrades and options, tallied up to $90,705. In addition to the packages we covered earlier, this includes the Premium Package ($4,875), $1,160 for Premium Triple-Beam LED headlamps, $2,725 for Navigation System with Mark Levinson Audio. 

What we liked: Planted handling, carbon package, and well-equipped.
What we didn’t like: Outdated touchpad interface, a bit on the heavy side.


Photo Credit: Copyright 2021 Victor Mosqueda / Car Fanatics Blog

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