2020 BMW M4 vs. 2019 Lexus RC F

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The M4 offers an optional Side and Top View Cameras to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The RC F only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the M4 and the RC F have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

The M4’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the RC F’s (12 vs. 6 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the M4 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Lexus only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the RC F.

There are over 43 percent more BMW dealers than there are Lexus dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the M4’s warranty.

Reliability

The battery on the M4 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the M4’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The RC F’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

The M4’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 17 lbs.-ft. more torque (406 vs. 389) than the RC F’s 5.0 DOHC V8. The M4’s optional 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 17 lbs.-ft. more torque (406 vs. 389) than the RC F’s 5.0 DOHC V8.

As tested in Motor Trend the BMW M4 (base engine) is faster than the Lexus RC F (automatics tested):

M4

RC F

Zero to 60 MPH

3.9 sec

4.5 sec

Quarter Mile

12.1 sec

12.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

119.1 MPH

110.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the M4’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The RC F doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

The M4 offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The RC F doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The M4 offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The RC F doesn’t offer an SMG.

The M4 Automatic’s optional launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The RC F doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the M4’s brake rotors are larger than those on the RC F:

M4

M4

RC F

Front Rotors

15 inches

15.7 inches

14.9 inches

Rear Rotors

14.6 inches

15 inches

13.5 inches

The M4 offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The RC F doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.

The M4 stops much shorter than the RC F:

M4

RC F

70 to 0 MPH

151 feet

154 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

98 feet

108 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the M4’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the RC F (F:265/30R20 & R:285/30R20 vs. F:255/35R19 & R:275/35R19).

The M4’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 30 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the RC F’s 35 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the M4 offers optional 20-inch wheels. The RC F’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the M4’s wheelbase is 3.2 inches longer than on the RC F (110.7 inches vs. 107.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the M4 is 1 inch wider in the front and 1.7 inches wider in the rear than on the RC F.

The M4’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (48.1% to 51.9%) than the RC F’s (55% to 45%). This gives the M4 more stable handling and braking.

The M4 Coupe handles at 1.01 G’s, while the RC F pulls only .92 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The M4 Coupe executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the RC F (24.1 seconds @ .82 average G’s vs. 24.9 seconds @ .8 average G’s).

Chassis

The BMW M4 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 350 pounds less than the Lexus RC F.

The M4’s standard power retractable hardtop allows a seamless transition from an open car, to a completely sealed coupe. The RC F doesn’t offer a retractable hardtop.

As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the M4 Coupe is quieter than the RC F (68 vs. 72 dB).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the M4 Coupe a Compact car, while the RC F is rated a Subcompact.

The M4 Coupe has 10.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the RC F (90.2 vs. 79.4).

The M4 Coupe has 2 inches more front headroom, 4.6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, 6.4 inches more rear legroom and 5.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the RC F.

Cargo Capacity

The M4 Coupe has a larger trunk than the RC F (11 vs. 10.1 cubic feet).

The M4’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The RC F doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just kicking your foot under the back bumper can open the M4’s trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The RC F doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The M4 has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The RC F doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The M4 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The RC F doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The M4’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The RC F’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the M4 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The RC F doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the M4 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The RC F doesn’t offer cornering lights. The M4 also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the M4 Coupe to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The RC F doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The M4’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The RC F doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The BMW M4 comes in coupe and convertible bodystyles; the Lexus RC F isn’t available as a convertible.

Economic Advantages

The M4 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the M4 will retain 54.18% to 57.02% of its original price after five years, while the RC F only retains 53.58%.

Recommendations

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its February 2015 issue and the BMW M4 Coupe won out over the Lexus RC F.

The 4 Series was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2014. The RC F has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The M3/M4 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 13 of the last 23 years. The RC F has never been an “All Star.”

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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