Lexus RCF, the sports coupe you really want

Early in 2019, I was fortunate enough to be handed the keys to the Lexus RC350.

The RC range was given a slight refresh and although the car is not a top seller, it does attract attention, being a fantastic long-distance tourer. It’s comfortable, looks good and the 3.5-litre engine, although naturally aspirated is a gem. However, I wanted more power and ultimately more thrill. Lexus heard my cry and I recently got behind the wheel of the RCF, the one with more everything.

Standout design

The car looks really good, sporty, aggressive and mean. I received a vast number of comments from onlookers to confirm my findings regarding the design with many people giving me the universal approval hand gesture of a thumbs-up. The front-end features a large spindle grille with a chrome-like surround in between the smaller yet more striking headlights than on the model that it replaces. Large air-vents feature on the lower corners of the bumper which compliments the new vent on the bulging bonnet. Flared wheel arches house beautifully designed black and silver 19-inch alloy wheels and behind them brake disks larger than the wheels on a Kia Picanto.

The rear-end is equally beautifully sculpted as the front. Praise be given to the car gods because there is an electronically controlled boot-lid spoiler, a design element I love, which dramatically alters the look of the car when viewed from the rear and side.  Lower down you will find the iconic quad tailpipes, two pipes stacked atop each other in each corner.

Interior hospitality

The sporty and sophisticated theme continues to the interior. The facia is created in typical Lexus fashion with a large infotainment screen mounted atop the sculpted dashboard with a raised centre console which houses the buttons for the climate control and radio. I will admit that there is still a lot of buttons when you consider that many of the competitors are moving towards a cleaner design, utilising of touch screens. They don’t, however, detract from what is a very visually appealing cockpit. The bucket seats are supportive and the overall driving position feels comfortable but firm.


Under that bonnet is a naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 and develops around 351 kW and 530 N.m which sounds like a lot but unfortunately due to its direct induction, the RCF will inevitably be at the mercy of a Volkswagen Golf R, Audi S3, BMW M135i or pretty much anything with a turbocharger or supercharger. I, however, don’t mind this as the RCF is not purely a racing car, it’s more. It’s an effortless cruiser that has impeccable handling when the road gets tight and twisty despite being a bit heavy, weighing in at 1 825kg. My biggest issue with the car is the gearbox, it’s lazy when left to do its own thing and to fix that needs a quick flick of the driving mode dial into sport plus and the gear lever into manual mode. Flicking through the gears via the steering wheel paddles as the electronic instrument cluster flashes all shades of red transforms the lazy brute into an agile sports car.


Overall, the Lexus RCF might employ an old school formula but it remains a beautiful car, both in looks and its driving character. I would have preferred a bit more aural engagement from the exhaust but once you grab it by the horns and manhandle it, the car rewards you with a thrill even though in some cases, predictable. At the price of R1 358 100 the Lexus does find itself in a room with the  BMW M4, Mercedes-AMG C63 and Audi RS5, all of which are faster and probably more popular but there is a charm I discovered in the Lexus, a living character if you will. It is pure which is both an advantage as it is a disadvantage.

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