The good, the bad, and the strange.
Many people think that they know their favorite celebrities well, but these preconceived notions usually fly out the window as soon as they actually shake hands with them. The same goes for cars. Video reviews do a good car some degree of justice, but it's only behind the wheel where the good and bad personality traits come to the surface. After spending a week in Lexus' fastest offering outside of the LFA supercar, here are the 10 things I learned about the RC-F that I didn't know before.
1) It seems like there's a big secret about the RC-F that everyone likes to talk about as if it were some lost mystical treasure that has yet to be found. That would be the so-called "Expert Mode." When I spoke to knowledgeable people about RC-F's special mode, their tones were hushed. Even the deliveryman who dropped the car off told me that he couldn't make any comments about the mode. All it really does is disable all of the safety features, which means the car will now try to buck the driver like a rodeo bull. To engage it, the torque-vectoring differential must be in "Track" mode with the car in "Sport +." Then, a simple press of the traction control button is all it takes. Make sure your insurance papers are in order before trying this.
2) In the RC-F, people look at you as if you were a rolling ATM. Car wash attendees gave me grim looks when I didn't tip them handsomely and the neighbors thought I was dealing drugs. The RC-F may even work for some gold digger pranks. Despite being broke, no matter how hard I tried, I could not convince a homeless man standing on the street corner that I couldn't spare any change. Sitting low in a car that costs almost $80,000 will do that. 3) The torque-vectoring differential's modes are night and day. I was expecting slight alterations in the car's behavior when cycling through normal, slalom, and track, but anything outside of normal turns the car into a rocket. Accelerating out of corners has never been more fun.
4) On that note, the TVD and the traction control system work together to make the car safe for all skill levels. It takes a true brute to mess up when the car is not in Expert Mode. Even if a driver hits the throttle too hard, the car won't veer into the bushes and even seemingly fatal mistakes are made to vanish with the deathly bite of the Brembos. 5) Not that the RC-F could be mistaken for looking plain by itself, but the carbon fiber roof and rear wing are an absolute must. Who cares about a low center of gravity or weight reduction. The perfect weave comes courtesy of the LFA laboratory and is a must have to anyone who sees it up close.
6) On that note, be aware that the performance package that comes with the carbon fiber roof and wing actually adds weight to the RC-F. For this we can thank the torque-vectoring differential. It comes with a 66-pound penalty, 15 of which are removed by the carbon fiber elements to make a net gain of 51 pounds. 7) Gorgeous 19" alloy rims are easy to scratch in crowded cities, even with a gazillion parking aids. Sorry about that, Lexus. 8) The RC part of RC-F makes the car sound like a toy because, as children, the first RC cars we know are those of the remote controlled variety. Like the antenna-controlled cars of our youth, the RC in the Lexus is also an acronym. It stands for "Racing Coupe."
9) At first it seems cool to have a screen right next to the tachometer that displays G-Force, how much torque is going to each wheel, rear wing position, lap time, and more, but when the car is at full tilt, these toys offer nothing but distractions. Pro tip: don't try and glance at the G-force meter while mid-corner. It's the perfect way to become the laughing stock of the Internet. 10) The best thing about the car is it's 5.0-liters of V8 fury. Unfortunately, it also makes for some dismal fuel economy numbers. The car is advertised at 16 mpg in the city, but I managed 12 mpg in traffic. The fact that it drinks premium fuel at alarming rates won't scare off customers who can afford it, but it is annoying to constantly be stopping for gas.