Lexus has been criticized for some time for marketing cars designed for women, and the brand has worked for years to revitalize its image as a higher-performing luxury car. Its hourglass-shaped polarizing grille didn’t help at all. But with sporty coupes like the 2021 Lexus RC F Fuji Edition, you might be convinced that Lexus can be one hell of a fun brand.
Seriously. This is one of those cars that you’ll want to get out and test drive ASAP. You might fall in love.
Full Disclosure: Lexus took its RC F Fuji to the Texas Auto Writers Association Spring Roundup, where I had the chance to try it out.
What is that?
The Lexus RC F Fuji is the performance edition of Lexus’ already powerful sports coupe. It’s, basically, a race car that you can drive on the road, which makes sense, as it’s named after the iconic Fuji Speedway. It’s the brand’s effort to attract a larger audience, and a great way to do that is with a limited-release version of an already fun one. performance car.
Specifications to know
- Lexus RC F Fuji base price: $ 98,225
- V-8 engine
- 8-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters
- Power: 472
- Torque: 395 lb-ft
- Rear wheel drive
- EPA rated fuel economy of 16 mpg city, 24 mpg hwy, 19 mpg combined
- Technically four-seater, but you’d be hard pressed to sandwich a full-sized adult in the back seats
- 19-inch forged alloy wheels
- Carbon-ceramic brakes
- Carbon fiber look hood, roof and rear spoiler
- Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires
- 0-60 in four seconds
I want to precede my driving impressions by making a quick note here. As an industry that tests many luxury sports cars, automotive journalists can be very picky about the nuances of driving. So you’re probably going to see other posts that note that the RC F Fuji’s handling is inferior to some of its direct competitors.
This note, in itself, is not wrong. But I want to cut Lexus down a bit here and say that you probably won’t notice any significant flaws in the drive itself if you don’t actively test every car in the segment. You are also not likely to be massively disappointed, as the Lexus RC F Fuji is therefore amusing. It’s like a track day car that you can take on the road. It has a zip. It’s agile, a bit like a ballerina and easy to maneuver. It has some serious moves, although it is not as fast as its direct competition. He manages beautifully because the balance is simply exceptional, and you can turn off the stability control if you want to have fun.
It falls short of its competition when it comes to precise numbers. It does. But there’s definitely a subjective quality to how you experience a car on the road, and there’s nothing about the Lexus RC F Fuji that isn’t fun. It has race track performance, but if you take it for a daily ride, you would be wrong to think that you are driving a luxury sedan. It’s a car that can do both with so much ease, and I’ll be honest: I preferred it over something like the BMW M3 or M4 instead.
Yes, both of these cars are quick and responsive, but I’m not a racing driver. I don’t spend tons of money on track days. I do not need a car that on paper is the fastest, sharpest and most responsive model on the market. I want something that will be comfortable for a long trip from San Antonio to Dallas but that I can easily wrap around a few back roads. And the Lexus RC F Fuji does it all wonderfully. In many ways, this is a car whose other features determine its value, because the drive is great – it’s just great for the type of person who doesn’t need the high sports car. range.
What is good
Now I want to move on to the good things about this car, because there are a lot of them – although a lot of them come in the form of looks. I’ll never judge anyone who makes a purchase that puts aesthetics just above performance, because looking (and feeling) like a badass is absolutely important. And the Lexus RC F Fuji is absolutely one of those cars that can sway you because it looks like it is on a racetrack. It’s one of the few cars that has the rear wing that really looks out of place rather than a sticky addition, and its carbon fiber hood is absolutely delicious. It has crisp lines and an aggressive appearance which is absolutely enticing. And while I hear arguments against the grille on some models, it looks good on the RC F Fuji. It matches the sharp look of the whole car.
Open the driver’s side door and you’ll be greeted by a truly stunning red interior that’s, apparently, just as polarizing as the grille. If it were up to me, all I would sit on would be bright red velvet or suede, and that’s exactly what the RC F Fuji offers. The bucket seats are comfortable, but only if you are a shorter person. I would probably hate this bad boy if I was taller or taller. If you ignore the center stack, this is a really delicious machine. You just feel fast, even when walking through a subdivision in normal mode.
And it drives like a champ too, which you’ll appreciate a lot more if you don’t try to compare it to every other car in its segment.
What is weak
When a 2021 model year car comes with a CD player, it’s time to start worrying, especially when talking about a sports car. I know there are people who still hold out for the classic CD as their driving playlist, and those people may be a big part of the Lexus audience, but that inclusion there was a sign of starting to s ‘worry. This shows that designers weren’t really plugged into some of the more recent trends in design and technology.
And it shows in the infotainment system. Lexus has introduced a touchpad to accompany its infotainment system, and it’s extremely delicate. Which is disappointing, because the system itself is well connected and pleasant to use. The damn touchpad just makes it boring because everyone’s out.
The screen itself is also recessed deep into the dashboard. It’s a neat look, but it makes the driving experience less polished for little ones like me, who will have their vision obscured. The entire center console is dressed in matte black with plenty of buttons, but the design itself has looked outdated for a few years. Which is a real shame, because the red leather-sided console area is a wonderful base for your commands.
As I mentioned earlier, it also lacks a bit of sharpness in its workout. If you actively shop with brands in this industry, there’s a good chance your money will end up elsewhere.
I liked the Lexus RC F, but I’m not sure if I can say I loved it. It’s a fun walk. That’s wonderful. It’s chic as hell. It is also expensive and with its current characteristics it cannot exactly compete with some of its direct rivals like the BMW M3 or the Mercedes-AMG C36. If someone gives you the keys to this bad boy, you’re guaranteed to have a fun time (especially if you’re lucky enough to let him loose on one of Texas’ 75 km / h freeways). But is this something I would pay out of pocket? Not yet. Give the RC F a makeover and we’ll talk about it.