2015 Lexus RC F. Click image to enlarge
Preview and photos by Jeff Wilson
Detroit, Michigan – Speaking to a packed room with standing space only, Group Vice President and General Manager for Lexus, Jeff Bracken quickly had the attention of journalists and motoring enthusiasts alike at the launch of the new RC F performance coupe from Lexus.
Not only were all in attendance eager to see and hear more about the Japanese luxury brand’s latest high performance offering, but Mr. Bracken began his introductory speech with photos and statistics about performance car god, Carroll Shelby and his legendary AC Cobra.
It seems a youthful exposure to Shelby’s beastly little roadster played an instrumental role in shaping the Lexus exec’s future career.
Fortunately for motoring enthusiasts worldwide, this passion for performance cars has helped drive forward the third “F” badged over-achiever from Lexus following the IS F and LF A – a machine Mr. Bracken was clearly pleased to present.
Claiming the most powerful V8 yet for a Lexus, the five-litre engine is said to produce in excess of 450 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, but actual numbers have yet to be released.
Not forgetting efficiency, the V8 is set to operate in the Atkinson cycle at lower revs, while switching to the Otto cycle for increased power in upper reaches of the tachometer to increase performance.
That power is delivered through an eight-speed automatic with no manual transmission offered – not that one was expected.
A torque-vectoring differential is provided to help put the power to the pavement and is reportedly proactive in managing output when entering a corner and throughout it. An active rear-wing (like the one found on the LF A super car) also provides increased down force for stability over 80 km/h and the functional hood vent reduces front-end lift at speed.
Several weeks ago Lexus introduced the RC 350 sports coupe that features the 3.5L V6 familiar to IS 350 and GS 350 drivers (a 2.5L Hybrid RC 300h will also be offered), though now putting out 314 hp. All come equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive variations will be available for the V6 and Hybrid RC models. RC F models are available only with rear-wheel-drive.
2015 Lexus RC F. Click image to enlarge
While some similarities in styling – particularly inside the RC and RC F – may suggest a two-door IS, the RC platform is all new and more closely based on the larger GS sedan. The new coupe is 3 cm (1.2”) wider with a 7 cm (2.8”) shorter wheelbase. The 3.5 cm (1.4”) lower height helps give the RC a more aggressive stance.
The RC F features more aggressive airflow management through scoops, vents and spoilers. All RC models display the most aggressive application of the “spindle grille” front end, reminiscent of a disgruntled Mursi tribeswoman sporting a large lip disc.
The rest of the RC and RC F’s styling is less controversial and quite sleek, with the RC F enjoying some exclusivity of a taller hood (to accommodate the V8), stacked, quad tailpipes and optional carbon fiber goodies such as the woven roof of the display car.
The RC F’s interior has leather covered and aggressively bolstered sport seats as well as a new seven-inch infotainment screen managed by a Lexus touchpad interface. Similar to Audi’s latest MMI touchpad, the driver can draw letters or numbers on a centre console pad without needing to remove his or her eyes from the road.
Adaptive gauges, similar to the LFA’s, are found in the RC and RC F as well and share information on everything from vehicle speed or efficiency through to G-meter readings.
Both the RC and RC F are set to go on sale autumn 2014. Pricing has not yet been released.
With BMW’s own racy new sport coupe – the M4 – having been presented in the metal at the same Detroit show for the first time too, comparisons between the Bimmer and Lexus are surely not far off.