Somebody at Lexus gets it. From a brand that has served up its share of gridlock fodder over the years, the RC F owes more to the Lexus LFA supercar than it does any Camry with a sunroof.
This is indeed good news. The numbers themselves are more than just interesting: 351kW at 7100rpm and 530Nm at 4800rpm. That is one high-stepping atmo V8, my friends.
The bum note is the kerb weight which wobbles on to the spec page at a claimed 1860kg. But fear not, because even with that girth, the RC F can really lift its skirts. On the road it feels like it flows pretty well, and while the steering is a bit light for some tastes, it is reasonably accurate and faithful to your inputs.
And that engine is a dead-set cracker. Burble around below 3000rpm and it is refined and almost silent, but lay the boot in and as the tacho needle passes about 3500rpm, she really starts to dig her toes in. From there to redline it’s a solid rush of kilowatts and Newton metres. And noise. Yep, this is one Lexus that sounds great.
Head for the racetrack and things don’t stay quite so sunshine and roses, but thanks to that sheer grunt, the Lexus surprised the hell out of the judges by being fifth fastest. Okay, so the steering will eventually start writing cheques the front end can’t cash, but only after about nine tenths – even then, if you’re Luffy, you can squeeze a bit more out of it.
The gearbox is doing its bit, too, and the conventional eight-speed automatic transmission proves that there’s life in that technology yet, especially when it’s so eager to comply with the instructions issued via the paddles.
The interior looks high-tech, but when you get down to it, it’s a bit of a mash up and some of the controls and processes for reaching various functions are a bit messy. Still, it’s distinctive and you won’t be mistaking it for an Audi. Neither will you from the outside, and we can’t help but think it’s just a tiny bit inelegant to look at. That big, rounded snout makes the bonnet look a bit hunch-backed, and the Lexus grille treatment seems a tad heavy-handed.
But deep within old big nose is a cracking car that not only drives better than we expected, it drives better than a lot of things here. Hell, it’s not even too shabby at drifting. As those scallywags in da hood would say: pretty fly for a white guy. Check.
Engine: 4969cc V8, DOHC, 32v Power: 351kW @ 7100rpm
Torque: 530Nm @ 4800-5600rpm
Gearbox: 8-speed automatic
Brakes: 380mm ventilated discs, 6-piston calipers (f); 345mm ventilated discs, 4-piston calipers
Suspension: double A-arms, adaptive dampers, coil springs, anti-roll bar (f); multi-links, adaptive dampers, coil springs, anti-roll bar (r)
Wheels: 19 x 9.0-in (f); 19 x 10.0-in (r)
Tyres: 255/35 ZR19 92Y (f) 275/35 ZR19 (r) Michelin Pilot Super Sports
0-100km/h: 4.75sec (5th)
0-400m: 12.86sec @ 182.38km/h (7th)
Lap Time: 1:38.1sec (5th)
Dylan Campbell: 6th
“Bit eccentric, and not perfect. But it also has a V8 driving the rear wheels – tick and tick for me”
David Morley: 7th
“Raised my eyebrows – a surprise packet. I smell a faint whiff of LFA, and about time, too”
Scott Newman: 9th
“Does a lot of things well, but nothing brilliantly. Heavy and feels a little artificial”
Tim Robson: 10th
“Weight played against it, but it’s a well-resolved package. Throttle response in Sport mode is too sharp”
Warren Luff: 6th
“Really fun on the limit and very forgiving. You can drive it into corners with heaps of speed”
How are you finding our new site design? Tell us in the comments below or send us your thoughts at email@example.com.
The world's most thrilling performance car magazine. Delivered to your door each month.
Performance Car of the Year 2021: the track test
Records are demolished in the fastest and most powerful PCOTY field ever
Performance Car of the Year 2021: the road test
The Victorian high country provides the 2021 PCOTY field with the perfect real-world test
All the crazy numbers from Performance Car of the Year 2021
PCOTY returns landmark numbers, geek out on all of it here