The dramatic new Lexus RC F has been called a contemporary hero within the expanding Lexus range, standing alongside the LFA as a car embodying the passion and enjoyment that can be derived from sports motoring.
But what makes the RC F such a hero? Could it be its pumped-up design, the brawny, naturally aspirated V8 powerplant, the trick differential or the manufacturer’s assurance that it will be equally at home on the race track? Or could it simply be a combination of these and other factors? We take a closer look at the new sports coupe to find out.
The Lexus RC F follows the Lexus IS F as the manufacturer’s second-generation V8 F model, developed to represent the pinnacle of sports engineering and evoke the tuning and technology from the flagship V10 LFA hypercar.
“The RC F inherits our policy that F models must be fully capable of running on the race track as well as the road, delivering unrestricted and safe, ultimate driving pleasure,” commented chief engineer Yukihiko Yaguchi.
In that respect, every aspect of the chassis has been developed to flatter the driver and stretch the laws of physics. Seventy-five per cent of the suspension components are unique to RC F, and it is the first Lexus to include both Sport and Expert settings within its acclaimed Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management system. The former is primarily mapped for circuit use, while the latter removes all VDIM interference until the system detects that the vehicle might be going into a spin.
Seat-of-the-pants involvement and a feeling of total control were the primary aims of Lexus’s world-first application of a Torque-Vectoring Differential in a front engine/rear-wheel drive vehicle. Using a complex series of multi-plate clutches to shuffle torque between the rear wheels irrespective of whether the accelerator is pressed or not, the aim of this system is to generate movement around the car’s centre of gravity, aligning the direction of the vehicle with the direction of travel.
Though this level of control takes an immense amount of processing (the actuators adjust every one thousandth of a second), the result is a natural, unsynthesised feeling. Indeed, it is thanks to this ‘invisible hand’ that the car is able to dart into corners with incredible agility, reduce unnecessary steering input, slingshot out of bends and, depending on the setting, exploit the rear-wheel drive layout with an intuitive degree of oversteer.
Never mind the RC F being a hero, the combination of VDIM and TVD is designed to make the person behind the wheel feel like a driving god!
That VIP feeling is also reflected in the striking, cockpit-like interior. Equipped with breakthrough technologies of its own, it features seats made using a breakthrough technique that fuses the upholstery and foam to effectively disperse body pressure. And that attractive stitching? It not only looks good but allows the seat to change shape to integrate with the lines of the torso, supporting the body during the high G-forces associated with track driving.
In addition to the heart-thumping experience of being hauled along by the most powerful and technologically advanced V8 engine Lexus has ever developed, the RC F has been designed to connect emotionally with owners through other senses.
From a visual perspective, the RC F displays powerful design features that distinguish it from the RC coupe on which it is based. For instance, its form rises gently from the bonnet, smoothly integrating with front wings before flowing into the belt line, making the car appear like a crouching predator while simultaneously contributing to smooth airflow. It’s the sort of car it is almost impossible to walk away from without turning your head for a lingering second look.
Meanwhile, in line with its ballistic 471bhp output, the new F car features a more comprehensive aerodynamic package developed at Fuji Speedway to improve high-speed stability. This includes an active rear wing and a plethora of ducts, stabilising fins and spats, not to mention a broad, ground-hugging stance that is both functional and dramatic.
Why can we confidently state that the RC F is the new hero within the Lexus range? We’ll leave it to Mark Templin, Executive Vice President of Lexus International, to sum it up: “There is no greater emotional attachment than that afforded by a coupe in which the purity of design connects on visual and visceral levels.”