Initially released in 2014, the Lexus RC F has been due for a refresh. Well, Toyota came through and revised the RC F for the 2020 model year. I drove a 2019 RC F in Colorado just last year, so it seemed fitting to spend another week with the updated 2020 RC F and see how different it really is.
Most of what has changed from 2019 to 2020 is on the exterior. All 2020 RC F models have been given a side skirt, front lip, and diffuser. These subtle, but definitely more aggressive, additions have succeeded in taking the RC F from boring coupe to attractive sports car.
The two-unit headlight and “Nike swoosh” looking turn signal below have been replaced by one integrated assembly. The front of the RC F is dramatic with its hourglass style grill, and the combination of the two lighting units has done a lot to simplify things, while adding grace to the overall design.
The rear taillights have been “smoked” and a body matching diffuser has been added to enhance the already prominent quad exhaust design. On a more subtle note, but appreciated note, the previously black speed activated wing has been replaced with a body color-matching apparatus.
The inside of the 2020 RC F is still as solid as before with its great materials, color combinations, and an overall luxurious feeling that really makes the RC F special. New for 2020 is the addition of Apple CarPlay, one of my biggest gripes regarding the 2019 model we tested. After coming out of the BMW based Toyota Supra last week, the lack of wireless charging and wireless Apple CarPlay was disappointing, but having it available in the first place is a great start.
Mechanically, five more horsepower is not a big deal, but experiencing the 472 closer to sea level this time made a huge difference. The 2020 Lexus RC F has no problem reminding you of its 5.0L naturally aspirated V8 under the hood. In a twist from most manufacturers right now with their turbo engines, the Lexus F cars have a seemingly silent exhaust while piping in every decibel towards the driver. The emphasis on a dying art is refreshing, but even more noise from a dedicated sports car might be expected.
The single most disappointing aspect had to be the ride. On our trip to Colorado, the wife and I both applauded the ride quality and enjoyed the car as a “Grand Touring” vehicle. This go-around was a much different story. After just a few minutes on some more bumpy but decent roads in most other cars I’ve driven (including the 2020 Supra last week and my very own 2011 Lexus IS F) both of us found ourselves to be nearly sick to our stomachs.
The tightly wound suspension made the Lexus feel like more of a wooden roller coaster than the comfortable but fast coupe we experienced in the 2019. That overly stiff suspension also seemed to exaggerate the already heavy curb weight of 3900 lbs. Even though my IS F is only 100 lbs lighter, the tight suspension makes the RC F feel unpredictable and scary on the tight backroads.
While Lexus did a lot of good things to update the 2020 RCF, the suspension feels like a true car killer. Mid-model refreshes should help address the needs of an automobile, but the suspension feels like Lexus missed the point. The other problem is at nearly $80,000 as tested, the RCF is reaching LC500 territory.
While the LC500 is not quite as good in the corners, its stunning interior, fantastic ride, and unbelievable exterior have you asking how did Lexus miss on the RC F in such an important way. The RC F is still a competitor in the segment, but make sure you know what you are getting into before pulling the trigger.