2015 Lexus RC F

2015 Lexus RC F

Episode 3430 , Episode 3444
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Now stop us if you’ve heard this one before. Lexus, known for purveying ultra-plush luxury, is now stepping into the performance ring. Okay, so it’s not their first, or even second attempt to shed the soft image for a harder-core one. But, will the results be any different? Let’s hit the track in the new Lexus RC F and find out. 

So up until now, Lexus performance, with the exception of the limited production and very exotic LFA, has been more like a karate chop at a gun fight. But this 2015 Lexus RC F coupe just might even the odds. 

Indeed, after 3-days of relentless round-da-rounds at the hands of our test team, we can say the RC F definitely has the goods to take on a road course; impressing all of our drivers with a great V8 bark, and nimble chassis bite to back it up. 

That V8 is a 5.0-liter with roots that go back to the IS F sedan. Much tweaking has been done since then however, and output is now 467-horsepower and 389 lb-ft. of torque. 

As a rear driver only, the transmission is a beefed up, 8-speed direct shift automatic that worked very well through Roebling Road’s nine turns, even when left in straight-up auto mode.  

While clearly based on the RC 350, Lexus claims that 70% of the RC F’s suspension componentry is new or updated.

Another value added feature is the available torque vectoring rear differential that makes a huge impact on both the RC F’s performance and personality, helping put maximum power to the pavement in corners when in Track mode. Left in Standard mode, it feels like an entirely different vehicle that likes to power-on oversteer more than cling to an apex.  

At around 4,000-pounds, the RC F is certainly no lightweight. But it feels and responds much lighter. Through the corners, the bolstered RC F sport seats kept our drivers squarely in place. Yet, they still delivered the comfort that Lexus owners demand.

Though overall highly capable, we could do with less initial understeer at turn-ins. And, the quietness of the RC F’ proficiency makes it less exciting to drive than we’d hoped.

But, those are nitpicks. If there’s one significant weak point, it’s the brakes. Initially they felt great. But after only a few laps, they grew soft and uninspiring.

Off the turns, and on the straight, this raucous V8 also proved its metal. It loves to rev. There’s not as big a hit of torque right off the line as you might expect, but rather a nice build that gets you fast rather quickly. 0 to 60 takes just 4.4-seconds.

Despite relying on a true automatic for transmission duties and not a sequential manual; shifts are quick and smooth, with power mostly uninterrupted. Helping us clear the ¼ in 12.8-seconds at 114 miles-per-hour.  

Body enhancements galore certainly make the RC F a stand out. There are plenty of both air inlets and outlets, an active rear wing, optional carbon fiber roof, and stacked exhaust tips that give the hind quarters a truly maniacal look. 

Its stance is both wider and lower than the RC 350, and you have a choice among 3-different 19-inch wheel patterns. Tire width is staggered, with 255/35s up front and 275/35s in back. 

Despite the comfy seats, the overall interior comes off tighter than a typical Lexus buyer would be accustomed to. But, then, this is everything but a typical Lexus. Still, the usual leather coverings, high quality materials, and high-tech niceties are mostly included. 

An F-specific gauge set alters screens depending on driving mode, and the multi-information-display hosts a wealth of info including lap times and even rear wing position. 

Now, the real bonus. Even with all of its track prowess, the RC F is also a pleasant street car. The ride is never harsh, and great chassis response means you don’t have to be driving super-fast to enjoy yourself. Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 16-City, 25-Highway, and 19-Combined. 

RC F pricing starts at $63,325. That undercuts the benchmark BMW M4 by about 2-grand. 

And the F story certainly won’t end here, as Lexus recently debuted a bigger and badder GS F Sedan at the North American International Auto Show. 

But, back to the M4. The 2015 Lexus RC F may be a bit cheaper, but is it also a close contender? Well, we think it is surprisingly close on the street, and yes, on the track as well. Who ever thought we would say that! And that is just how far Lexus performance has come. 

Specifications

  • Engine: 5.0 liter
  • Horsepower: 467
  • Torque: 389 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 4.4 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 12.8 seconds @ 114 mph
  • EPA: 16 mpg city/ 25 mpg highway
2024 PHEV Roundup 1

2024 PHEV Roundup

You Don’t Have To Go Full EV To Live The EV Lifestyle

Episode 4338
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You’ve heard us say many times that PHEVs– plug-in hybrid electrics– rather than BEVs– pure battery electrics– are a sound choice for many folks thinking about owning an electric vehicle. Well, buyers do seem to have gotten the message, as while recent sales of all-electric BEVs are down, PHEVs are suddenly skyrocketing. So, we thought we’d give you a close look at the range of PHEVs that are available today.

