Although the RC F’s bulk gives the Sachs dampers plenty to do, they provide the car with just enough sporting poise and purpose to make it feel coherent when driven fast. A firecracker of an engine with a soft, vacillating chassis would have been a regrettable combination for this car. Thankfully, unlike its forebears, that’s not what the RC F has.
The car’s ride is firm – more uncompromising than the IS F’s was and much more jostling than Lexus brand devotees will expect. But the harder you’re prepared to examine it on the road, the better the chassis works.
The aggressiveness of its short-travel rebound control smooths out as your speed increases, and although the car’s gait never feels fluent, body control, directional stability, grip and traction are good enough to survive whatever you’re prepared to throw at them.
And yet in spite of its apparent grip and purpose and that trick diff, the incisive handling balance and bite of the M4 and Mercedes-AMG C63 aren’t quite present here. The RC F’s steering communicates fairly well, but it doesn’t command a front axle that rings with compelling directional precision and doesn’t make the car feel naturally agile. It’s as if Lexus tuned the chassis for stability and then attempted to dial some nimbleness back into the handling with its active differential.
There’s reasonable cornering balance here, but the approach doesn’t really work. Select Slalom mode on the Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD) and, sure enough, the RC F’s turn-in is noticeably crisper – to the point where it can even unsettle the rear end slightly on descending revs as you enter sharper bends, activating the stability control system.
But picking up the throttle later in the same corner, in an attempt to delicately adjust the car’s attitude, doesn’t elicit the hoped-for response. The car’s mass and its blanket of stability is just a little overbearing. Too often they produce understeer whose onset isn’t clearly enough telegraphed to your fingertips.
And when they produce oversteer, the RC F’s limit handling isn’t quite as controllable as we’d like.