First Drive: Lexus RC F

The newest coupe from sleepy Lexus actually wakes up the neighbors.

Over the past decade or so, Lexus has gotten sleepy. More and more, it’s looked down upon by aficionados as the brand of the uninspired, the maker of vehicles built for your middle school girlfriend’s father (“Don’t touch the leather! I said don’t touch the leather!”). Sure, it has great fit and finish, enough power, and is so blandly reliable the sun will exhaust its supply of hydrogen and engulf the Earth before it breaks down. In short, we know that a Lexus works. It is old reliable. Right?

Photo Courtesy of Lexus

Enter the 2015 RC F, a snarling, wind-sculpted sport-tuned coupe that forces every greasemonkey schmuck to rethink everything he thinks he knows about Toyota’s premium badge. The RC F has a very manly 5.0 liter, 467-horsepower naturally-aspirated V8 that tickles the redline at 7300 rpm. With a pricetag of $62,400, it’s a warning shot across the bow of the BMW M4 and Audi S5.

Photo Courtesy of Lexus

Whipping around New York’s Monticello Speedway, the car proves that it has more than just an impressive set of stats. We flogged it like a Dickensian street urchin, and still the car remained straight and true, rocketing through turns without a whiff of oversteer. The 19-inch tires provide excellent grip — it’s remarkable on tighter turns at high speeds while the 8-speed slushbox swaps gears efficiently, especially in Sport+ mode. Dual clutch paddle shifting comes standard on the RC F. (Sadly, a full manual transmission isn’t an option.) The engine thrives on high RPMS, growling with pleasure when you goose the throttle.

Photo Courtesy of Lexus

Can the RC F hang with the rides that dominate the segment? Is there reason for the Audi S5, Mercedes S63AMG, and the BMW M4 to cast a worried look over their shoulder? Maybe. At the very least, they can hear the growl getting closer. [From $62,400;]

Photos by Lexus