I recently had the opportunity to drive the brand-new 2020 Lexus RC F Track Edition. As with the super limited-edition Subaru WRX STI S209 that I also just drove, this was made available via my friends at the Washington Auto Press Association at their annual rally. This car, too, is quite limited, as Lexus only plans to produce 100 of them.
I’ll start with the elephant in the room: The 2020 Lexus RC F Track Edition that I just drove starts at $96,800, which is a large amount of money, to say the least — especially considering that the Lexus LC 500
spaceship coupe starts at $92,950. I’ve driven the LC 500, and it’s quite good. We even put it up on a lift to look around. Naturally, Doug drove it, too, and concluded that the LC is definitely worth $100,000. So is this more expensive car — which based on a way less expensive car — actually worth it? Let’s find out.
Track Edition Overview
As with most special edition models, the choices get narrowed down early on. You can get an RC F Track Edition in one of two great colors: Ultra White or Matte Nebula Gray. Just be prepared to pay a $3,100 premium for the cool gray color that came on the one I drove. With the delivery, handling and processing fee, that pushes the Lexus RC F Track Edition over the $100,000 mark ($100,925, to be exact).
The car I drove came with the raucous Circuit Red Alcantara and red carbon fiber trim splashed across the interior. Subtle, it isn’t, but it looks really cool — which is good, because it’s the only option on the interior.
You have two packages to choose from:
- Navigation/Mark Levinson Audio Package: $2,725
- All-Weather Package: $130
And there are two optional extras (aside from all the accessories):
- Premium triple-beam LED headlamps: $1,160
- Intuitive parking assist: $500
That all tallies up to $105,440 if you tick all the boxes. For reference, the regular V8 RC F starts at $64,900 — but more on that in a bit. For now, let’s look at what makes the Lexus RC F Track Edition special.
With the exception of the red Alcantara and carbon fiber interior trim, all of what you get on the Track Edition can be seen from the outside. That includes:
- Titanium mufflers
- A carbon fiber roof
- A carbon fiber hood, front spoiler, rocker-panel splitters, rear diffuser and fixed rear wing
- Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes with red brake calipers
- 19-in BBS ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels
It’s a very cool-looking car. Of all the vehicles present at the WAPA Rally, this one stood out from the crowd, aesthetically. Nothing about it is subtle, particularly the large fixed rear carbon fiber wing. It’s not for everyone, and many of the more staid Lexus customers who enter the showroom and come across this car will give it a mild look of disgust. I think it looks like a GT3 car, which is pretty great.
There really isn’t anything negative I can say about the exterior. It’s pretty awesome.
Inside, it’s a bit less dramatic. The cool red Alcantara and carbon fiber mashup works pretty well, but you really have to be a fan of the all-red interior. Personally, I would have liked to have seen a more subdued black option with red accents, but it’s not a deal breaker.
Much like the last time I drove the RC F, I enjoyed my time on the inside. It’s comfortable and it’s easy to use, as it’s a Lexus. Of course, it’s also showing its age: The first-generation RC has been with us since 2014, and despite some minor updates, it’s still basically the same car. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just a consideration, for sure, at the $100,000 price point. I’ve recently been in some newer Lexus models, and I can say that the futuristic and ridiculously classy bits from the LC are already starting to trickle down to cars such as the new Lexus ES.
On to the most important element: How does it drive? It drives pretty much like an RC F, only much tighter. Whereas the RC F is more of a GT car, the Track Edition shows that its weight-loss regimen has paid off. I would rate turn-in on our back-road course as incredibly crisp, and the Track Edition felt much more capable through the corners than a normal RC F.
One reason is the weight: This car is 177 pounds lighter than a typical RC F, and it was noticeable. Whereas the RC F sometimes feels like it wants to fight directional changes, the Track Edition is much more obedient. It feels a bit like a purpose-built track car, only with a much nicer interior.
Another reason for the improved handling is what Lexus refers to as "subtle tweaks" to the steering and suspension. Like the STI S209, the RC F Track Edition is an exercise in engineering, so small things matter. For example, the revised steering rack mounting bushings are 150% stiffer, and the subframe bushings have also been altered to ensure that the camber angle of the rear wheels produces less understeer. This is properly geeky handling stuff.
With a 472-hp 5.0-liter V8, the RC F Track Edition is definitely not slow in a straight line. Even though it has only 5 hp more than the standard RC F, it all works together with the reduced weight to end up with a 4.2 second 0-to-60 mph time. Quick, but not blisteringly fast for $100,000.
Plus, oddly enough, even in Sport+, it didn’t seem noticeably louder. That can be a good or a bad thing, depending on who you are. Personally, I like some snap, crackle and pop in my performance car, and the Track Edition wasn’t quite as vocal as I had hoped.
So back to that regular RC F for a moment. Back in 2016, Lexus dropped off a really cool orange RC F in my driveway for a week. I absolutely loved it, and it has stayed in the top half of my potential next car list. So I decided to build my own 2020 Lexus RC F. Here’s what I came up with.
The Flare Yellow beauty above is loaded with every option that the RC F Track Edition had — that’s every option, not every part — as well as the Performance Package, an $11,400 package that includes a ton of interior upgrades, comfort-focused bits and carbon fiber upgrades such as:
- A carbon fiber roof
- A carbon fiber front splitter
- A carbon fiber rocker panel
- A carbon fiber rear diffuser
- A carbon fiber speed-activated rear wing
Does all that look familiar? With the exception of the big fixed wing, those are the same bits that come on the Track Edition. I also opted for the cool orange metallic Brembo brakes ($300), because why not? All told, I spent a figurative $87,585 on this cool-looking RC F. The only primary parts that my RC F doesn’t have that the Track Edition does are the titanium exhaust, the carbon-ceramic brakes, the fixed wing and the BBS wheels. Is all that worth $17,855?
Actually, it probably is.
Wait, what? You thought I was going to say that it wasn’t worth it, didn’t you? You’re talking about pretty pricey stuff here, and getting someone to install all of it isn’t free. So you might be able to create your own RC F Track Edition for the money, but it’s not going to be as good as what Lexus did. Take a walk through Google and you’ll find out just how expensive a good titanium exhaust will be, and that’s just the price you pay for it to show up in a cardboard box. You still have to attach it to the car. The same goes for the carbon-ceramic brakes, which are about as pricey as brakes get.
The 2020 Lexus RC F Track Edition is more than the sum of its parts. Developed with input from Lexus race teams in the Super GT and IMSA series, the RC F Track Edition is pretty fantastic. It’s big and it’s brash, yet it’s still reserved and Lexus-like when you want it to be. And I think the limited number of people able to buy one — again, Lexus is only producing 100 of these — will agree. Find a Lexus RC F for sale