- Drove the last car Clarkson reviewed for Top Gear

Lexus RC F

My heart was in my mouth. There was a scratch on the wheel. After 200 miles of motoring in the super-rapid coupe from Lexus, I'd somehow managed to leave a coin-sized dent in the expensive-looking alloys.

"Don't worry," the friendly collection driver from Lexus reassured me. "Jeremy had this one last week and left it in a bit of a mess. It was probably him."

For some reason everybody in the car world calls Jeremy Clarkson by his first name, regardless of whether they actually know him. For my part I don't know Jeremy, but I do know that I have driven one of the very last cars he tested for Top Gear ? the new Lexus RC F.

This was a few weeks ago and the Clarkson "fracas" had just blown up and it was already clear he was in trouble, but my test Lexus RC F, which appeared on the show in its penultimate episode several weeks ago, didn't smell of smoke or have dodgy nursery rhymes loaded on to the sound system by the time it arrived with me. Honestly I can't say for sure that he nicked the alloy, though a nostalgic recap on iPlayer confirms he was rather rough with the latest V8 beast from Lexus (it went sideways a little too much on the Top Gear track in Surrey).

He also wasn't very kind. His biggest gripe was that the Lexus was too heavy and not as accomplished as a BMW when going sideways at 60mph. That may be true, but the Lexus isn't a BMW. It has aggressive curves, an angry snout and a fearsome paint job to go with its mighty 471bhp engine. It does have endless driver modes and aids that kick in to control that power - a little less intervention from the traction control would be nice - but that's because it's a lairy Japanese muscle car for hooligans. And that's why it's surprising that a steak-eating neanderthal like Jeremy doesn't like it.

Truthfully, though, many other reviewers have been equally critical of the RC F and I think they like Jeremy all missed the point. It covers ground with ease and adds a raspy roar of an engine noise. Sure, if you want to hammer around a track the Lexus isn't the car for you because it?s not quite as focused as a BMW or Mercedes. But how many people will take their near-?70k Lexus onto a race track? Very few, I imagine. What they will do is tackle Britain's A and B roads and here you'd have to be a bit like Jeremy to find the Lexus lacking in fast-car terms. Word is that the RC F has already pretty much sold out. That shows what Jeremy knows, or should I say knew.

  • Price: ?66,415
  • Engine capacity: 5.0-litre V8 petrol
  • Power Output (bpm @ rpm): 471 @ 7,100
  • Top speed (mph): 168
  • Fuel economy (mpg): 26.2
  • CO2 emissions (g/km): 252