In the world of performance coupes, there is a wide range of competitors, the newest entry of which is the 2015 Lexus RC F. Unveiled at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, the 2015 Lexus RC F certainly turned heads, and was quickly seen as possible competition for some of the greatest entry-level luxury coupes in the world, such as the BMW X4 and the Audi RS 5.
2015 Lexus RC F – Luxury Performance Coupe
The 2015 Lexus RC F certainly looks the part, starting with bold lines, two-door coupe body, and an unmistakable bulging hood, hinting at the massive powerplant therein. In view of the “anonymous” non-descript designs that dominate the market, the Lexus RC F stands out, in more ways than one. Under the hood, the 2015 Lexus RC F is driven by a powerful combination only superceded by the Lexus LFA supercar. The naturally-aspirated 5.0 ℓ V8 engine generates 467 hp and 389 lb•ft of torque, which is fed through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Before heading to the rear wheels, power is divided by an electronically-controlled torque-vectoring limited-slip rear differential, and can launch the car from zero to sixty miles per hour in just 4.4 seconds.
Depending on who you ask, the two top competitors for the 2015 Lexus RC F would be the BMW M4 and Audi RS 5, both very impressive luxury performance coupes in their own right, but how do they compare on paper?
2015 BMW M4 Coupe – The One to Beat
Like the Lexus RC F, the BMW M4 is a new model, and is powered by a twin-turbo 3.0 ℓ inline-six cylinder engine. The M4’s engine generates 425 hp and 406 lb•ft of torque, which is impressive on its own, but shy of RC F’s output by 42 hp. Some sticklers might point out that the M4’s torque is better, by 17 lb•ft, but there’s a couple problems with this: First, it’s only 17 lb•ft, this isn’t enough to make a noticeable difference. Second, we’re not counting turbolag, so off-the-line power doesn’t have the same “immediacy” of the RC F’s naturally-aspirated V8, and those 2.0 ℓ of extra displacement give the RC F driver an immediate thrill and linear power delivery throughout the range. Still, the 2015 BMW M4 features faster acceleration, beating the 2015 Lexus RC F, by 0.5 seconds, to sixty miles per hour.
2015 Audi RS 5 – The Other German Compatitor
Like the Lexus RC F, the 2015 Audi RS 5 is driven by a naturally-aspirated V8 engine, slightly smaller, at 4.2 ℓ, featuring 450 hp power output and 317 lb•ft of torque, which fits in nicely with the aforementioned BMW M4 and Lexus RC F. As someone once said, “It’s all in the cubes,” or the way we measure engine displacement these days, “it’s all in the liters,” which is why the Audi RS 5 is somewhat lacking in the torque department, 72 lb•ft lower than the RC F and 89 lb•ft lower than the BMW M4. Still, the Audi RS 5 is only a tenth of a second slower than the Lexus RC F.
Power vs Control
Of course, straight line performance is one thing, and practically anyone can mash the pedal and drive in a straight line, a clear indicator of how much power a vehicle has to sprint forward. Leaving the automatic transmission, equipped on all three of these vehicles, to choose the best shift points, one has but to keep the steering wheel pointed straight ahead.
Lexus RC F’s V8 “Siren Song” is unmistakable.
On the other hand, power is useless without control, and each of these vehicles, the Lexus RC F, BMW M4, and Audi RS 5, are built with control-enhancing features. Featuring wide, low-profile sport tires, track-tuned suspension systems, high-performance brakes, and all the usual electronic nannies, razor-sharp handling is expected.
For example, we already mentioned the Lexus RC F’s torque-vectoring rear differential, which increases wheel torque on the outside of the turn, pushing the car into the turn. The BMW M4 features lightweight construction, including carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, forged aluminum-alloy wheels, and lithium-ion battery, which means that the engine has less to work against . The 2015 Audi RS 5 also features a torque-vectoring differential, in addition to its Quattro sport-tuned all-wheel drive system.
Testing a Theory
On the track, pushing power and control to the limits, how do these three vehicles compare? I’m sure that the group who put this next video together must have had a lot of fun putting together this particular road test, putting our three entry-level luxury performance coupes to the test. AMCI Testing, an unbiased third-party testing organization for the automotive industry, regularly tests some 250 vehicles per year, assuring that they do everything that the automakers say they will. Thus, the real question is, “How do they compare on asphalt?”
AMCI Testing recently hired professional race car driver Justin Bell, taking the gold at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race being just one of his many achievements, to test-drive the 2015 Lexus RC F, 2015 BMW M4, and 2015 Audi RS 5. This wasn’t just any typical road-test, however, and Mr. Bell was introduced to a custom-designed race track meant to push him to his limits, as well. After, I’m sure, hours getting to know the track and vehicles, the results boil down to a short video showing the cars in action, as well as the driver’s reaction.
In a pure performance mode, the Lexus RC F really seems to take the cake, a full two seconds faster than the BMW M4 and Audi RS 5. Keep in mind, we’re talking about all-around performance, and the Lexus RS F is so balanced that it pulls off with aplomb. Add in the beautiful siren-song of her naturally-aspirated V8 engine and the seemingly-opposed ultra-quiet cabin and beautiful ride quality, and you have what could be the perfect combination of performance and poise that we expect of a luxury performance coupe.
Lexus RC F offers better all-around performance!
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