Detroit Auto Show: 2015 Lexus RC F

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Lexus-RC-F-frontWhat is it?

With the RC F, Lexus returns to building luxury coupes, a market it quit more than a decade ago when the SC400 was still around. Normally, an RC moniker makes us think “remote control,” but this two-door is built for driving.

The 5.0-liter V8 makes more than 450 hp, while a torque-vectoring rear differential (it’s rear-wheel-drive, like the IS sedan it’s based upon) comes with three selectable driving modes and pairs to an 8-speed automatic. The body screams LFA and whispers elegance, all at once.

Why should you care?

Lexus already proved its performance chops with the IS F sedan, which was designed purely to pick fights against the BMW M3. The RC F, with its active rear spoiler like that on the $375,000 LFA, looks like it’ll make a good alternative to the BMW M4, which also made its debut just down the hall. The V8 is particularly amazing, in that it features electrically-actuated camshafts that can switch to a more efficient Atkinson cycle when under low load (like the engines in most hybrids) and instantly revert to aggressive timing when the pedal goes down. No other engine has ever featured this technology. Speaking of electronics, Lexus replaced its awful mouse controller for its widescreen infotainment system with a touchpad with vibrating feedback. We’ve always hated that thing. And if a 450-hp Lexus sounds excessive, there’s also the RC 350 (in red, below), which has a quieter and less powerful V6 from the IS 350.


What’s not to like?

The M4 is probably the better performance car. We say “probably” and not definitely, because Lexus has been doing an exceptional job with its IS and GS sedans, particularly in the handling and steering departments. In many ways, they’ve surpassed current BMWs in this area. Let’s hold judgment until both cars go on sale.

How much?

As you can tell by now, prices and release dates are never printed. We know it’ll be this year, and considering the IS F runs a cool $64,000, you know where the RC F is headed.


Clifford Atiyeh

Clifford Atiyeh

Clifford Atiyeh has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own. Based in Connecticut, he writes for BestRide, Car and Driver, The Boston Globe and other publications.