Lexus introduced the world to all-new RC Coupe at the Tokyo Motor Show last November, and for us it was love at first sight. Of course, our first question was “When can we drive it?”, and that question was answered earlier this month, when I was invited out to Monticello Motor Club to test out the entire RC family (Lexus RC 350, RC 350 F SPORT, and RC F) on their amazing 3.6 mile, 18-turn race track.
We were most interested in driving the 2015 Lexus RC F, the brand’s high performance coupe which faces off against such powerhouses as the BMW M4, Audi RS5, and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. Boasting the most powerful V8 performance ever developed by Lexus, the 5.0L engine pumps out 467HP and 388 lb-ft of torque. It’s backed up by a close-ratio eight-speed Sports Program Direct Shift transmission and available Torque Vectoring Differential. The RC F does 0-60 in a scant 4.4 seconds and the 1/4-mile in 12.5 seconds, on it’s way to a top speed of 170 mph. Needless to say, this isn’t your “typical” Lexus, not by a long shot.
Now there are a slew of technical details about the car, and Lexus does a great job of outlining them in their press release, so if you’re dying to know the nitty-gritty details, be sure to check that out. For me, the three important facts were curb weight (3958 lbs), weight distribution (55/45), and coefficient of drag (0.33).
Lexus developed the RC F to excel on the track as well as the road. Body rigidity, suspension, brakes, tires and all other systems were developed with the expectation that RC F owners would be taking their cars to track day events. And not on trailers, but actually driving their own cars to the track.
So that’s exactly what we did, driving the RC F nearly two hours from Westchester to Monticello on a variety of highways and back roads, to see if it could actually be someone’s daily driver. In a word – Yes. The RC F has a surprisingly comfortable ride, and the exhaust note is also pretty quiet (until you give it some throttle, and then you’re rewarded with one of the most intoxicating exhaust growl you’ve ever heard).
Once we arrived at Monticello, we had a quick informational session where we learned about the intricacies of the track, and then they let us loose to start driving. I jumped into a Molten Pearl RC F, turned on Sport S+ mode, and waited for my turn to go. I took it easy on the first few laps as I got acquainted with the track, and then I really started to push the RC F. Let me tell you, the car is an absolute monster on the track – It’s well balanced, has an unbelievable amount of grip in the corners, gobs of power for those straightaways, and the brakes do a great job of shaving off speed in a hurry, with no fade in sight.
Visually, it’s impossible to overlook the RC F, between the radical styling and the seven “look at me” exterior colors: Ultra White, Nebula Gray Pearl, Liquid Platinum, Obsidian, Infrared, Molten Pearl and Ultrasonic Blue Mica 2.0. You’ll either love the styling or you’ll hate it, there’s really no in between here. I think the designers took a real chance with the RC’s styling, but they knocked it out of the park.
The interior of the RC F has all of the luxury features you’d expect from a Lexus, but with a sportier feel. The sports seats are fantastic, supportive yet not overly bolstered, the perfect balance for a car that pulls double duty. The infotainment system is top notch, and the Remote Touch Interface received the same update that the Lexus NX did, replacing the often frustrating joystick with a touchpad that’s a little easier to use.
Furthermore, if you opt for the 17-speaker Mark Levinson Surround System, prepare to be blown away by 835 watts of high fidelity. In addition to the great sound you’ve come to expect from a Mark Levinson system, it also offers Clari-Fi music restoration technology, which reverses the effect of digital compression and brings your music back to life. We got a demonstration of this firsthand, and it’s really pretty incredible!
Overall, I was REALLY impressed with how well the Lexus RC F performed, both on and off the race track. It’s clear that Lexus engineers took the lessons learned from the IS F & LFA and applied them to the RC F, and the result is a world-class high performance sports car that’s designed to be fun to drive for any driver, regardless of their level of driving skill.
If I had a spare $63,225 laying around (that’s how much the RC F starts at), I might be tempted to purchase one of these bad boys. But since I don’t, I’ll have to simply revel in the memories of my day at Monticello with the Lexus RC F.
If you’re looking for a fun sports car that you can take to the track on the weekend, and you’re not afraid of some edgy styling, the 2015 Lexus RC F is just the ticket!
Visit http://www.lexus.com/concept/RCF to learn more about the Lexus RC F.
The 405HP BMW M2 Competition Really Is The Ultimate Driving Machine
When BMW first introduced the M2, it was a clear indication that they had not forgotten about purists like me who wanted a small, lightweight, fun-to-drive sports car that could hang with the big boys come track day. And that it did.
But now they’ve taken things up a notch with the first-ever 2019 BMW M2 Competition.
As the name suggests, the M2 Competition is playing for keeps, with a new engine lifted from the M3/M4, a twin-turbo, 3.0-liter straight-six making 405 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque.
For those of you keeping score, that’s 40 horses and 63 more lb-ft than the outgoing M2, and it’s good enough for a 0-60 time of four seconds flat and a top speed of 174 mph.
Naturally, there’s a host of chassis improvements to make the most of the added power, with lots of raiding from the M3/M4 parts bin, along with new M Sport seats, larger M Sport brakes front and rear, a new dual exhaust system, and bigger kidney grilles up front (painted black).
Overall, it’s a pretty impressive update to a vehicle that was perfectly fine as it sat, taking this lightweight track beast and dialing it up to 11. Porsche owners had better watch out!
