Lexus has released its RC F halo car to the Australian market with a bang, with the Mount Panorama circuit at Bathurst the launch venue.
The third-generation vehicle to wear the F badge, the Lexus RC F follows in the footsteps of the IS F sports sedan and LFA supercar as a showcase of Lexus performance.
Two variants of the Lexus RC F are available from launch. The first, known simply as RC F, is priced from $133,500 plus on-road costs. The second, RC F Carbon, adds an active carbon fibre rear wing, carbon bonnet, roof panel and interior trim, along with alcantara seat fabric, for $147,500. The Carbon variant is 9.5kg lighter than the standard model, with the largest weight saving of 6.1kg coming from the carbon – in favour of steel – roof. Judging by the stated kerb weight of ‘1780kg-1860kg’, every kilo saved will count against heavy-hitting competition, such as the BMW M4 and Audi RS 5.
When compared to the engine of the IS F, the Lexus RC F’s 4969cc 2UR-GSE V8 produces 40kW (13 per cent) more power, with 351kW generated at 7100rpm backed up by 530Nm generated from 4800-5600rpm. The gains have come from new cylinder heads, a bump in compression to 12.3:1, lighter internals, altered camshaft timing new inlet and exhaust manifolds and next-generation dual injection, which combines indirect and direct methods. A larger throttle body lets the V8 breathe. The modifications also allow the Lexus RC F to be safely revved to a dizzying 7300rpm. Zero to 100km/h is achieved in a claimed 4.5sec, with a top speed of 270km/h.
Tasked with delivering the grunt to the rear wheels, via a torque vectoring differential (which uses electric actuators to monitor traction levels at a speed of up to 1000 times per second), is an improved eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission. It promises manual upshifts, via paddles, in 0.3sec, with only 0.2sec required for downshifts.
Lexus RC F has four drive modes, ranging from Normal through Eco, Sport and Sport S+ which sharpens steering response in the variable-ratio steering system and firms up the adaptive variable suspension. It also shifts the ESC program to ‘Sport VDIM’. An Expert VDIM program is also offered, which disables traction control, stability control and pre-collision braking systems for maximum track involvement.
The Lexus RC F’s double wishbone front, multi-link rear suspension features extensive use of forged aluminium throughout, for optimum lightness and strength. Front upper and lower suspension arms, rear ‘number 2’ upper and lower arms and the rear control arm ends are made of the stuff.
Of course, specific springs, dampers, bushes and anti-roll bars are used throughout, while a raised rear roll centre is said to improve roll resistance. A modified steering knuckle and arm alters the king-pin offset for more direct response.
Braking has been entrusted to Brembo, with aluminium six-piston front, four-piston rear calipers clamping 380mm x 34mm slotted rotors up-front and 345mm x 28mm behind.
Charged with contacting the Lexus RC F to the road are Michelin Pilot Supersport tyres with front-to-rear offset. The fronts measure 255/35/19, the rears 275/35/19.
Of course, both interior and exterior features are of the quality you would expect from a top-flight Lexus product, the dash display of the RC F incorporating much of the feel imparted by the legendary LFA supercar, while the optional active rear wing also takes its cue from the V10-powered beast.
The tech specs are undoubtedly tantalising, but now we have to drive the Lexus RC F to see how the tech translates to the road. Is it a genuine BMW M-Car, Mercedes-Benz AMG, Audi RS rival?Be sure to check back for our full review of the Lexus RC F soon.