2023 Lexus RCF Review – Hard Charging and Simply Brilliant!
This is the 2023 Lexus RCF, it’s not quite as crisp as a BMW M4, or as well rounded as an Audi RS5, nor as brutally fast as a Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe but lurking beneath its flowing hood is a masterpiece of internal combustion.
The Lexus RC F occupies a high place in my affection because driving is not always about outright ability or numbers on a spec sheet, it’s more about raw emotion and the RCF has that in spades. Its cool styling helps it stand out as does its rarity, how many of these have you seen lately?
My tester is going to attract a lot of attention since it has the Flare Yellow paint option for $595. It also has a Carbon Package for $17,775. That includes Black Carbon Fiber Interior trim, a Carbon fiber roof, a Carbon fiber front spoiler, a rear diffuser, a speed-activated wing, and 19-inch gloss black alloy wheels wearing Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. The brake calipers are orange with six pistons up front and four at the rear.
All RC Fs come with an adaptive suspension, upgraded Brembo brakes, and a limited-slip rear differential and we won’t talk about fuel economy since your right foot will be firmly planted in the carpet.
The exterior design of the 2023 Lexus RC F is a masterclass in automotive aesthetics, its bold, aggressive lines give the car a powerful and dynamic presence but it’s pretty too in a way the BMW M4 is not. At the front, the distinctive Lexus spindle grille, sleek LED headlights, and sculpted bodywork create an aerodynamic and visually stunning profile. With its wide haunches, it looks very aggressive from the rear, a view most of us will get used to seeing. Even when standing still the RCF exudes a sense of speed.
Under The Hood
The RC F soldiers on with a 5.0-liter V-8 which produces 472 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque through a very quick-shifting, Aisin-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission, 0-60 takes 4.2 seconds.
Press the start button and the 5.0 V8 rumbles into life, settling down to a burbling idle. There are several drive modes to choose from, Eco, Normal, Sport S, Sport S+, and Expert, activated by turning off the traction control. I would advise not to select this unless you are on a track, so I chose Sport S +.
In Normal or Eco mode, shifts are seamless, requiring a firm press on the gas to downshift for acceleration. Switch to Sport S or S+ mode and the V8 comes alive, eagerly revving above 4,000 rpm where it sings at full voice. Despite its heft, the LC corners sharply, with the Pilot 4s tires only complaining at really high speeds.
The precise steering offers excellent turn-in and feel, rare these days. In Sport S + mode, the taut suspension does cause some bounce and subsequent head bobbing on the less-than-perfect Southern California roads but it remains an absolute joy to drive hard. Mash the throttle and the 8-speed snaps through gears and the exhaust barks a full range from bass to tenor depending on the engine speed.
Attack a corner, slow in fast out, and the engine wails like a banshee in exit, it’s all so much fun. If you do overdo it, as I did on occasions, the traction control is there to save you, cutting the power and only letting the tail out enough to have some fun. The standard brakes are good but did get quite warm at times but never exhibited any fade.
Driving like this does have a catastrophic effect on fuel consumption, I averaged 15.5 mpg for the week I had the car, a bit less than the CITY/HWY/COMBINED of 16/24/19.
The RC F is largely unchanged for 2023, but Lexus has thankfully swapped the car’s outdated infotainment system for a more modern one that uses a touchscreen rather than a console-mounted touchpad. The touchpad is still there if you need it, as is a CD player; thanks for the memories.
The infotainment screen is a little bit far away but the system is intuitive and responsive, featuring a large touchscreen display that supports smartphone integration, navigation, and a premium audio system.
The front seats are heated and cooled and have multi-way power adjustment and the steering wheel is heated. The supportive and well-contoured seats ensure comfort during long drives, and the driver-centric cockpit design puts all essential controls within easy reach.
As you would expect in a Lexus high quality materials, and attention to detail are evident throughout the cabin. One issue though is a lack of space for your phone and no wireless charger.
For $130 you get a carpeted trunk mat and included as standard is 10.4 cubic feet of space and a poke-through for your skis.
Prices start at $66,695 and with all these options and a destination fee added the total price is $91,210
The fact that Lexus still makes this car is something to be very thankful for, it’s not as talented dynamically as an M4, nor as capable as an RS5, but it is certainly very gratifying, and an awful lot of fun. Yes, it’s too heavy and it doesn’t have the torqueiness of a turbo motor but it’s an excellent old-school muscle car with a whole lot of heart. It’s not dynamically perfect but it has a ton of soul.
2023 Lexus RC-F Numbers
BASE PRICE: – $102,245
PRICE AS TESTED: – $107,225
VEHICLE LAYOUT: – Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 2-door coupe
ENGINE: – 5.0 liter, DOHC 32-valve Atkinson-capable V-8
POWER: – 472 hp @ 7,100 rpm
TORQUE:- 395 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
TRANSMISSION:- 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
CURB WEIGHT: – 3,720 lb (est)
0-60 MPH: – 4.2 seconds
TOP SPEED: – 168 mph
EPA CITY/HWY/COMBINED: – 16/24/19 mpg
OUR OBSERVED: – 15.5 mpg
CARGO SPACE: – 10.4 ft³
PROS: – Glorious V8 wail, super quick transmission, now with a touchscreen
CONS: – Not much storage space