Like An Iron Fist In A Velvet Glove: The 2020 Lexus RC-F

Front 3/4 view of 2020 Lexus RC-F
The 2020 Lexus RC-F.
If you haven't been paying close attention to Lexus in the past decade, it may surprise you to know that the brand has expanded from its original mission of immaculately made isolation chambers and now also offers immaculately made lust objects. 

Two of those, the Lexus LC 500h, and the identically bodied LC 500 (no "h" means it's powered by a 471-horsepower V8 instead of a hybrid), sit atop the TireKicker's Best Cars list at the top of this page.

The Lexus RC 350 is also a stunner, though milder, at 311 horsepower.  But the RC-F we're here to talk about today....that's a different kind of RC.

Hood up on 2020 Lexus RC-F

Engine in 2020 Lexus RC-F

Engine detail in 2020 Lexus RC-F

The RC-F is what happens when you take the RC 350 and swap out the 3.5-liter V6 for the same 471-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 that's in the LC 500...except here, it makes 472, with 395 pounds per foot of torque.  There's an eight-speed Sport DirectShift automatic transmission with paddle shifters, a Torsen limited-slip differential, a color-keyed speed-activated rear wing, and launch control.

All that together works out to 0-60 times of 4.4 seconds.  The EPA fuel economy average is 16 miles per gallon city/24 highway.

Rear 3/4 view of 2020 Lexus RC-F

Other standard performance bits for the base price of $64,900 include:

  • "F" spec double-wishbone type front and multilink rear suspension
  • Brembo sourced ventilated disc brakes (14.9-inch slotted rotors with six-piston opposed aluminum calipers and high-friction pads in the front; 13.5-inch slotted rotors with four-piston opposed aluminum calipers and high-friction pads
  • 19-inch BBS split seven-spoke forged alloy wheels
  • Michelin Pilot 4S tires (front: 255/35R19  rear: 27535R19)
It also comes with Lexus Safety System + (Pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, high-speed dynamic radar cruise control, intelligent high-beam headlamps, lane departure alert with with steering assist), eight airbags, Smart Stop technology, bi-LED headlamps and LED taillamps, voice command, Siri Eyes Free, Google Voice Control, Lexus Enform Safety Connect and Service Connect (free for the first ten years of ownership), a tire pressure monitor, a first aid kit and a tool kit.

On the winding back roads of southeastern Sacramento County, California, the 2020 Lexus RC-F was beyond quick, and possessed of the handling of much smaller and much more expensive automobiles, as well as comfort and luxury that most of those cars can't match.

Interior of 2020 Lexus RC-F

Also standard:
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Lexus Enform Wi-Fi (4GB, 1 year trial)
  • Lexus Enform Remote (1 year trial) with Smart Watch and Alexa skill integration
  • Lexus Enform App Suite 2.0
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio (3 month trial)
  • SmartAccess with pushbutton start/stop
  • NuLuxe-trimmed F-spec sport seats with ten-way power adjust
  • Full-color gauges with G-Force meter
  • Auto dual-zone climate control with pollen filter
  • F-spec leather-trimmed steering wheel
  • Silver fiber interior trim
  • Inside auto-dimming electrochromic rearview mirror
  • Lexus multimedia system with remote touchpad, ten speakers with Automatic Sound Levelizer, Bluetooth and USB
  • Backup monitor with dynamic gridlines
  • Power windows with one-touch automatic open/close feature
  • "F" embossed headrests
Gauge cluster in 2020 Lexus RC-F

Infotainment and HVAC in 2020 Lexus RC-F

Console and gearshift in 2020 Lexus RC-F

That's a lot of feature content right there.  But our tester did have a considerable number of extra-cost options, as well:
  • 19-inch hand-polished 20-spoke BBS forged alloy wheels ($1,500)
  • Premium triple-beam LED headlamps ($1,160)
  • Navigation system with Mark Levinson 835-watt, 17-speaker audio system including Harman Kardon Clari-Fi, a 10.3-inch color display, Lexus Enform Destination Assist, Dynamic Navigation and Dynamic Voice Command ($2,725)
  • Orange Metallic Brembo brake calipers ($300)
  • Intuitive parking assist ($500)
  • Premium paint ($595)
  • Premium Package---Heated/ventilated front seats with driver seat memory, heated steering wheel, blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, auto-dimming mirror with with memory reverse tilt, power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, rear-seat console with cupholders ($5,350)
  • Torque vectoring differential ($1,250)
  • Illuminated door sills ($449)
  • Cargo mat/cargo net/wheel locks/key glove ($260)
Front view of 2020 Lexus RC-F

Side view of 2020 Lexus RC-F

Rear view of 2020 Lexus RC-F

With $1,025 delivery, processing and handling fee, the bottom line on the window sticker reads $80,014.  Remarkably, that's $310 less than the 2017 Lexus RC-F Mrs. TireKicker and I took to Yosemite two and a half-years ago.

By no means cheap, the RC-F is still a good 25 grand less than the LC 500 with the same engine. At this level of performance, luxury and quality, the 2020 Lexus RC-F qualifies as a bargain.