2015 Lexus RC F first drive review Page 3

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Helmet shelving

Built on the same 107.5-inch wheelbase as the 2015 RC coupe, the RC F shares its Lexus GS front-end layout, its crossbraced IS C midsection, and its IS sedan rear suspension setup. It nets out some 2.7 inches shorter than today's IS sedan, and 1.1 inches wider.

Space isn't shy for front-seat passengers, and shouldn't be in a car that weighs in at just south of 4,000 pounds even with an optional carbon-fiber reinforced plastic roof and rear wing and a dose of high-strength steel. She's a brick house. Those front seats we've gone on about? Sit in them, they're excellent, with lots of stitching going on to mimic musculature. They look a lot like the racy chairs you can buy for your office, super-wide and with big bolsters and shoulder wings that appear to fit a really wide range of body types.

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The rear seats are nicely stitched shelves for a helmet. It's a coupe, after all. The back seats don't split and fold to hold longer objects, like they do on the RC 350, so there's not much more to be made from the RC F's meager 10.4 cubic feet of trunk space. Lexus says it'll hold two golf bags.

2015 Lexus RC F

2015 Lexus RC F

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Safety and other nice things

Elsewhere, the RC F benefits from a generation of upgrades, both to safety systems and infotainment gear, and suffers some foibles that are more common in this Lexus era than any other.

The RC F has eight airbags and active braking systems that work together with the car’s adaptive cruise control. There's also a rearview camera, to mitigate the terrible rearward visibility. That rear camera view displays on a 7-inch LCD screen with a big frame of black around it--as if it's waiting to be swapped out for a 12-inch display, as if someone forgot to hit the Zoom button on the TV remote when they upgraded to HD. It's even off-center to the stack.

The Lexus Enform infotainment system at least ditches its mouse in this iteration for a Remote Touch input pad that allows swipes, pinches, zooms, and other now-customary gestures. It still feels out of sync with what's on the screen, and the screen could use an artistic reskin more fitting with the Lexus brand.

As for luxury fittings on the RC F, leather is an option. So are ventilated seats, the speed-sensing rear spoiler, blind-spot monitors, and navigation. There's also an available upgrade to the base 10-speaker sound system--a 17-speaker Mark Levinson system that produces 835 watts of sound.

Those prices can drive up an RC F from its base of $63,325 to nearly $70,000. That still leaves it a couple of grand cheaper than the M4, which starts at $65,125, closer to the run-out prices of today's Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, Audi RS 5, and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe.

For a decade, Lexus made its name on refinement. It advertised that its cars could balance a champagne glass--a pyramid of them--on the hood. Priorities have changed, and at least part of the Lexus division is charged now--charged with putting its grandma days behind it, expressing some new ideas about what Lexus can be.

As long as those new ideas include things like 467-hp coupes--better to leave that one-note image behind.

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