2020 Lexus RC F makes glorious noises

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Lap times aren’t everything. Sometimes you just want a car that feels and sounds special. The Lexus RC F fits that bill, though its lap times aren’t too bad either.

While the Germans are busy replacing cylinders with turbochargers, the Lexus RC F remains focused on what it is: a curvy but heavy coupe that wants to be a sports car but is really a great GT that works as a daily driver.

I spent a week living with an $89,504 2020 Lexus RC F and appreciated the sounds of its sumptuous V-8 and its top-notch interior materials. However, I also found that it doesn’t even try to be efficient and using the infotainment system is like living with a disease.

Here’s a breakdown of where the 2020 Lexus RC F hits and misses.

2020 Lexus RC F

2020 Lexus RC F

2020 Lexus RC F

2020 Lexus RC F

2020 Lexus RC F

2020 Lexus RC F

Hit: It looks good

The controversial Lexus spindle grille works on the front of a sporty, low-slung coupe. Come at me, bro. The optional $1,160 triple-beam LED headlights look delicate and pretty, while the sharp LED daytime running lights give a nod toward the stunning LC flagship coupe. The heavily flared rear fenders flow into rear ducts for a DTM look.

2020 Lexus RC F

2020 Lexus RC F

Miss: Horrid infotainment system

Lexus’ has the single worst infotainment system on the market today. In the RC F, the 10.3-inch screen is controlled via a touchpad on the center console aft of the gear selector. The interface is clunky and simple functions require multiple clicks. The touchpad acts like a mouse to control the cursor on the screen, which isn’t a good idea in a moving vehicle. Using Apple CarPlay makes the system tolerable at best, but accessing certain climate control and vehicle settings still has to be done via Lexus’ system.

2020 Lexus RC F Track Edition

2020 Lexus RC F Track Edition

Hit: Sweet, sweet 5.0

This isn’t a Mustang and yet it has a 5.0 under its hood. The Japanese-built 5.0-liter V-8 produces 472 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque. The power is silky smooth and it builds throughout the rev band instead of providing an immediate jolt like a turbocharged engine. It sounds distinct and glorious. I would choose this engine over the turbocharged 6-cylinders in the German competition every single day of the year.

2020 Lexus RC F

2020 Lexus RC F

Miss: Thirsty

Sports cars aren’t supposed to be efficient, but the RC F’s 5.0-liter V-8 really likes to guzzle gas. I saw an average of just over 16 mpg in mixed suburban driving. With EPA ratings of 16 mpg city, 24 highway, and 19 combined, the RC F isn’t claiming to be a Prius, but with a 8-speed automatic transmission and no turbos to suck gas, the big V-8 isn’t even efficient when loping along.

2020 Lexus RC F

2020 Lexus RC F

Hit: LFA, is that you?

The RC F’s interior carries over some elements from the LFA supercar. The design of the climate vents, the large centrally located digital tachometer, the three-spoke steering wheel, and the mode selector knob are all nods to the now dead carbon-fiber-bodied supercar. It’s good to see elements from the LFA live on in this less-expensive car.

2020 Lexus RC F

2020 Lexus RC F

Miss: The options cost how much?

My 2020 RC F tester cost $89,504, which is in line with well-optioned competitors from Germany. The base price of $65,775 seems a tad high, but I felt an eye twitch when I spotted some of the option package prices. The Performance Package uses carbon fiber for the front spoiler, side skirts, diffuser, rear wing, roof, and cabin trim. That’s cool, but at $11,400, it’s also insanity. The $5,350 Premium Package adds heated and cooled front seats with driver’s seat memory, a heated steering wheel, blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alerts, auto dimming mirrors, a power tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, and a rear-seat center console with cupholders. Much of this stuff is standard on $34,000 Hyundais.

The 2020 Lexus RC F thrills as a grand tourer, from cold start in the garage to the moment the engine is shut down. It even works as a daily driver, if you can live with its substandard infotainment system.

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2020 Lexus RC F
Base price: $65,775
Price as tested: $89,504
EPA fuel economy: 16 mpg city, 24 highway, 19 combined
The good: Fantastic V-8, gorgeous looks, LFA-inspired interior bits.
The bad: Drinks gas, expensive options, awful infotainment system.

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