No word on pricing just yet, but it sounds like it will be worth every penny that they’re asking. And if it turns out to be too rich for your blood, you can always pick up one of the many used M2’s that will surely be hitting the market once the M2 Competition comes out..
Speaking of which, anyone wanna buy a kidney? 🙂
What do you think of the BMW M2 Competition?
What Do You Think Of The 2019 Chevrolet Camaro And Its Bold New Styling?
This morning, Chevrolet surprised all of us with the unveiling of the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro, which feature distinctive designs, new available technologies and the first-ever Turbo 1LE.
We’re not really sure why Chevrolet chose not to unveil the new Camaro at the 2018 New York Auto Show a few weeks ago, given the sheer number of consumers and media who come out to the show. But they must have had their reasons..
In any event, we got our first glimpse of the 2019 Camaro this morning, and it’s… different.
According to Chevy, the 2019 Camaro’s updated designs “are not only striking but also help to improve performance. For instance, the grille details and hood and fascia vents were designed for optimized air flow, either to cool components or help minimize drag or lift.”
Maybe so, but at what cost? The 2018 Camaro was a great looking ride. But the new Camaro has already got the Internet buzzing, and not in a good way. The front-end treatment is a bit much, and it’s even worse in SS trim, where the grille is mostly blacked out.
Still, if you can look past the looks, there’s a lot to like about the new Camaro. The SS model’s 6.2-liter LT1 V8 can now be paired with a 10-speed automatic, complete with custom launch control and line-lock. This transmission, co-developed with Ford, replaces the eight-speed automatic, and until now it’s only been available in the ZL1 model.
In addition, a new Turbo 1LE joins the V6 1LE, SS 1LE and ZL1 1LE to round out Camaro’s line of 1LE track stars. The 275 HP Camaro Turbo 1LE comes exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission and a tailored chassis package that includes a performance suspension with larger diameter front and rear stabilizer bars, specifically tuned dampers, stiffer rear cradle bushings and cross-axis ball joints in the rear tow links that enhance lateral stiffness
The Turbo 1LE also gets wide summer tires (275mm in the rear, 245mm in the front), Brembo brakes, a drive-mode selector with sport and track modes, a suede flat-bottom steering wheel and shift knob, and optional Recaro seats, along with nearly 50-50 weight distribution.
As you can see, there’s a lot to like about the 2019 Camaro, and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of one so I can test it out for myself. And while I’m not 100% sold on the styling of the new Camaro, maybe it’s one of those designs that looks better in person than in photos.
What do you think of the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro?
Review: 2018 Infiniti Q50 3.0t
Of all of the vehicles in the Infiniti line, the Q50 is probably the most timeless. For the 2018 model year, the Q50 shuffles a few things, but remains as it’s been for some time. Unlike many in the luxury segments, however, the 2018 Infiniti Q50 holds its age well and after a week in this sedan, we still like it for everything that it is.
Key to the Q50’s nature are its understated good looks, comfortable interior, and a strong road presence. Like most in the luxury sport sedan market, the Infiniti Q50 is offered in a variety of performance flavors from the daily driving 2.0t model with its turbocharged four-cylinder to the powerful Red Sport 400 and the fuel-sipping Q50 Hybrid model. We spent our week driving the middle-road 3.0t model with its turbocharged six-cylinder engine and would recommend it as the Q50 of choice for most buyers.
The 2018 Infiniti Q50 3.0t combines strong performance with a likeable price point. Much of the focus gets put on the Red Sport 400 model, which deserves that notice, but which most will likely find overpowered and too highly priced to compensate. The well-done 3.0-liter V6 in the 3.0t model outputs 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, which are more than enough to make a midsize luxury sedan feel powerful and go fast. The solid range of output the engine has is well managed by the smart automatic transmission that comes attached and the tight and balanced chassis all of it sits upon.
We drove the all-wheel drive model and would recommend it for not only its added control, but its peace of mind when the weather goes sour. We had snow and bad weather during our time with the 2018 Q50 3.0t and it proved itself capable in those conditions.
Fuel economy in the 2018 Q50 is good, with the 3.0t model returning 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway on paper and a little better than that, we found, in real life. Compared to the less powerful 2.0t’s 23/31 and the more powerful Red Sport 400’s 20/26, the 3.0t’s V6 seems to balance power output and economy well.
Key to the 2018 Infiniti Q50’s appeal is its timeless exterior design, which starts with an understated front grille and hawkeye-shaped headlamps. A hoodline shaped for speed, fenders bulging with power, and an unobtrusive rear fender design all combine to make for that timeless, sport-tuned quality that the Q50 carries with it.
Our chief concerns with the Infiniti Q50 are in the interior, where the dual screen infotainment often vies with itself to see which screen will glare more often and the somewhat cramped trunk space. The latter being especially true if you prefer to carry a full-sized spare tire.
Where the interior shines, however, is everywhere else. Quality materials and high-end workmanship are seen in the cabin with ergonomics and layout being very well done. We like the low-slung dashboard, which keeps the cabin cozy without impinging on legroom, and the cushioning way the rear seating is shaped to keep rear headroom high despite the sloping roofline.
The 2018 Infiniti Q50 2.0t has a base price of $34,200 while the 3.0t starts at $38,950. We recommend bumping that over forty thousand to get the 3.0t Sport model with AWD for the best mix of accoutrements and drivetrain.