‘ This car is interesting. I don’t know what it will be like to live with.’
II’VE NEVER SPENT MUCH time in a Lexus. To be fair, apart from the LFA, I’ve never felt the urge to spend much time in a Lexus. At least this was the case until I tried an RC F a year or so ago, when my interest was piqued.
There’s something rather compelling about what Lexus has done in recent years. Especially with the styling of its cars. The new LC500 (Driven, evo 231) is spectacular, and while the RC F doesn’t possess that car’s jawslackening drama, I think it really looks the part. Sufficiently beefy, but original and interesting.
And that’s the point of this car. It’s interesting. I don’t know what it will be like to live with. I don’t know what it will be like to drive day-to- day. I don’t know how people will react to it. Had this been one of the German coupes, I’d have been pleased to spend six months with it, but it may have felt like going over old ground. They are known quantities. So what is it? Well, in bald stats it’s a £61,310 coupe powered by a naturally aspirated 5-litre V8 good for 470bhp and 391lb ft. Top speed is just shy of 170mph and it’ll hit 62mph in 4.5sec. That acceleration figure is far from shabby, but not quite a match for the RS5, M4 or C63 you can read about elsewhere in this issue. Then again, the Lexus weighs a chunky 1765kg. Without the torque of a turbocharged motor that’s a lot of mass to get moving. Whether this dents its abilities or limits its driving appeal on the road is something I’m looking forward to finding out.
First impressions are very favourable. Admittedly much of this is due to the novelty of a fresh driving environment, but there’s also a deep sense of quality. It really does feel hewn rather than assembled, so while the kerb weight is hefty, you do get a tangible uplift in solidity.
At the time of writing, I’ve only driven home from the evo office, but in that time I quickly came to appreciate the maturity of the RC F’s delivery. This all sounds a bit grownup, but fear not, for there’s a raft of dynamic modes, from Eco through Normal to Sport and Sport S+.
I don’t know which of these offers the sweet spot, but I do know the RC F’s V8 engine really finds its voice in the more aggressive modes. It’s also nice to have a motor you need to work a little to release its performance, rather than the twinturbocharged offerings from Audi, BMW and Mercedes, which give so much so soon you rarely need to extend them.
Will the RC F’s different take on a familiar recipe prove a match for the usual German suspects? Or will the novelty of this Japanese bruiser wear off as familiarity grows? I honestly don’t know. That’s why the next six months promise to be a fascinating Fast Fleet test and a true voyage of discovery.