2019 Lexus RC F
Miles driven: 515
Fuel used: 29.2 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 17.6 mpg
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||B-|
|Power and Performance||A-|
|Fit and Finish||B+|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||467-hp 5.0L|
|Drive Wheels||Rear-wheel drive|
Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 16/25/19 (city/highway combined)
Fuel type: Premium Gas
Base price: $64,750 (not including $1025 destination charge)
Options on test car: 19-inch BBS 20-spoke alloy wheels ($1500), premium triple-beam LED headlamps ($1160), leather cabin trim ($800), navigation system with Mark Levinson audio ($2725), premium paint ($595), orange Brembo-brand brake calipers ($300), Performance Package ($5500), Premium Package ($3240), illuminated door sills ($449)
Price as tested: $82,044
The great: Acceleration; ride/handling combination
The good: Visibility; interior appointments
The not so good: Infotainment/climate controls; rear-seat room; cabin storage
You’d barely know there is a 2019 version of the RC F, Lexus’ premium performance coupe. As of the spring, television advertising had already trained its eye on the 2020 model. Meanwhile, at the consumer website for the ’19 RC product line, you could find out what’s up with the tamer RC 300s and 350s, but nary a word about the F.
So, believe it or not, such a thing actually exists. Consumer Guide editors drove one.
No doubt Lexus wants to clear the decks to make room for the successor to the original F. Some changes are coming, most notably the addition of a Track Edition model, a limited-production job that gets a number of track-focused enhancements, such as considerable use of carbon-fiber components (including a fixed rear wing in place of the active rear spoiler of other RC Fs), titanium muffler and tailpipes, Brembo-brand carbon ceramic brake rotors, and lightweight 19-inch BBS forged wheels. The Track Edition will be much lighter than the previous RC F. A standard red-leather interior will be paired with a choice of Ultra White or Matte Nebula Grey paint.
There’s plenty more in store for all 2020 RC Fs, starting with a slight power boost for the 5.0-liter V8, a more aggressive final-drive ratio, and standard electronic launch control. The chassis will adopt stiffer suspension bushings and model-specific Michelin tires. Styling will be addressed with changes to the head- and taillights, and a grille tweaked via an altered opening that stretches across the bottom.
As for the 2019 RC F, it’s very much in the mode of the debut 2015 car. That means rear-wheel drive, a 467-horsepower V8, an 8-speed automatic transmission, ventilated Brembo disc brakes, a Torsen limited-slip differential, and staggered-width tires on 19-inch alloy wheels. However, it also means having to dip deeper into the bank account to add luxury-brand staples like leather upholstery, navigation, driver’s-seat memory function, blind-spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert to a car that starts at $65,775 with delivery. Indeed, the thoroughly optioned test car wasn’t done until it became an $82,044 vehicle.
Zesty without being overpowering in “Normal” drive mode, “Sport” and “Sport S+” modes inspire livelier throttle response, and quicker downshifts in S+.
There’s also an “ECO” setting that tempers throttle response, power output, and climate settings in pursuit of gas savings. EPA fuel-economy estimates are 16 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 19 mpg combined, which closely matched CG’s experience with the test car.
The fully independent suspension in the RC F rides firmly but is damped well. The test car was outfitted with a Torque Vectoring Differential (included in the Performance Package option) that distributes power between the rear wheels to help rotate the car in the direction of a turn for more confident cornering. Responsive steering tightens up a bit in Sport S+. The brakes—14.9-inch discs and 6-piston calipers up front, 13.5-inch rotors and 4-piston calipers in back, high-friction pads all around—provide sure stopping power with easy modulation.
One thing that’s not likely to change in the 2020 RC is interior room. Front-seat occupants sit low but enjoy decent head- and legroom. Rear-seat passengers are less fortunate. There is room for two smaller-stature folks in back, providing front-seat passengers don’t need to track all the way back. The trunk is flat and wide, with enough space for luggage for two on a short trip.
Soft-touch material abound in the cabin. The console box isn’t terribly deep, and some of its space is given to ports for electronic devices. The glove box is similarly modest. At least there are long pockets in both doors.
A highlight-reel run through the RC F standard-equipment list includes things like Lexus Safety System + driving aids, Enform telematics and apps, Apple CarPlay compatibility, 10-way power-adjustable front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, leather-trimmed power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and somewhat finicky touchpad-controlled multimedia system that will likely endure into the foreseeable future.
2019 Lexus RC F