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by Tim Beissmann

The Lexus RC F will be powered by the brand’s most powerful V8 ever with more than 330kW and 520Nm, and claims to feature a world-first torque vectoring differential for a front-engined rear-wheel-drive sports car promising heightened handling and performance.

Unveiled at the Detroit auto show, the Lexus RC F sports coupe is powered by an all-new 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine, which it claims produces “well above 330kW and more than 520Nm of torque” – promising significant gains over the previous-generation 331kW/505Nm Lexus IS F sedan.

The figures suggest the Lexus RC F will offer more power but less torque than the all-new 317kW/550Nm twin-turbo 3.0-litre inline-six-powered BMW M4.

In a first for a Lexus performance engine, the RC F’s V8 switches between the Atkinson cycle at cruising speeds for enhanced fuel economy and the Otto cycle at higher revs to develop its peak outputs.

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With final development work still being completed, Lexus is targeting acceleration and combined cycle fuel consumption figures superior to those of the IS F, which claims 4.8 seconds and 11.4 litres per 100km respectively.

The Japanese manufacturer is also targeting a sub-1800kg kerb weight for the RC F, suggesting the new performance coupe will be heavier than the 1700kg IS F.

As before, drive is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, which has been redeveloped for the all-new model.

The innovative torque vectoring differential has three operating modes: Standard, which Lexus claims offers a balance of nimble performance and stability; Slalom, for emphasis on nimble steering response; and Track, for consistent, stable behaviour.

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Like the LFA supercar, the Lexus RC F features an active rear wing that rises automatically from the boot lid at 80km/h to provide additional downforce, enhancing aerodynamic grip and stability along with the car’s flat underbody, front bumper and guard ducts and aero stabilising fins.

Lexus says mechanical grip is increased over the IS F thanks to its high-rigidity body with large cross-section rocker panels and a rigid lower front brace, as well as specialised manufacturing techniques including body adhesives, laser screw welding and multi-spot welding. A wider 19-inch wheel and tyre package enhances grip further.

The RC F features front and rear coil-spring independent suspension, monotube gas dampers and ball-jointed stabiliser bars.

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The brand’s signature spindle grille dominates the front end, while the bonnet (fitted with an intake scoop) sits higher than on regular RC models to accommodate the larger engine. Traditional stacked quad-outlet tailpipes sit at the borders of the broad rear diffuser.

The optional Carbon Package trades the regular bonnet, roof and rear wing fixtures for carbonfibre components.

The driver-focused cabin features unique trim, meters, pedals and seats, as well as a Lexus-first elliptical cross-section thick-grip steering wheel with paddleshifters.

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A central meter that varies its display according to which of four driving modes is selected dominates the instrument cluster, of which the information, colour and text size can all be personalised.

New high-back ‘F’-embossed sports seats are available in five leather trims, each with contrast stitching.

The Lexus RC F is tipped to launch in Australia in 2015 with a circa $130K price tag, following the late-2014 arrival of the 164kW RC300h hybrid and 234kW RC350 V6 variants.




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