Lexus RC F: V8s are great!


So here we are with the Lexus, the most powerful car of the group. Yeah, really. With 477hp the RC F is more than 50hp ahead of the Mustang and bests the Aston by 40hp too. Bit more interested now, right?

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5.0-litres and peak power at 7,100rpm...
5.0-litres and peak power at 7,100rpm...
he Lexus is a deeply curious car, one with a lot of likeable traits and some weird flaws too. Fortunately enough for this feature, the engine is one of the standout features. Again, that's being serious. Sure, it may not be as outrageously quick as an M4, but it offers an alternative that sounds and responds better. Back when Chris Harris drove the RC F he described its 5.0-litre V8 as "quite joyous" (in isolation) and with a "sublime noise" - worth taking note of.

Those observations stand true today, and even in a group of V8s. While there are modes aplenty, this engine is fundamentally very nice indeed. An aggressive, purposeful growl accompanies a rev hungry demeanour and throttle response better even than a C63 AMG. It shares the Maserati's trait of a noticeably larger cylinder bore than its stroke (94mm x 89.5), which will surely help with its revvy character.

Why is it not more popular? The engine is hamstrung, firstly by the car's weight - a chunky 1,840kg - and secondly the preposterously long gear ratios. With peak power at 7,100rpm this is an engine that thrives on revs, yet third gear can take you into ban territory. Not only does this seem silly with eight gears, it makes the car feel slower and denies you access to that V8's superb upper reaches.

On those fleeting opportunities you do get to explore it's great, and there's plenty more to like about the RC F too: it steers rather nicely, the interior is beautifully built and the TVD differential is very effective. Don't dismiss it, essentially - it's different to the opposition, yet a valid alternative. And yes, the engine is a key part of that appeal.


LEXUS RC F
Engine:
 4,969cc V8
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 477@7,100rpm
Torque (lb ft): 391@4,800-5,600rpm
0-62mph: 4.5sec
Top speed: 168mph (limited)
Weight: 1,840kg (EU, including driver)
MPG: 26.2 (claimed)
CO2: 252g/km
Price: £59,800


Introduction
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Maserati MC Stradale
Lexus RC F
Ford Mustang GT
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT
Verdict