Lexus RC F Ownership Experience and Buyer’s Guide

Production Years: 2015+

Facelift: 2020

Engine: 5.0L V8 Naturally Aspirated Horsepower / Torque: 467hp/389lb-ft

Original MSRP: $65,000 – $85,000

Review

The Lexus RC F is an excellent luxury GT coupe and has one of the last naturally aspirated V8s you will see. With the trend going towards forced induction, all competitors including Mercedes, BMW, Audi, and Jaguar have either turbochargers or superchargers. Although the RC F lacks low end torque due to it being naturally aspirated, it makes up for that by having one of the best sounding exhausts on the market. This Lexus takes a holistic understanding to appreciate.

Driving, the RC F can best be described as a luxury coupe with a V8. It is not the sportiest car out there, certainly no M Power, AMG, or Jag. The steering is tighter than all other Lexus but still nothing like you would anticipate coming from a European rival- the transmission is nothing special either.

However, it completes the job as a great luxury daily driver with sporty looks, a killer exhaust note, V8 power, and the comfort of a Lexus. It certainly acts more as a GT rather than sports car; it is well rounded and an excellent vehicle to drive on 3 hour trips but still have power on hand for when you want to go fast.

The RC F isn’t a car you only want to drive on the weekends, it welcomes everyday comfortable driving. It gets looks on the highway too- its active rear spoiler is a feature not boasted by any of its competitors like the M4, C63, S5, or ATS-V.

I took the car on two rallies. In the higher range of the rpms, the RC F is in its prime; the exhaust screams, and all torque is accessible. Even after repeated accelerations, you do not feel tired in an RC F. The seats are phenomenal, both in design and comfort (try to find better looking seats at this price point).

This is why I loved the car; even in extreme situations, it retained its composure as a luxury car. The back seats are not perfect, but they are functional for any time you need to carry people in the back. The competing M4 and C63 coupe do not have cooled front seats like the RC F, a feature much appreciated in the hot Texas summers.

Mark Levinson is a must have option in these coupes- the 835 watt system make it one of the best audios in the business offered stock from the factory in a coupe. The digital tachometer was certainly quite different when it was introduced in the LFA, but now in an age where all cars have digital dashes, it fits right in.

I am not sure why, but I always loved how the ring for the tachometer itself was a solid material yet the interior was digital. It gave it a modern yet simplistic feel to it in my opinion.

Lastly, the RC F comes stock with carbon fiber trim on the doors’ instrument panels and the glove box which is nice since most European rivals make you pay an extra $1500 from the factory for carbon fiber interior trim.

By purchasing an exhaust like an Apexi N1X catback, the car can really have a chance to roar as a Japanese muscle car. I was tasteful with my modifications- I installed 20 inch Vossen CV4 rims as I found the factory 19 inch rims to be lacking.

They filled the fender gap far better than the stock rims, and the wider tires allowed for noticeably better grip.

Next, I added the previously mentioned Apexi N1X resonated catback exhaust that completely changed the dynamic of the car from a normal Lexus to a brute. It was the best exhaust for my application as a daily driver- it was not too loud and had little drone.

Moreover, it provided a pure sound rather than raspy and received many compliments from the titanium tips.

Lastly, I went through a local detailer and did paint correction & Ceramic Pro installation to really clean the black paint up and make it shine.

Tips

Beware, the black paint offered is incredibly soft. I would look for one of the more metallic paints, or I would anticipate a paint correction appointment after purchasing an RC F with non-metallic paint.

Check the condition of the carbon fiber interior trim pieces; sometimes, I found them to have excessive wear around the instrument panels making it seem as though the clear coat finish was peeling. If the car is still under warranty, this replacement is covered.

Door locks do have the tendency to go out in all Lexus vehicles, it is a fault of the lock motors. Expect replacement to cost around $800 if needed. One of mine went out while under warranty.

Save yourself some time calling around. An oil change is $130 whether at dealer or third party, the process requires about 10 quarts of oil. No matter where I called, the quote was always $130.

Recommended Target Vehicle

Red interior is a must on these; it brings out the seat design with contrasting black stitching. There are not a lot of red interior RC Fs out there especially paired with the black or blue exteriors. You will have the ability to enjoy a scarcity play when you go to sell if you pick either of these exterior colors. White on red and gray on red are common as well; you can’t go wrong with them, but you will have more competition when you go to sell. Avoid black interiors, the whitish/gray leather is suitable too. Although I would not describe the RC F as exotic, I would certainly say it has eccentric lines, and the car received a bit more attention with the red interior.

Options wise, you must go with the Tri-Beam Headlights. They make the car look far more menacing and most RC F buyers look for this option. The Blind Spot Monitor & Parking Assist isn’t officially standard as it is in the Premium Package, but the Premium Package is on near every RC F out there. If you find yourself identifying if a car has the premium package, just look for front and rear parking sensors.

  • Go with the sunroof or performance package, not just a sunroof delete. Sunroof delete RC Fs just sit. The demand for the performance package is there, but being that the car is a Lexus, the greatest demand is always for the sunroof model since there are few “enthusiasts” who truly care about what is a carbon fiber appearance package.
  • Mark Levinson audio is an impressive feature, one not to be missed.
  • The Cold Weather Package is a cool feature but not necessary, it is not common on RCFs and provides little if any value.

The Adaptive Cruise Control & Pre-Collision System is also quite rare, and most prospective buyers are unaware of the feature optional on all year models.

In my opinion, just get the Tri-Beams, Sunroof, Premium Package, and the Mark Levinson audio. Those are all the options I see as necessary and create an easy hack since there will be a larger retail buyer pool for RC Fs with sunroofs rather than not.

Year wise, it is best to go for the 2015s. They have depreciated the most, and there are no differences between them and the newer 2019s aside from a few new features like adaptive cruise control. Otherwise, they are identical and the 2015s are a bargain at their sub $40,000 ($600/month) price point.

In summary, the Lexus RC F is an excellent GT coupe. At less than $40,000, it is hard to find a superior reliable V8 daily driver where repairs are not a worry. The RC F is the answer to this! With sporty styling, a striking Mark Levinson audio, comfortable seats, a roaring exhaust, and Lexus dependability, the 2015 RC F is a fantastic opportunity to pick up an originally $80,000 car for less than half of its original price!

Model Year Updates

2015: Introduction of the RC F

2016: Nothing notable

2017: Adaptive suspension

2018: Active safety features, Wi-Fi, Lane Departure System, updated Infotainment

2019: Nothing notable

2020: Entire Facelift

Options

  • Adaptive Cruise Control & Pre-Collision System
  • Cold Weather Package
  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • Mark Levinson Audio
  • Performance Package
    • Carbon Fiber Roof & Spoiler
    • Torque Vectoring Differential
  • Premium Package
  •  Sunroof
  •  Tri-Beam HeadlightsModifications
  • Apexi N1X Catback Exhaust
  • Ceramic Pro & Paint Correction
  • Vossen CV4s
Camden S
 

Camden Sivils is a former automotive consultant who was in the industry for four years as an independent. He had a niche in the $30,000-$60,000 range and had a goal to minimize cost of ownership of luxury vehicles for his clients . He was involved with over 100 cars deals in his short time in the industry.

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