On the Scene: Lexus RC F
Video length: 01:17

01/16/2014—“There’s a misconception that racing cars are hard to drive,” says RC F chief engineer Yukihiko Yaguchi. “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.”

Wait, what? The new 2015 RC F is a racing car? Well, not exactly, as it’s made to be street legal. But clearly Yaguchi had racing sensibilities in mind when he designed the vehicle, officially described as a performance coupe.

What you can’t see in these floor photos from the Detroit auto show this week is the most powerful V8 engine Lexus has ever dropped into a production model. Some quick numbers: 5.0 liters, more than 450 horsepower, and more than 383 lb.-ft. torque.*

To transfer all that power to the ground, the RC F will come with a Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD), a Lexus-first feature. Basically, TVD allows for three handling modes: “Slalom” for emphasis on nimble steering response; “Track” to help with consistent stability through tight cornering lines, and “Standard” for a balance of nimble performance and stability.

“Electronics can be modified instantly on board to provide appropriate levels of performance and protection,” explains Yaguchi. “But even at its basic setting, it’s a blast.”

Just a few other features that clearly reflect Yaguchi’s racing-oriented sensibilities: a highly rigid body with large cross-section rocker panels and a very stiff front lower brace, wide tires and wheel assemblies, an optional carbon fiber package, and aerodynamic design cues from the LFA supercar.

Your chance to test-drive the RC F will come later this year—until then, use the reveal photos to picture one in your driveway:


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*Ratings achieved using the required premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or higher. If premium fuel is not used, performance will decrease.