I have what you might consider an addiction. A track addiction, that is. I go through withdrawals when I don't drive on track for prolonged periods of time; when I finally get out there, it changes the chemicals in my brain, giving me a nice dopamine boost for weeks to follow. It's heaven.
So, naturally, when Lexus asked if I wanted to go to Monticello Motor Club and spend a day thrashing the new 467 hp V8 RC F along a 4.1 mile track with 18 turns, I very calmly and very politely accepted. Then I put down the phone, and screamed.
[Editor's Note: We included a few GIFs of Aaron's drive around the track, below. Be sure not to miss them.]
Find a Hot Cheetos Haven in This Car Wash Parking Lot
The RC F—technically, that means "Radical Coupe Fuji"—is Lexus's shot across the bow of BMW's M4. From a design standpoint, it means business, with a functional hood vent, extra oil coolers in the vents in front of the wheels, and flared fenders seemingly lifted from the now defunct ISF that this succeeds.
Then, you look under the hood, and there's this. It's a five liter V8 that's been evolved significantly from the ISF into a 467 hp monster.
Basically what that means is when you mash your right foot to the floor and hold it there for a prolonged period of time, the world starts moving past you awfully quick. (That's me driving, above.)
Audiophiles will note that the optional sound system features seventeen speakers and a dynamic filter to restore all your mediocre-quality MP3s from college back to something that doesn't sound like a Skrillex mixtape. But I'm a car guy with bad ears due to years of really loud exhaust pipes.
I climbed in, and the first thing I wanted to do was take a nap. Seriously. The seats have extra bolsters that run all the way up your back to hold you in place during serious cornering, and they're crazy comfy.
If you're wondering...yes, they're pretty good at keeping you from sliding around. (Me again, not sliding around.)
When you rev it high into the RPM band, it sounds great, though the added engine sound pumped through the speakers is still about as real as a Chicken McNugget. At 130 mph heading into a braking zone, however, none of that matters.
For that, you want some nice, meaty brakes. The slotted 15-inchers on the RC F are paired with some aggressive brake pads and, when fresh, they're perfectly capable of ripping your eyeballs from their sockets.
Everything's well balanced, and I found it very hard to get myself into trouble with them. After a long day at the track they did fade somewhat, but that's nothing a good set of aftermarket pads can't cure.
I'll admit, when I first read the car's weight—just a shade under 4,000 pounds, or roughly 400 more than the M4—I was skeptical of the car's ability to handle multiple corners in succession. Convincing a lot of mass to change direction isn't always the easiest.
Amazingly, though, the car actually feels solid. It understeers a bit and you have to be patient when applying the throttle if you want to really maximize the car's potential, but it goes where you want it to and is easy to drive fast, quickly. If you know what you're doing. (Yup, me again there.)
It's not available with a manual transmission, but the eight-speed automatic does switch gears with admirable speed, and the undeniable aural bliss of the car rev-matching on downshifts makes it sound like a professional driver's behind the wheel.
Here's the real fun bit, though. See that little button that says TVD? That stands for Torque Vectoring Differential. Basically, whereas BMW, et al. use the brakes to help you maintain traction while accelerating, the RC F uses a zillion sensors that measure everything from throttle and steering input to the amount of G-force the car is experiencing, then applies more or less power to each rear wheel via electronically-controlled clutches.
The result is that you can get on the power much earlier.
This was with the standard differential, which is pretty good in its own right, but the TVD was truly amazing. It loosely equates to you having seriously legit right foot dexterity.
Ultimately, did they beat the M4? That's not exactly for me to say. In terms of measurable statistics like acceleration and lap times with top-level drivers behind the wheel, probably not. But this car's just so easy to drive at high speed it makes you feel like a top-level driver. And that counts for a lot.