Guy: Hey, heard about the new Lexus “F”?
Other guy: What’s that stand for? “Fuddy-duddy?”
Both guys: Hahahaha! Hey, bartender...
To the uninitiated, the Lexus “F” designation might be a mystery. After all, Toyota’s top-of-the-line luxury brand built its reputation with mattress-soft barges built for a mature demographic.
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To those in the know, however, the letter actually stands for Fuji, as in Fuji Speedway, one of the automaker’s test tracks, and it’s a declaration that the luxury brand can also be, well, racier.
As proof, Lexus debuted its first entrant in the category with the 2007 IS F, a 416-horsepower tire-shredder that captured sports car fans’ attention in a big way. On its heels came the shocking LFA, a V10 supercar with 552 horses that wrangled the automotive media’s heartfelt praise and stunned fans of Teutonic armor.
Now, it’s the 2015 RC F’s turn. Developed alongside the new (and more sedate) RC sports coupe, the F version is the most powerful Lexus V8 performance car ever.
Designed to take on dynamic competitors like the BMW M4, Jaguar F-Type R, Audi RS 5 and Mercedes C63 AMG, the RC F certainly looks the part, starting with that monstrous black mesh spindle grille. Look closely and you’ll see the “F” motif neatly repeated in the mesh pattern.
Adding to the sense of menace are wide wheels and tires, a raised hood, an active rear wing, functional air scoops, cooling ducts and stacked exhaust tailpipes. Maybe “F” should stand for “fierce,” too.
Looking fierce is one thing — delivering the goods is quite another. Fortunately — hey, another “F!” — the RC F’s newly engineered 5.0-liter V8 delivers the goods, cranking out a beastly 467 horsepower and 389 foot-pounds of torque at 7100 rpm. The RC F howls from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds with a wailing intensity sure to turn heads trackside.
Wait: “trackside”? A Lexus?
Yep. With a standard Torsen Limited Slip Differential plus myriad other tweaks, the suspension is much more aggressive than what comes standard on the regular RC. Spring (haha) for the optional Torque Vectoring Differential, and agile turn-ins and corner exits are firmly controlled, yet still exhilarating, especially on tight S curves.
Mercifully, the RC F dances to whatever tune the driver whistles. The specially tuned eight-speed Sports Direct shift transmission offers four modes of performance: Normal, Sport S, Sport S+ and Manual.
Normal is just that, for when you’re on a long drive and want to enjoy the stellar standard 10-speaker, 256-watt media system — or the concert-hall clarity of the 17-speaker 835-watt Mark Levinson system — via the optional, ridiculously easy-to-use touchpad with tactile feedback.
Sport S, Sport S+ and Manual are where you want to be most of the time. Each provides increasingly dynamic performance matching the RC F’s super-responsive suspension hardware and chassis electronics.
Since it’s a Lexus, comfort is a priority. But since it’s also an RC F, comfort is also a functional part of performance. The leather-clad upholstery is set into a mold and then filled with foam, which means that the material doesn’t need to be stretched to fit a pre-existing form. The result is a premium feel and a high-precision appearance that allows the seat to change shape and conform to the driver’s body.
The entire cabin is pure Lexus, with superb craftsmanship, fit and finish, a customizable gauge display, soft interior lighting that beckons you inside and oodles of other creature comforts you’d expect from Lexus.
Clearly, the RC F is the superstar of this new Lexus lineup. But what, you say, about the RC F’s more subtle siblings, the standard RC and RC F Sport models? Both feature a civilized 3.5-liter V6 with 306 horsepower, aerodynamic good looks and aforesaid comfort.
They’re nice. Just like those clean-cut boys across the street who come over every year to sing Christmas carols in sweet harmony at your door. Very, very nice.
The RC F, by comparison, is a sweaty, sinewy Mick Jagger, shrieking his way through Jumpin’ Jack Flash — it’s a gas, gas, gas.
of Fort Worth
5100 Bryant Irvin Road
Park Place Lexus
901 E. Texas 114
The base model RC 350 starts at $42,790. The base RC 350 F Sport starts at $46,775. The RC F starts at $62,400.