2017 Lexus RC-F – Like Driving a Jungle Cat

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Introduced in 2014, the Lexus RC- F is Lexus’ take on what a luxury sport coupe should be, a two-door blend of comfort Lexus customers are accustomed to, and sports car handling and good looks. But The real gem in this car ives under the hood.

The 467 horsepower 5.0 liter V8 launches the car from zero to 60 in 4.3 seconds. All that power is sent to the back wheels through a torque vectoring differential that’s standard equipment. This trick differential dynamically varies the level of torque delivered to either rear wheel. It has 14.9 inch front brake rotors that spin between six piston Brembo calipers nestled behind 19” forged alloy rims.

At first sight, the bright red optional leather seats were a little jarring. The press car was dolled up with the $800 option of buttery soft leather seating. However, once you slide into the high-bolstered embrace of the F-spec seats any quibbles with the color will be resolved. The fit and finish in the cabin is exceptional. The RC-F’s interior is adorned with carbon fiber and aluminum accents, but it doesn’t feel over the top. Even the requisite luxury-car analog clock doesn’t feel too out of place.

The Mark Levinson audio system pumps tunes through 17 speakers stuffed into the car. There’s a large infotainment screen in the dash controlled by the touch pad mounted in the console. While this touchpad is an improvement on the previous joystick/mouse arrangement, it still has a distinctly 1990’s laptop feel. It’s also too distracting to use while driving.  All the amenities one comes to expect in a luxury car are present, radar cruise, rain sensing wipers, blind spot monitoring and a bevy of other features. Overall, the dash feels tidy and the layout is logical.

Lower the windows and punch the start button. The low, guttural report that wafts forward from the exhaust tips is inspirational.  This is not a lightweight sports car, tipping the scales at nearly 2 tons. But it doesn’t feel like a wallowing old boat either. While under way, there’s a loaded feel to the chassis, as if it’s under tension like a trap ready to snap. The engine has four power modes, Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport plus. Twist the big knob on the console two clicks to the right and gauge cluster transforms as you engage sport plus.

Drop the pedal and the big V8 snorts, launching the car forward. Acceleration smooth and determined. Lexus engineers gave drivers the option to completely disable the traction control and vehicle stability (thank you engineers). You know, in case you want to do something as uncouth as sliding around corners in a flourish of tire-smoke and gorgeous exhaust racket. The excellent throttle response, precision steering, and high-tech differential keep things from going too wayward. On the highway the car is quiet and refined. However, even when swaddled in quiet comfort  apex predator

From the outside the car looks good. Yes, it has that crazy Lexus grille. But the wide, triple-beam LED headlights do a good job of drawing the eye out toward the fenders, giving the front of this car a wide and aggressive aesthetic. The wheels, some of the best looking I’ve seen from any manufacturer, allow those big brakes to peek through. It’s sleek and tidy without being over-embellished. The fender vents behind the front wheels add interest to the profile. The roofline is a gorgeous sweeping affair that begins at the back of the hood as a willowy A-pillar, arcing gracefully back into the roof and cascading down into elegant sail panels.

The carbon fiber spoiler on the deck lid is speed activated, and watching it pop up and retract in the rearview mirror is a simple pleasure that won’t get old soon. The roof skin is also carbon fiber and adds an interesting visual effect when in the sun. Diagonally stacked exhaust outlets make this car look as good going as it does coming. There’s a grace and economy in the body lines. The result is something effective and uncluttered.

The RC-F might not be as fast as some other cars in its class, and it may be more expensive. You can’t get a family of five in it, and it doesn’t get particularly good gas mileage. However, what it does is give drivers a sense of power and luxury. It gives you a change in perspective. When you look out of the swanky cabin at the over vehicles on the road they cease to be cars, they’re prey. You’ll about in traffic, searching for the ‘Vettes, and anything else which might want to test its mettle against the svelte Lexus coupe.

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