You can always trust that famed Lexus dependability.
High-performance sports cars, especially German ones, can be great used purchases because of massive depreciation. The used market is currently flooded with former six-figure cars that have lost a majority of their value, but buying one isn't always the smartest idea. Take a used Audi S5 for example, though the car can now be purchased for a relatively low sum, the associated maintenance costs would turn away most would-be buyers. If only there was a used high-performance sports car, that was built by the most dependable automaker in the world. Oh wait, there is.
After claiming the title in 2017, Lexus was ranked as the most dependable brand in the US for 2018. Although the study took place in 2018, it measured 2015 model year cars to see how many issues owners experienced. Porsche was close, but Lexus edged out the most dependable spot, which is important to note here. There are plenty of other used sports cars on the market, such as the BMW M4, which have also depreciated to a reasonable figure.
In fact, 2015 and 2016 M4 models can now be found with reasonable mileage for less than $40,000. While the M4 is certainly a good car, we don't think it is as safe of a used purchase as the RC F. Both the M4 and the RC F are starting to run out of their factory warranties, and based on dependability surveys, we know which car we'd roll the dice on.
A brand-new 2019 RC F starts off at $64,650, which is about $5,000 less than a new M4. Despite having a lower starting price, 2015 RC F models have held their value slightly better than M4 models of the same year. The cheapest RC F examples we found were listed for around $41,000, while the cheapest M4 examples were around $35,000. Even a base RC F comes better equipped than a base M4, as BMW charged extra for options like leather seats and a backup camera. The M4 also lacks some features found in the RC F, such as ventilated seats.
When buying a used performance car, we typically recommend opting for an extended warranty, preferably from the manufacturer. We managed to find a 2015 certified pre-owned RC F with just 21,000 miles for $44,000. Lexus' certified program includes four factory-recommended services for two years or 20,000 miles after purchase and a minimum of a two-year unlimited mileage warranty after the four-year 50,000-mile warranty expires. Depending on when the 2015 RC F we found was purchased, it could have as much as a three-year unlimited mileage warranty included.
We should also note that we did find a certified M4 for around $44,000 as well, but it had more than double the mileage. BMW's certified program also includes unlimited miles, but only covers one year compared to Lexus' two years. As we've pointed out, once these extended warranties are over, the Lexus is the car we'd feel more comfortable owning.
Since it was introduced in the 2015 model year, the RC F has been powered by a 5.0-liter V8 producing 467 horsepower and 389 lb-ft of torque going out through an eight-speed automatic transmission. This is more power than the M4, but less torque. The RC F also weighs more with a curb weight of just under 4,000 pounds. F may stand for the Fuji raceway in Japan, but the RC F is more suitable for street driving with the occasional trip to the track. 0-60 takes around 4.3 seconds, and the car can still snap heads when you stab the throttle at high rpm.
If you spend every other weekend at the track, there are plenty of cars that would be better for you. We recommend the RC F for anyone looking for a fun car that can be driven comfortably every day but can still make your spine tingle when you mash the accelerator. Few cars sound as good as the RC F, which greatly compensates for a minor handicap in performance over some of its contemporaries.
No car is perfect, and the RC F is no exception. There are some drawbacks to buying one, even at a $25,000 discount over a new one. Even when it was brand-new, the Lexus Enform infotainment system was maligned for its cumbersome interface. It uses a trackpad like you'd find on a laptop, with haptic feedback when you hover over menu items. We've never found it to be as bad as some other outlets claim it to be, but it is far from the best infotainment available.
Another drawback is fuel economy. That V8 may sound good, but you'll average just 16-mph in the city and 25-mpg on the highway. These aren't great averages, but they are only one-mpg off the supposedly more fuel efficient twin-turbo inline-six in the M4. We managed to hyper-mile the RC F to around 30-mpg on the highway with the car's Eco Mode, which replaces a traditional tachometer for a blue ring that disappears as you mash the throttle.
The RC F was never the ultimate car in its segment, but it benefits from a solid reputation that comes from being built by Lexus. German luxury cars are notoriously expensive to maintain as they get old, but Japanese luxury cars are quite the opposite. Some buyers simply want the fastest, most precise weapon around a race track, but other buyers are self-aware enough to know they will likely never take their $40,000 luxury car racing. If you consider yourself one of the latter, used RC F models are out there for a good price.