Advertisement
Car group tests

Lexus RC F vs BMW M4

471bhp Lexus RC F has on-paper advantage over 425bhp BMW M4. Does it translate to the road?

With much of Lexus’ current line-up focusing on comfortable, efficient saloons and SUVs, you’d be forgiven for thinking that a big-engined performance coupé might send out the wrong message to the brand’s potential customers. 

However, Lexus also wants to show that it can be exciting and youthful, and its new RC F is the car for the job. If it wants to be the king of the fast four-seat coupé sector, though, the RC F will have to beat the current class leader – the BMW M4.

When the M4 was released last year, we pitched it against the Porsche Cayman S and Audi RS5, with the controversial M car coming out on top and raising the bar in the process. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

BMW M4 vs Porsche Cayman S & Audi RS5

The RC F and M4 offer a different take on the sporty two-door formula, so to find out if the Lexus can knock the BMW off its perch as our favourite performance car for around £60,000, we tested them back-to-back on road and track.

Lexus RC F review

BMW M4 review

Click the links above to read individual reviews, and scroll down to see which super-coupe comes out on top...

Head-to-head

Engines

While the bodystyles might be similar, the BMW and Lexus take a different approach to how they make their power. Lexus has opted for a large-capacity, naturally aspirated V8 engine, while BMW has dropped its old V8 in favour of a six-cylinder turbo for efficiency. The result is that you have to work the RC F’s engine and box to keep it on the boil; the M4’s low-down grunt means it’s lazier yet faster in the real world.

Design

Both coupés look aggressive, and while Lexus’ slashed design works on bulkier models in the range, we’re not convinced by the same treatment on this more delicate two-door, as it appears a bit too fussy. In comparison, the M4 is less in-your-face, but arguably more appealing because of it.

Tyres

Lexus and BMW have opted for the same sticky Michelin tyres for their performance models. Both serve up plenty of grip, but with wide 19-inch wheels, there’s lots of road roar, too. If you drive either car hard, expect to go through rear rubber quickly. Budget at least £250 each for replacements.

Verdict

1st place: BMW M4 

With enough performance to scare some supercars, plus four seats and a big boot, the BMW M4 offers an incredible blend of speed and practicality and comes out on top here. At around £60,000, neither of these cars is cheap, but the M4 offers more bang for your buck – it’s not quite as refined as the RC F, yet it’s still easy to live with and much more capable. It’s the most complete four-seat sports coupé on sale.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

BMW M4: 1,000-mile road trip video review

2nd place: Lexus RC F

The RC F isn’t without its charm thanks to the big V8 engine, but it can’t live with the BMW’s ballistic power unit or more focused and fun chassis. Plus, it’s not as practical. However, the Lexus offers something different to the norm, alongside lots of equipment and the brand’s strong reputation for reliability. If you want a well built performance two-door that can still handle a back road blast, the RC F is a leftfield choice.

Key specs:

BMW M4 DCTLexus RC F
On-the-road price/total as tested£59,545/£68,780£59,995/£65,120
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)£30,302/50.9%£31,737/52.9%
Depreciation£29,243£28,258
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£4,229/£8,459£4,424/£8,849
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£2,881/£4,802£2,702/£4,503
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost42/£527/J/£26548/£717/M/£500
Servicing costs£1,050 (5yrs/50k)£23.95 per month (2yrs)
Length/wheelbase4,671/2,812mm4,705/2,730mm
Height/width1,383/1,870mm1,390/1,845mm
Engine6cyl in-line/2,979ccV8/4,969cc
Peak power425/5,500 bhp/rpm471/7,100 bhp/rpm
Peak torque550/1,850 Nm/rpm530/4,800 Nm/rpm
Transmission7-spd auto/rwd8-spd auto/rwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel60 litres/sealant66 litres/sealant
Boot capacity445 litres366 litres
Kerbweight/payload1,537/503kg1,765/485kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient12.2 metres/0.34Cd10.7 metres/0.33Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (unltd)/3yrs3yrs (60,000)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealersVariable/15310,000 miles/51
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.10th/22nd4th/1st
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./starsN/AN/A
0-60/30-70mph4.5/3.5 seconds4.7/3.8 seconds
30-50mph in 3rd/4th1.9/2.7 seconds3.1/4.2 seconds
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th3.2/4.0/6.0 seconds4.9/6.2/8.8 seconds
Top speed/rpm at 70mph155mph*/2,000rpm168mph*/1,800rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph45.3/33.3/8.3m47.0/34.8/8.7m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph65/49/61/68dB69/59/63/71dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range21.1/4.6/278 miles22.5/5.0/327 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined25.4/42.2/34.0mpg17.5/36.2/26.2mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined5.6/9.3/7.5mpl3.9/8.0/5.8mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket309/194g/km/31%290/251g/km/35%
Airbags/Isofix/parking sens/cameraSix/yes/yes/£545Eight/yes/yes/yes
Automatic box/stability/cruise controlYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes
Metallic paint/xenons/keyless goYes/yes/yes£625/yes/yes
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/mazda/mx-5/352010/new-mazda-mx-5-2020-review
Mazda MX-5

New Mazda MX-5 2020 review

The popular Mazda MX-5 has been updated for 2020, but with the changes comes a jump in price
5 Apr 2020
Visit/car-group-tests/352006/kia-soul-ev-vs-mg-zs-ev
Car group tests

Kia Soul EV vs MG ZS EV

The second-generation Kia Soul EV faces the value-for-money MG ZS EV in an SUV shootout
4 Apr 2020
Visit/dacia/109132/new-dacia-spring-electric-confirmed-arrive-next-year
Dacia

New Dacia Spring Electric confirmed to arrive next year

Bosses confirm the new Dacia Spring Electric will arrive in showrooms next year and set to become Europe's cheapest electric car.
7 Apr 2020