RC F’s 2019 facelift includes some styling changes, revised equipment specifications, and a Track Edition, featuring some CFRP composite parts, carbon-ceramic Brembo brakes and a fixed rear spoiler. More specifically, the cabin features several components unique to the model, including tweaks to the instrumentation, steering wheel, seats, pedals and trim.
Driving-related switches and controls are arranged in a control zone that is concentrated immediately around the steering wheel. These include the paddle shifts, steering wheel combination switches, drive mode select switch, starter button and shift lever, each located for the best ergonomic performance, focusing on easy reach and operation. A touchpad, located on the centre console, controls the 10.3-inch multimedia display screen It looks the business but is a little fiddly and not quite as intuitive as the rotary one fitted on BMW’s (iDrive) and Audi’s (MMI).
To improve connectivity, the two USB ports now have a high amperage so that devices can be charged more quickly. Smartphones can be wirelessly integrated with the car’s multimedia system via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and connected services can be accessed using Lexus Link – which also offers the option of in-car WiFi.
For the 2022 model year, all RC-F versions are equipped with a 17-speaker 835W Mark Levinson system, featuring ClariFi technology. Developed by Harman, ClariFi supplements real-time frequencies that are lost in compressed audio files, such as MP3 and streaming audio files. This restores the sound quality and stereo mix as closely as possible to the original recording.
Other comfort and convenience features include dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, electric, auto-dimming, folding and heated door mirrors, frameless auto-dimming rear-view mirror, electric steering column adjustment, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors and keyless entry.
The electrically adjustable front seats have integrated heating and ventilation functions and there is an “automatic away” function for the driver’s seat and steering column to make it easier to get in and out of the car. Throughout the interior, there are Lexus ‘F’-themed details, including the steering wheel, pedals, trim and seat design.
On a more practical level, forward vision is quite good, surprisingly uncompromised by the seating position thanks to the low bonnet line, low-profile dashboard and narrow A-pillars. The shallow height of the dash is aided by the development of compact air vents. While the instrument panel and centre console resembles a work of art and is pretty to look at, the storage bins and glovebox are pinched.
In the hot seat
Given that the Lexus brand has always been exceptional in fit and finish and material quality, it is of no surprise to discover that the seat design has also been the focus of attention. The front seats resemble beautiful pieces of furniture in their own right, providing superb comfort and support on long journeys. The automaker has used a two-part seat construction technique in which the main part of the seatback drapes over the shoulder area of the seat and wraps around the back. To ensure good lateral support, additional seat bolstering is provided for the driver’s shoulder blade area; resin inserts improve the holding performance of the side bolsters.
The result is a good fit and comfort from the moment you are seated, based on a ‘self-alignment’ concept. The net result will comfortably carry two adults over long journeys and four people (two adults and two small children or, realistically, a luggage storage area) for short trips due to the raked roofline and minuscule legroom in the back.
Hitting the right note
The RC F has an Active Sound Control system that delivers enhanced exhaust, intake and mechanical sounds into the cabin. The system divides the engine sound into eight components and uses an ECU to monitor engine speed, throttle position and vehicle speed. It calculates the optimum sound for any given set of driving conditions and creates auxiliary sound to match through a speaker located beneath the instrument panel. This speaker is completely independent of the car’s audio system. The auxiliary sound pitch changes via linear progression in response to engine speed and the degree of throttle opening.
Advanced driver assistance systems
In the ADAS department, the RC F incorporates the automaker’s Safety System+ that comprises a pre-collision system designed to detect vehicles and pedestrians; dynamic radar cruise control; lane-keep assist with lane departure alert and a ‘sway warning function’; an automatic high beam system; and road sign assist. The sway warning function monitors the car’s position in its lane and the driver’s steering inputs. If it detects degrees of vehicle swaying, it will sound an alert and display a warning on the instrument cluster, recommending the driver takes a break. The combination of adaptive cruise control and lane tracing assist corresponds to Level 2 automated driver support.
On the road
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The luxury coupe’s razor-sharp aerodynamic profile gives it an edgy, extroverted road stance. It’s nippy, too. Out of town, the mid-sized rear-drive coupe fitted with a 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine sets pulses racing, accelerating from zero to 60 mph in a heartbeat. Coupled with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, it has smooth and powerful acceleration, with large amounts of torque available across the full spectrum of engine speeds.
Throughout the cabin, the quality and finish of the upholstery, expensive-feeling trim materials and detailing continue to reflect the attention to detail that Lexus’ engineers have given this model. Its bold, smart interior is dazzling. Given that the Lexus brand has always been exceptional in fit and finish and material quality, the RC F doesn’t disappoint. While our drive insulated us from the outside world, cocooned in comfort, it also felt cossetted and poised at every turn, providing a fabulous experience. The most notable German rivals include the BMW M4, Audi RS5 and Mercedes-Benz AMG C63.