2015 Lexus RC F and RC 350 F Sport First Drive and Impressions

Race Tracks. I’ve been on one.

That is until a few Fridays ago. Not last Wednesday, but the Wednesday before – the Wednesday before the RC and RC F from Lexus officially launched – the auto manufacture flew me out to New York. But not New York City. White Plains, NY, home to the Monticello Racetrack. But before I get into my experience, let me tell you a bit about the RC F Sport and RC F.

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The RC F Sport is more analogous to that of IS350 F Sport, save for two less doors and a chassis that feels more rigid and slightly more compliant. Yes, it looks vastly different, but inside and when driving the RC 350 F Sport one might have a hard time distinguishing between the two. That said, the RC 350 F Sport has rear wheel steering, which makes it more nimble at low speeds (tighter turning area) and more compliant through the corners at higher speeds. If I had to be honest, I had a hard time detecting the rear wheel steering, but that isn’t to take anything away from it. That all in mind, the RC F Sport is available in rear or all wheel drive. Powering the RC 350 F Sport is the same six banger found in the IS 350 F Sport.  It produces 306hp, and like the IS350 F Sport I drove a few months ago, it also lacks the off the line power. But that isn’t to say the car is without merit. In fact, quite the opposite. Much like the IS version of the car, it’s a fun and connected drive, that just lacks a bit of low end power that makes it fall short of being a true track car. The gearbox is surprisingly quick for a car of this class and doesn’t leave much on the table.

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Looks there are some distinguishing factors between the RC 350 F Sport and the RC F. In fact, the front and back ends are distinctly different, though at a glance it’s not all that apparent. It took me sometime, but I finally noticed that the headlights on the RC 350 F Sport don’t include the stand alone LED strip as found on the RC F. The spindle grill also doesn’t extend from top to bottom. And those air intakes on the RC F, well, they’re bigger for a reason: they cool the RC F’s oil and other engine components, which are escaping me right now. And to that end the RC F doesn’t include an adaptive suspension system like its little brother. Instead you’re on set springs, though the ride, while surprisingly compliant, isn’t overly harsh. So yes, you could drive this car every day, though on the track, the seat’s lateral support could be a bit more back clenching as I noticed that I was shifting a bit as I slung the RC F through the corners.

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Now, keep in mind this is the first time I’ve been on a track. The last experience was 15 years ago, so it hardly counts. After a few warm up laps and some instruction I began, surprisingly, to get the hang of it. But it wasn’t until about the fifth time around that I could begin to feel the RC F’s torque vectoring system at play. That in mind, the RC F comes standard with a Torsen limited-slip, though for an added expense, and I suggest doing so, one can add a torque vectoring system (it doesn’t use brakes), which boasts a set of user selectable modes that range from slalom to track – unfortunately I forgot to switch through the modes. What I didn’t forget to do was check the grunt of this 5.0l V8 beast, which puts out 467HP and should rocket this car from 0-60 in under 5 seconds. Unfortunately, it’s not as fast as BMW’s M4 or Mercedes C63, which might have something to do with it’s 4,000lb+ weight. But despite its heavy weight, the RC F is nimble and fast through the corners. If pushed correctly, which I’m sure I never did, you can feel the torque vectoring assisting and helping to turn the car through the corners. You just have to have enough faith that it will do so. On the road, or the track, the RC F is easy to drive. Which is to say, it’s totally approachable even for the laymen driver. Turn off the traction and stability control, which I wasn’t daring enough to do, and you’ll probably have a monster on your hands. And a monster it is.

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Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

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