Lexus RC F 2019 UK review

What’s it like?

Much as before, appealing in a flawed yet likeable way. And an strange dichotomy between the old-school and the high-tech. 

Neater LED lights and bumper tweaks do little to change the RC-F’s divisive looks, although compared with the already striking RC, the sporting model’s treatment is less in-yer-face than the German equivalents. You still get those neatly stacked (and refreshingly un-fake) tailpipes and a retractable rear spoiler to mark it out. 

Changes inside are even less dramatic. The focus is on a number of minor quality improvements here and there, boosting the already richly trimmed, impeccably solid cabin’s appeal. Oh, and you’ll be pleased to hear the previously woeful infotainment has been updated with a larger, glossier screen and easier menu navigation. 

Of more interest is that beguiling atmospheric V8, which – contain yourself – has less power than it did in the old one. You can thank the hoop jumping and emission reducing required for it to meet WLTP regulations. So power is down by 13bhp and torque down by 7lb ft. 

Does this have an effect? Not noticeably. Lexus has tweaked the final drive ratio and brought in a new launch control system, which alongside a slightly reduced kerb weight means it’s actually a touch quicker to 60mph. That launch control, like much of the RC F, is very different from rivals’ in that it brings revs up to less than 2000rpm before it activates. Lexus claims that’s the optimum point of rear axle traction, but it feels rather odd. 

Regardless, judged on in-gear pace alone, the RC F is soundly outclassed by turbocharged rivals. Where it claws back its advantage is with noise, character and response. 

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Gun it from near idle and it will disappoint, feeling markedly lethargic below 4000rpm. This is a powertrain that needs to be rung out to reveal its riches, rather than presenting them to you on a plate from the get-go. The reward for stretching it out comes aurally in a glorious, hard-edged metallic wail reminiscent of the V8s BMW M and Audi RS were churning out a decade ago. The new intake adds a little extra induction noise, too. 


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