The naturally-aspirated V8 is headed for the scrap heap. We grade the final salute...
Although not without its foibles, the Lexus RC F Track Pack is a car that really gets under your skin. Forever muscular and purposeful, though never shouty or ostentatious, it falls happily into the role of effortless cruiser while secretly ready to explode into petrol-burning rumble at a moment's notice. It's secret? The oldest in the book: 5.0-litres of atmospheric V8. Little wonder then that it feels like a muscle car done the Japanese way. Little wonder it made us think of Ford's latest - possibly, objectively, greatest - Mustang.
America's muscle car also has a 5.0-litre V8. It also delivers the goods without resorting to forced induction. It is also unusual in that respect. Europe, by virtue of its increasingly stringent environmental legislation, has essentially outlawed the deployment of big capacity, naturally-aspirated engines in any segment shy of the supercar. Even there, it is a vanishingly rare presence.
Admirably, Lexus (Toyota) and Ford have rowed against the tide. They have done so for business reasons, yes - but also because each feels that there is good reason for the fitment of eight cylinders unencumbered by the breathy intrusion of downstream turbochargers. Even better, they haven't gone about the application in precisely the same way; one is unashamedly loud and brash and addictive, the other is buttoned-down and tightly-wound and thoroughly underrated.
Because they punctuate the approaching end of an era, both are brilliant in their own inimitable way. You'd need a heart of stone to think otherwise. Which is why we sent Dan P along to run the rule over proceedings. The rest of us refused to hold a tape measure to either unicorn. We drove and day-dreamed. It was enough. It had to be.
Dan, very nice review. It shows what we are going to be missing from cars in 5-10 years time at semi-affordable price points.
I'm curious what you mean by the Performance Pack as all cars come with it in Europe. I think the largest difference you feel is that the GT you drove in this video did not have the adaptive Magneride suspension option like the Bullitt did. It makes a huge difference in how it tightens up the damping and overall feel of the car.
I completely agree with you that the standard seats are not good enough for performance driving and the Recaros are really a level above which is what you would have sat in during your Bullitt drive. They hold you in so much better and give you the confidence to push on.
I also completely agree with you on the LSD though in the Mustang. Over here we get stuck with Ford's forever used since the 90s base level Trac-lok clutch-based LSD and super long 3.55 gearing. The US market gets the 3.73 Torsen diff in its performance pack cars which they also use in the GT350 and GT500. It is a true mechanical LSD that would likely get rid of the twitchiness.
The RCF is beautiful but hard to justify at it's price point. Used ones are a bargain however. Granted, the Mustang aftermarket is limitless
Edited by cib24 on Saturday 30th November 09:02
ducnick30 Nov 2019
WIth the standard exhaust that Lexus sounds far too subdued compared to the mustang. Interesting to hear what this gt performance pack is. I suspect he is referring to the magnaride suspension option.
chunder30 Nov 2019
Why would you not be taking an RC-F to a track - there's an IS-F putting in some not too shabby times in Time Attack this year ?
It does need an aftermarket exhaust though as the Mustang wins the soundtrack.
BIRMA30 Nov 2019
Good review thanks, I've always said that Lexus should have just called it the 'Sports Pack' because you are absolutely right it's not a track car, it's a good road car without the track pack. Instead spend your money on one of the excellent switchable aftermarket exhausts and it sounds right too. I did try the Mustang and the usual suspects in this bracket but bought the RCF for exactly the reason it's a bit left field, you hardly ever see one, build quality and warranty is in a class of it's own.
redroadster30 Nov 2019
Like lexus in yellow bit different to Audi and BMW grey cars .