IN the changing world of eco-friendly motoring, the Lexus RC F remains a genuine head turner, especially draped in Infrared. But for 2020, the big coupe brings a bunch of standard upgrades along for the ride.
Underneath the hood of the RC F remains the nostril flaring 5.0-litre V8 engine, producing 351kW of power and 530Nm of torque. That power plant has direct injection and dual VVT-i, and is coupled with an 8-speed SPDS automatic transmission.
It’s wicked fun to drive hard, thanks to its paddle shifters, and has five drive modes available; Eco, Normal, Sport S, Sport S+ and custom. Sport S+ was our favourite, for obvious reasons.
Fuel economy is surprisingly good at 12.0-litres/100km and we managed to achieve that on a few of occasions. Drive it hard though, and you can very quickly kiss those figures goodbye, let’s say closer to 20-Litres/100km. Think 66-litre tank, massive fuel burn.
A torsen limited slip diff delivers enhanced control and replaces the previous package, which also means we say goodbye the previous track and slalom functionality. Cornering ability remains astoundingly good.
There’s also performance mono-tube shock absorbers, and the ultra cool adaptive variable suspension as standard. Basically the faster you go, the closer the RC F pulls itself to the ground, and adapts the suspension to whatever you throw at it.
Push the RC F into a corner and it handles like it’s on rails thanks to electric power assisted steering, double wishbone front suspension and multi link rear suspension, and there’s also stability and traction control if you want to stay sensible.
Turn all of this electronic wizardry off and the RC F becomes unhinged. Launch control now joins the list of features too, along with a raft of aerodynamic changes for 2020, that improve air flow, and consequently, ride and handling.
There’s an improved version of the retractable rear wing too, and watching it pop up and down is pretty cool. It’s just another example of the RC F’s ability to think on its feet, or wheels, as it were.
It does have some downsides though, including that launch control feature we spoke about. In an odd way, it’s simply not aggressive enough. Thanks to the linear power delivery of the Lexus coupe, there’s no pinned to the seat moment when you ‘launch’.
The other downside is the transmission. It’s still lazy and half asleep. It’s slow to react in certain circumstances and to make it do its performance car thing, it needs a kick in the guts, even in Sport S+ mode. It’s an issue we’ve been flagging since the RC F Carbon.
This all means that making it roar like an actual V8, and not floating in the wind like it does in Eco mode, is difficult. It comes with intake noise enhancement too (to make sure the V8 sound is more throaty apparently). Why Lexus? Why?
The 2020 Lexus RC F is no Sunbeam rice cooker, so why make it sound like one. The fake induction noise is horrible. All that goodness should come from the engine and the exhaust, not a plastic box with a flap, hidden under the hood.
It’s the safest RC F ever built though and includes loads of tech to make your drive better than it’s ever been. Among them are eight airbags, a reversing camera with rear guide assist, blind spot monitor, and rear cross traffic alert.
There’s also pre-collision (including pedestrians) safety warnings and braking, and the new lane departure warning with steering assist. Add in radar active cruise control, auto high beam, an actual car alarm, and ABS with vertical G sensor.
Take a breath, there’s more, including EBD and brake assist, and finally, hill start assist. It also gains 19-inch forged matte finish alloy wheels, a quad exhaust system, mesh grille, triple stack LED headlights and rain sensing wipers.
More is available should you want to option up, via three enhancement packs that add things like a tilt and slide moon roof, titanium tail pipes, Brembo carbon ceramic brakes, and more carbon fibre bits around the car. None of them are free though.
It does still have the less than ordinary foot pedal hand brake though, and we don’t particularly love the touch pad infotainment system controls either, but they are improved over what came before.
While we’re talking infotainment though, there’s now a vastly better 10.3-inch screen (it’s not a touch screen), a great SatNav with SUNA live traffic alerts, and an astounding 17-speaker 835w Mark Levinson DVD audio sound system.
It comes with Bluetooth connectivity, and wait for it, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice control, and all kinds of touch sensitive things. A fair chunk of the technology inside feels a little dated though, in an odd way, and navigating the infotainment is painful.
The RC F does get an exclusive LFA-style digital instrumentation panel, and really comfortable power operated, heated and ventilated sports front seats, complete with F embossed headrests.
It’s a 4-seater though and there’s a centre arm rest in the back, if you can squeeze yourself in there. Dual zone climate control air conditioning, a leather accented interior in four colour choices, and carbon fibre bits everywhere, are also standard.
The redesigned for 2020 RC F seems to have less head room too, and getting in and out of the more huggy front seats did feel slightly harder. The steering wheel and seat do slide away to assist this somewhat. There’s 362-litres of storage in the boot too.
Externally, the 2020 Lexus RC F looks amazing, and it’s on the outside where the more aggressive curves make it look downright sexy. It hits the road at just under $144,000 drive away, and comes with a 4-year 100,000km warranty.
It’s available in a bunch of colours, including Infrared, White Nova, Cobalt Mica, Titanium and Graphite Black. A stripped out, hotted up version known as the RC F Track edition, is also available.
Our test vehicle was provided by Lexus Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Lexus RC F range, contact your local Lexus dealer.