The high-performance Lexus RC F coupe made its debut as the highly anticipated second generation of Lexus V8 ‘F’ models. It arrived six years after the launch of the IS F saloon and 25 years after the LS 400, the vehicle that launched the Lexus brand.
Introducing the new coupe to the world, chief engineer Yukihiko Yaguchi (above) commented: “I’ve built the RC F to be enjoyed by all enthusiasts, no matter their level of expertise. There’s a perception that high-performance 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 the RC F. The electronics can be modified instantly to provide appropriate levels of performance and protection. But even at its basic setting [the RC F is] a blast!”
I built the RC F to be enjoyed by all enthusiasts, no matter their level of expertise
The strikingly muscular design of the RC F was inspired by the show-stopping LF-LC and LF-CC concepts Lexus revealed in 2013, while its tuning and technologies owe a debt of gratitude to the LFA supercar.
At its heart is a hand-built, naturally aspirated 457bhp 5.0-litre V8 engine that is tuned by stethoscope and able to seamlessly switch between Atkinson and Otto combustion cycles to optimise both economy and performance. It delivers drive through an eight-speed automatic transmission and a torque vectoring differential – the first of its kind in a front engine, rear-wheel drive car. Similarly, it is the first F model to offer a dynamic control system that offers an unprecedented breadth of non-intrusive assistance and protection.
In everyday road driving the coupe delivers superb performance and high-speed stability, together with superior levels of comfort, equipment and technology. The experience is further heightened by careful tuning of the induction and exhaust sounds, creating a deep tone up to 3,000rpm and a spine-tingling V8 wail as revs rise beyond 6,000rpm under hard acceleration.
The foundation of the RC F’s mechanical grip is its highly rigid body, pieced together with body adhesives, laser-screw welding and multi-spot welding. Independent suspension is used front and rear, while unsprung weight is strictly controlled using forged aluminium wheels. An active rear wing is a highlight of a comprehensive aerodynamic grip and stability package, which also includes a flat under-body, air management ducts in the front bumper and wings, and strategically placed aero stabilising fins.
Lexus drew on the experience it gained with the LFA and IS F CCS-R race car to develop a package of carbon fibre parts that reduce the weight of the RC F by 9.5kg. These elements include the roof, bonnet and active rear wing.
Moving inside, the RC F specific instrument meters mark a development of the switchable, driving mode-dependent central dial featured in the LFA. Lexus also worked to provide an ergonomically ideal driver-machine interface, including the first use of a steering wheel with an elliptical cross-section to provide greater control during performance driving.
Meanwhile, the shape and firmness of the seats are optimised to reduce pressure on the sensitive ischial region of the lower back and hips. The styling of the seats is inspired by close-fitting sportswear, and features high backs that use Lexus’s integrated foaming technique. This provides excellent support and eliminates any movement between seat padding and trim.