2020 Lexus RC F Review: A modern pony car

The 2020 Lexus RC F is the high-performance variant of the automaker’s RC luxury coupe, and it stands out thanks to its dramatic styling and potent 472-hp V-8 engine. The RC F is more luxurious than the typical sports car with its sumptuous cabin available with an extensive selection of coddling amenities. It boasts a relatively accessible base price, and when you combine this with its long list of standard equipment, this coupe provides compelling value. Overall, this Lexus deserves consideration if you’re looking for a well-rounded sports car that offers reasonable pricing.

For the 2020 model year, the Lexus RC F benefits from changes designed to freshen its appearance and improve its performance. Revised intake routing gives the car’s standard engine a five-horsepower bump and a torque boost of six lb-ft. Other engineering tweaks cut 56 pounds from the coupe’s weight thanks to lighter components in the manifold and air conditioning system, as well as a bumper support piece made from a mix of carbon fiber and aluminum. Launch control is now standard, and a new limited-production Track Edition trim joins the Styling tweaks include the existing cool-looking stacked tailpipes but now they’re set off by new taillights and a redesigned bumper. Up front, you’ll notice larger air intakes and restyled headlights. The huge spindle grille is as prominent here as it’s ever been, though it’s actually a bit smaller for 2020.

2020 Lexus RC F Review

All 2020 Lexus RC F coupes are motivated by a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 now produces 472 horsepower at 7,100 rpm and 395 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm — gains of 5 hp and 6 lb-ft. That’s not really enough to move the needle in any meaningful way, but hey, more power is more power. Power gets down to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The RC F gets more linear throttle mapping for 2020, as well as a shorter final-drive ratio of 3.13:1. Launch control is also part of the package now, and Lexus says it’ll help propel the RC F to 60 mph in a pretty-darn-quick 4.2 seconds.

2020 Lexus RC F Review

The RC F rides on a staggered set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, with 255/35-series front and 275/35-series rear rubber, wrapped around 19-inch wheels. These tires offer lots of grip, and Michelin worked with Lexus to specifically develop these tires for the RC F. It works great since at no point does the rear end want to step out under hard cornering and has tons of grip at all times. When it’s time to just commute, the Lexus happily settles down with a relaxed ride that’s always ready to play.

According to the EPA, the 2020 Lexus RC F achieves mileage of 16/24 mpg city/highway. It’s less fuel-efficient than rival coupes such as the BMW M4 (18/25 mpg). During our week with the RC F, we observed mileage of 16 mpg in mostly city driving and trying to keep our lead foot restrained.

2020 Lexus RC F Review

The 2020 Lexus RC F hasn’t been crash-tested by the NHTSA or IIHS. However, the 2015 RC on which the F version is based was tested by the IIHS and received a top score of Good in all crashworthiness categories. Standard key safety features include forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control and lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assistance. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are available options.

The RC F’s cabin is notable for its plush comfort and elegant design. The front seats are a pleasant place to spend your commute, and the interior is home to chic styling and premium materials. Technically, this coupe provides four-passenger seating, but the cramped back seat is best used for cargo storage. In back, the RC F’s trunk offers 10.1 cubic feet of room for your stuff which is about average for the class. The rear seats don’t fold down but there is a pass-through to accommodate longer items, for when you want to take your rear-wheel-drive sports car skiing.

2020 Lexus RC F Review

Lexus has equipped the RC F with the tech features modern buyers crave. Base models come with Scout GPS Link navigation and a 10-speaker audio system with SiriusXM satellite radio. Bluetooth connectivity is standard, and Apple CarPlay is on board for hassle-free device integration. All models are equipped with Amazon Alexa compatibility as well as a Wi-Fi hotspot that allows you to easily connect to the internet. The infotainment system comes standard with a 7.0-inch display screen, and a larger 10.3-inch display is available as an upgrade. Integrated navigation and a Mark Levinson sound system are optional. Unfortunately, Android Auto smartphone mirroring isn’t offered which is strange consider it’s offered on the standard RC.

We think most shoppers will be pleased with the RC F’s base model which is sold with an appealing range of standard equipment and starts lower than the competition. The $65,925 base-model RC F rides on 19-inch forged-aluminum wheels, and it comes with exterior features such as a spoiler, a black grille with metallic accents, automatic LED headlights, LED brake lights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and heated sideview mirrors with integrated turn signals. The list of standard interior features includes simulated leather upholstery, a manually adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering column, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. All RC F sports cars come with the Lexus Safety System+ suite of driver-assistance technology, and this includes amenities such as forward-collision warning and adaptive cruise control. 

For those seeking heightened performance and exclusivity, there’s the $97,825 Track Edition trim. This model comes with upgrades such as carbon-ceramic Brembo brake rotors and a red leather interior. It also has a lighter curb weight than the base model, and this translates into slightly quicker performance. Regardless of trim, Lexus offers strong warranty protection that surpasses the coverage offered by competitors by offer a limited warranty for  4 years/50,000 miles, powertrain for 6 years/70,000 miles, and complimentary maintenance covered for 1 year/10,000 miles.

The 2020 Lexus RC F is a fine choice offering a rare blend of daily-driving comfort and full-blast, knock-your-socks-off shenanigans. On top of that, the fact the RC F turns heads all day long is just a bonus at this point. This is of course all in addition to Lexus refinement and reliability which really is the cherry on top; you can have your cake and it eat too.

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