Lexus RC F coupe surfaces in Detroit
Lexus has unveiled the 2015 Lexus RC F at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Building on the sporty image of the RC coupe unveiled in Tokyo last year, the latest iteration of the four-seater, rear-wheel drive compact executive coupé features a 2UR-GSE V8 engine and other refinements to allow for the larger powertrain.
Using design cues from the Lexus LFA supercar, the RC F has a rigid body with cross-section rocker panels and a stiff front lower brace. The bonnet is higher to make room for the new V8 engine and sports an air vent. This is an echo of the large Lexus spindle grille with F-mesh pattern, which dominates the front. It interesting that rather than getting competition from the large brake air scoops and sharp front bumper, the elements come together like an air-splitting chisel.
Ducts under the the front bumper, wings, and strategically-placed stabilizing fins further boost the aerondynamic credentials of the RC F. There's also an active rear spoiler in the boot lid that deploys at 50 mph (80 km/h) for greater downforce and retracts when speed drops below 25 mph (40 km/h).
But the defining part of the RC F is the all-new 5.0-liter 32-valve V8 engine that uses the Atkinson cycle at cruising speeds for enhanced fuel economy, and changes to the Otto cycle at higher rpms to up performance. It pumps out over 450 bhp (335 kW) and more than 383 ft lb (519 Nm) of torque. This feeds into the eight-speed Sports Direct Shift (SPDS) flappy paddle gearbox and the first Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD) in a Lexus with three modes: Standard, Slalom for more nimble steering, and Track for more stability and better cornering. The result is 0 to 60 mph performance that Lexus says is faster than the Lexus IS F's 4.6 seconds (though no exact figures have been given at this stage) and an electronically limited top speed estimated at 168 mph (270 km/h).
The RC F boasts front and rear coil-spring independent suspension, with monotube gas-filled shock absorbers and ball-jointed stabilizer bars. The car's weight is kept under 3,968 lb (1,799 kg) thanks in part to the 10-spoke, 19-in forged aluminum wheels, with a wide footprint for better grip. In addition, there are four-wheel power assisted Brembo disc brakes with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), and Brake Assist (BA).
The interior has new combination meters based on aircraft cockpit instruments with a large center tachometer that alters with the selected driving mode and can be customized to the driver's preferences. There's a digital and analog speedometer, differential torque vectoring monitor, G-Force meter, oil and water temperature gauges, mileage information, and a stopwatch. In addition, there's an elliptical cross-section thick grip steering wheel, and all-new high back seats available in five leather trims, each with contrasting stitching.
"I've built RC F to be enjoyed by all enthusiasts – no matter what their level of expertise," says RC F chief engineer Yukihiko Yaguchi. "There's a misconception that racing cars are hard to drive. In fact, they're easy in the right hands because they've been purpose-built for the skill level of their drivers. It's the same with RC F. Electronics can be modified instantly on board to provide appropriate levels of performance and protection. But even at its basic setting, it's a blast."