I climbed out of the 2020 Toyota Supra and sauntered over to the 2020 Lexus RC-F Track Edition. The Supra had impressed with its overall character on the back roads of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Could the bigger Lexus RC-F Track Edition impress just as much on the same drive loop? I settled in to the heavily-bolstered, bright red driver’s seat, brought the 472 horsepower V8 to life, and hit some back roads to find out.
Lexus wanted me to drive their RC-F Track Edition so badly that they brought one to our annual Washington Automotive Press Association rally. I was one of a handful of journalists invited to come along for a day of hot takes.
Lexus’ RC coupe has been around for a few years (since 2015) and is an example of how other vehicles’ platforms and components can be used to create something entirely new. The RC platform shares front-end bits with the Lexus GS, a mid- section with the Lexus IS convertible, and the rear is pulled from the modern IS sedan. It comes together in a pretty cohesive four-seat coupe that offers a variety of engines and drive wheels.
While the most basic Lexus RC comes with a 2.0 liter, turbocharged four cylinder, Lexus elected to double the cylinder count when creating the ultimate version of RC. Some RC coupes also offer all-wheel drive – not in the RC-F, though. The RC-F Track Edition uses a 5.0 liter V8 to produce 472 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque, all of which is shoved to the rear wheels through a Torsen limited-slip differential and 8- speed automatic transmission.
The RC-F Track Edition has adaptive suspension, with shocks built by German company Sachs. Big 15” brake rotors are paired to Brembo brake calipers for solid stopping power. While the “regular” RC-F looks a bit more tame, the RC-F Track Edition adds a ridiculous- for-the-street aero package. The giant wing stuck to the trunk made me immediately wonder how this car could handle a full- throttle run up VIR’s climbing esses. The RC-F Track Edition weighs 3,780 lb – roughly 175 lbs less than a “normal” RC-F – and scoots to 60 mph in a hair under four seconds.
As I mentioned, I immediately climbed out of the Supra and into the RC-F Track Edition. I thought the Supra would set the bar too high, and the bulkier, brutish Lexus wouldn’t be much fun in comparison. In truth, the RC-F Track Edition was a hoot to drive. While the Supra feels like a scalpel, this “ultimate RC” feels more like a (very well-crafted) small hammer.
The power built progressively and with urgency as the big V8 revved. It almost felt like forced induction was helping out. Almost. Those fancy Sachs dampers did a great job keeping the body controlled on tight back roads. And the noise – well, I love a good inline-six, but a V8 howl is something else. The car almost felt like a good mash-up between the more nimble Supra and shouty, straight-line-preferred Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye that I had driven earlier in the day.
I didn’t drive anywhere at any speeds that would truly demonstrate how well the aero worked to keep the car settled at speed. For now, I’m sure Toyota’s engineers can tell you just how much better the car performs in particular environments due to those upgrades.
While the $96,000+ RC-F Track Edition is the fastest, most expensive, and theoretically best version of the Lexus RC, there are some very attractive powertrain options at more palatable price points, and I’m hoping to sample one soon. Where the Supra feels slightly tight on cabin space, the RC is more reasonable. Where the Supra is more track- and back-road-focused, the RC feels like it’d be the better commuter and road-trip machine.
And of course, should the opportunity to actually feel how all of the extra aero bits keep the RC-F Track Edition stable through VIR’s climbing esses arise, I certainly wouldn’t turn it down. That opportunity may never present itself, though. Lexus is only building 400 RC-F Track Edition models, with just 60 to be sold in the United States.