Specification sheets don't tell the whole story, and if there's a single brand that has illustrated this time and again, it's Lexus. Parent brand Toyota plainly got out of the sporty car business a decade ago, but some Lexuses have continued to look the part. Even more important, the elements you look for — like generous power, rear-wheel drive and double-wishbone suspensions — have often been present. Regardless, they haven't always translated to the emotional experience you expect, or at least desire, based on what you see in the specs. The new 2015 RC coupe, especially in RC F form, changes all of that in ways its predecessor, the IS-F sedan, failed to do.
Related: 2015 Lexus RC F at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show
The RC, a two-door four-seater, is intended to compete with the likes of Audi's A5 and BMW's 4 Series (that's the former 3 Series coupe). It comes in three versions: the RC 350, the RC 350 F Sport (the regular car with substantial performance tweaks) and the RC F (a full-blown competitor for the Audi RS5 and BMW M4). I tested all three versions in New York state and at the Monticello Motor Club, a private racetrack in Monticello, N.Y.
Engines include the venerable 3.5-liter V-6 producing 306 horsepower in the RC 350, and an updated version of the 5.0-liter V-8 from the IS-F, producing 467 hp in the new RC F. Both engines drive the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, though the RC 350 also offers all-wheel drive that instead pairs with a six-speed automatic.