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The Lexus Leap

Lexus flexes its performance muscle with a new sport coupe that will not only attract younger buyers, but also thrill longtime fans looking for a new kind of kick.

Lexus’ new RC F presents a stylish track-ready profile.

With the average age of its customers among the oldest of any automaker, Lexus is courting younger buyers in an effort to keep their brand relevant. The exuberant 2016 RC F sport coupe is just what the doctor ordered: a sexy speed demon to lure in new customers with a need for speed as well as to show off the brand’s considerable performance engineering skills.

Far from the classic looks of Lexus’ successful RX crossover vehicle, the new RC F is pure race-appeal through and through. In addition to aiding handling stability, an aggressive low and wide stance gives the RC F significant visual presence on the road. It makes an entrance—and a dramatic one at that. The car’s front is highlighted by Lexus’ dynamic spindle grille, which is framed by unique L- or check-mark-shaped LED daytime running lights and full LED headlamps. A functional hood scoop adds further muscle to the already bulging bonnet, while air scoops built into the sidelines help cool the massive 15-inch race-ready Brembo front brakes. In back, a rear spoiler rises from the trunk to improve high-speed performance, and sleek quad exhaust pipes are stacked diagonally on either side of the back end, giving the car a decidedly exotic appearance.

Hit the start button and enjoy the sound of the RC F’s 5.0-liter V-8 engine fire up. Unlike some sports cars that idle a bit rough and rugged, this engine plays a silky smooth symphony. Lexus once famously placed a set of full Champagne flutes on the hood of an idling LS luxury sedan, and the RC F is primed to repeat that feat of rumble-free idling. You would, of course, bid adieu to your crystal glasses once you jack the eight-speed automatic transmission into drive and hit the gas. The giddyup is when the RC F comes alive. Zero to 60 mph whizzes by in just 4.4 seconds on its way to a top speed of 170 mph. The sheer power is complemented by an enormously agile handling dynamic, aided by a torque-vectoring rear differential that adjusts the power sent to each rear wheel, thereby rotating the car into the direction of the turn for uncanny responsiveness.

The race-ready theme is front and center when it comes to the RC F’s interior design. High-back sport seats with oversize side bolsters keep your body stable in corners, and a small-diameter steering wheel with paddle shifts puts rapid gear changes right at your fingertips. A full TFT tachometer display is customizable based on the driving mode chosen. Select Sport S+ mode, for example, and the traditional tach dial is replaced by a bar-type gauge like those seen on Formula One race cars. Along with these track-inspired flourishes, however, you can expect the signature analog clock to still be found on the dash. While innovative, powerful and youthful, the RC F, after all, is still a Lexus. $62,805, McGrath Lexus of Chicago, 1250 W. Division St., 855.659.5629

2016 Lexus RC F

Base price

5.0-liter V-8

8-speed automatic

467 hp @ 7,100 rpm

389 lb.-ft. @ 5,600 rpm

Cargo capacity
10.1 cu. ft.

City fuel economy
16 mpg

Highway fuel economy
25 mpg

Fuel tank
17.4 gal.

3,958 lbs.

0 to 60 mph
4.4 seconds

Top Speed
170 mph

Unique diagonally stacked rear exhausts
Aggressive L-shaped LED running lights
Mode-customizable gauge cluster