Being given the keys to a Lexus RC F, I promptly said a big “thank you” and “goodbye,” wanting to hit the road as quickly as possible to test out the current halo car for Lexus. I’ve got to admit up front that my “regular” daily driver is a 60-year-old classic American car, something which provides plenty of fun and gets lots of attention – but I was about to find out just how different things were in a new car, one that looks like it just popped off the pages of an anime comic. So don’t expect this to be your usual car review; follow along as I take the RC F on a drive to Vegas and experience this strange new world of driving a sporty Lexus.
Sliding into the driver’s seat what I first noticed was how nice and snug it was, the interior of the Lexus RC F is like sitting in a cockpit - a great sign for spirited driving capabilities even if it did make grabbing my seatbelt difficult. The compulsory initial radio check was impressive and I found myself quickly feeling right at home behind the wheel. Sure, I first reached forward an awkwardly large amount from my seat to touch the LCD screen before remembering the advice I was given earlier that the middle-console touchpad would take a little getting used to.
I was quickly reminded that I was not in my Studebaker when a Beemer guy stepped on the brakes and craned his neck backward to get a better look while driving past the RC F in the parking garage. My vintage car gets tons of looks and thumbs up, but not normally from guys in BMWs. Popping the gear-shifter into reverse, the rear-view mirrors shifted slightly to accommodate the view… we’re not in Kansas anymore Toto.
After packing the trunk full of luggage (which fit very nicely) and the backseat full of my 70-lb dog, Lucy (which didn’t fit very nicely), my husband and I hit the road from LA to Vegas… which is where the real fun began. Luckily, Lucy was getting dropped off at Grandma’s house, as I'm afraid she wouldn’t have enjoyed the ride very much.
The open stretches of road that lay between here and there gave me the perfect opportunity to conduct my own speed tests. The RC F is powered by a 467hp 5.0 L V-8 with an 8-speed Sport Direct Shift transmission that has three selectable settings including: Eco, Normal, and Sport. While I was able to confirm the noted 4.4 second 0-60 acceleration, who only goes to 60 mph? I was more interested in the 0-100 mph capability and found it to be under 11 seconds (honestly, probably closer to 10).
Since I was on a seldom-traveled two-lane road in the middle of nowhere, I figured why stop there? I wanted to see just what it felt like to approach the RC F’s 168 mph top speed. I powered through the 100 mph marker quickly and then continued upwards in nearly just as quick a fashion. Approaching 150 mph, the road surface was really beginning to assert its bumpiness and my dear husband suggested I lift. Or was it more like yelling at me to stop? Honestly, with the huge smile smeared across my face, I haven’t a clue.
You know how every car has a “happy” speed for freeway driving? The Lexus RC F’s happy spot was well above the speed limit, somewhere between the 90-100 mph range, and I had to persistently remind myself to slow down, aided by the RC F's 4- and 6-piston Brembo monoblock calipers. I imagine that I’d rack up some hefty tickets if I owned this car.
Arriving in Vegas, the weird-to-me attention continued throughout my trip. Valets gave me respect and every fast food drive-thru worker commented in awe of how cool the car was, precisely what a young guy making minimum wage dreams of driving. Sure, I’d pay for the attention by feeling slightly fearful driving through a bad part of town at night – or by worrying after scraping a wheel in a too-close-for-comfort parking garage exit. But man, did this car get looks! Best of all, it gave me the supreme satisfaction of finally pulling up alongside a punk in an import and knowing that they were lusting after my ride (something I feel they should be doing about my Studebaker… but know they aren’t.)