An EV when you want it, a fuel-efficient hybrid when you don’t; that’s the reason that PHEVs are so appealing, and why we feel they’re the perfect starter vehicle for this time of transition from internal combustion to all-electric. So, buckle up for an alphabetical rundown of all the mainstream PHEVs that are currently available.

BMW has many plug-in options, starting around $46,000 with the 2.0-liter I4-based 330e sedan and its 22 miles of EV range. There’s also a 750e sedan with more than 30 miles of EV range, and an xDrive50e X5 utility with closer to 40 miles of EV range, plus a high-performance XM with 738 horsepower. For partner Mini, a small 1.5-liter I4-based setup is available in the Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 utility with 18 miles of EV range, going for around $42,000.

Ford has been in the plug-in game for some time, and currently gets a great 37 miles of EV range out of their 2.5-liter I4-based setup which is available in both the Escape for about $36,000, and in its upscale Lincoln Corsair counterpart which goes for around $55,000.

Hyundai offers a pair of plug-in SUVs, the Santa Fe priced at around $43,000 and the Tucson which goes for about $40,000; both use a 1.6-liter I4 turbo engine. It shares with their corporate cousins over at Kia. The Sorento, which starts around $51,000, and the Sportage, beginning at $40,000, along with Kia’s Niro at $35,000. All get more than 30 miles of EV Range.

For the high-rollers, Land Rover has a six-cylinder P550e plug-in option for both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport with 51 miles of range, starting around $119,000.

Mazda is very new to the plug-in game, with their inline-six based setup just recently becoming available in the new CX-70 and CX-90 SUVs, both with 26 miles of electric-only range, starting at $41,000.

Mercedes-Benz has offered quite a few PHEVs over the years, though currently their lineup only consists of the $70,000 GLE450e SUV with a 2.0-liter I4 and 48 miles of EV range; and a $128,000 3.0-liter I6 S580e sedan with 46 miles of range. Though a high-performance 671 horsepower AMG C 63 S E Performance will be blasting onto the scene soon.

We’re very familiar with this second-gen Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, having had both generations as part of our long-term fleet. The current Outlander PHEV goes for $41,000 and gets 38 miles of EV range from its 2.4-liter I4-based setup.

Stellantis has a wide array of PHEVs available across their many brands, starting with the 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar-packing Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. It arrived way back in 2017 and currently delivers 32 miles of EV range for $40,000.

More recently, they’ve added the technology to the Jeep brand with 4Xe versions of the Jeep Wrangler for $52,000 and the Grand Cherokee at $61,000. And their most recent setup has just arrived in the compact crossover segment with 33 miles of battery in both the $45,000 Alfa Romeo Tonale and the $42,000 Dodge Hornet R/T.

All of this started with the Toyota Prius of course, which you can now get a Prime version of for $34,000 with a 2.0-liter I4 and 40 miles of range. The RAV4 Prime goes for $45,000 getting 42 miles. Plus, there’s a trio of Lexus PHEV’s rolling with bigger batteries on board, the NX450h+, the RX450h+, and the TX550h+, starting around $58,000.

Volkswagen PHEVs stick to their premium brands, starting with the $58,000 2.0-liter I4-based Audi Q5 55TFSI e quattro SUV with 22 miles of battery range.

Bentley adds electric-motor assistance to a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 for both the $206,000 Bentayga SUV, which gets 18 miles of EV range, and the $217,000 Flying Spur sedan, which stretches it to 21 miles. That same setup is available at Porsche in E-hybrid versions of both the $93,000 Cayenne SUV and $110,000 Panamera sedan, getting up to 19 miles on battery power.

Finally, Volvo has had a plug-in version of their turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 since the T8 arrived with the XC90 back in 2016. Now with a Recharge label, an updated version is available in just about every vehicle in their lineup; the S60 and S90 sedans, XC60 and XC90 SUVS, and yes even in the V60 wagon, starting around $53,000 with up to 40 EV miles.

So, there you have it, the Bs-to-Vs of PHEVs. They really are an easy way to live the EV lifestyle today, without going all the way.