I spent a week with this year’s model of the Lexus RC F after record-breaking rainfall turned many of Dallas’ roads into minefields of potholes. As I opened it up on northbound Interstate 35 south of Farmers Branch, the sunken cavities eyed the car’s suspension and tires.
This was treacherous pavement: the potholes were deep and jagged and damn near unavoidable. But the RC F glided over those I couldn’t avoid with a subtle bump. For those I could, the tight turning radius allowed me to precisely angle the vehicle to swiftly dodge them before pushing down the pedal and testing the V-8 engine, which Lexus says can power the car from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
This is a car for an empty freeway and an open road. You’ll notice its heft as you accelerate from a dead stop (it’s about 400 pounds heavier than its closest competitor, the BMW M4), and the steering wheel doesn’t respond nearly as well in the neighborhood as it does on the highway.
That may be the point. In the RC F—retail price: $72,350—Lexus marries the luxury of its traditional products with the performance of a sports car. It challenges similar machines by BMW and Audi that give owners more excitement on the way into the office, and on the drive home. And speaking to those Lexus owners, chances are the RC F won’t require much time in the shop. Few of the brand’s models do. Susan Arledge, managing principal at Cresa Dallas, has owned six Lexus cars over the years. She says she once bent the antenna on her convertible and took it in. She jokes about the mechanic’s reaction: “He told me, ‘if it wasn’t for the stupid people like you doing things like this, we wouldn’t have anything to do,’” she laughs. “That probably says it all—there just aren’t many problems those cars create.”