David Bonnici enjoys a week in motoring heaven, in Lexus’ brutish RC-F sports coupe.
The Lexus RC F is a versatile car that can play the role of both beauty and beast. The two-door coupe’s sweeping lines and interior styling are aesthetically pleasing although quite brutish from some angles. Then there’s its grunt.
As I put my foot down for the first time, the acceleration pinned me to my seat and within two seconds I inadvertently exceeded the speed limit. That sensation was matched by the epic sound of the normally-aspirated 5.0-litre V8 opening up through a second pipe like the Archangel Gabriel on trombone accompanied by a dragon.
A massive smile on my face, I put it into cruise control, totally aware that if I wasn’t careful I’d be asking my boss for a character reference.
Doing 110km/h on country freeways is a mere canter for this car, which has a top speed of 270km/h and does 0-100km in 4.4 seconds.
Sticks to the road
The faster you go the more the 19-inch wheels feel like they’re sticking to the road, thanks to the handling and brake assist systems. Huge Bembo brakes stop this thing as rapidly as it accelerates.
The RC F (F being Lexus’ performance brand) has four driving modes: normal, sport, sport + and eco.
The difference between normal and sport is palpable. The revs are higher at lower speed, so you can turn heads at shopping centres.
Sport + takes things up another notch and also has different handling characteristics, which you can set yourself.
Eco mode … yeah, whatever.
The eight-speed automatic transmission is silky smooth and usually changes up or down when you want it to. There’s a manual mode with steering wheel paddles, but like most cars I didn’t find it instinctive like a true manual, so I generally left it in automatic.
Lexus claims the RC F does 10.4 litres per 100km combined, but I didn’t exactly drive in an economical manner so I can’t vouch for that.
On the inside
Being a Lexus, there’s no shortage of safety features and creature comforts.
The look and feel of the interior is designed to create “a sports-oriented driving experience”, but it’s still incredibly comfortable with high-back leather seats that almost cocoon you. My girlfriend, who doesn’t share my automobile obsession, said it was the most comfortable she’d ever been in a car, so much so she knitted a baby hat on a drive to Castlemaine.
A digital display shows analogue-style gauges that change depending on what driving mode you’re in. There’s also a small driver information screen displaying everything from what song is playing to G-forces on bends.
A 7-inch screen displays the usual media, phone, sat nav, climate control and systems info. It’s out of arm’s reach so is controlled by a laptop-style finger pad, which is pretty instinctive once you get used to it.
Music is via an excellent 17-speaker Mark Levinson sound system.
Safety features include active cruise control, pre-collision safety system, blind-spot detection and lane departure warning.
This Lexus more than matches its European counterparts, such as the BMW m4, and its $133,500 price tag (before on-roads) is substantially lower.