02/20/2014—Blame it on the LFA supercar. The 10-plus years of performance research that went into the LFA program is having a major influence on Lexus’s newest vehicles. Case in point: the new Lexus RC F.
When the new vehicle debuted a few weeks ago in Detroit, Chief Engineer Yukihiko Yaguchi assured the auto world that the RC F would be a “blast” to drive when it arrives later this year—an opinion that’s definitely supported by the performance-oriented features he gave the model. Consider:
That enormous engine: The RC F has a huge engine in proportion to its size, a 5.0-liter 32-valve V8 that’ll provide increased maximum power at higher engine rpm than the IS F. For the first time in a Lexus performance engine, the RC F uses the Atkinson cycle at cruising speeds for enhanced fuel economy and then switches to the Otto cycle at higher rpm for a power punch.
The jetfighter-like instrument panel: If you’ve ever had the good fortune to sit in a Lexus LFA cockpit, your first time in the RC F’s driver’s seat will bring back memories. The combo meters are derived from the LFA’s, with the added flair of aircraft-style instruments. Is it too much to take in? Not at all: they’re specifically designed to be easy to read while driving at speed.
A steering wheel made for track driving: The RC F debuts a Lexus-first elliptical cross-section thick-grip steering wheel, which is designed for performance driving. Plus, the placement, shape, and operation of the vehicle’s paddle shifters make it easier to change gears.
Seats that hold you in place: The vehicle’s sport seats have been designed for exceptional holding performance as the vehicle battles the laws of inertia. An integrated foaming technique creates a highly supportive and taut-fitting seat with trim material that stays fixed.
Major downforce: As in the LFA supercar, the Lexus RC F will offer an optional active rear spoiler (not shown) that increases downforce at speeds of more than 50 mph, which helps hold the vehicle to the ground. The active spoiler is part of the RC F’s available carbon fiber package, which also includes a clear-coated carbon fiber roof.
A wide platform: Yaguchi also gave the RC F a wide body, and the performance coupe sports its own version of the Lexus spindle grille. Grip is enhanced through a wider tire and wheel assembly, and unsprung weight is reduced, thanks to three new 19-inch forged aluminum wheels that minimize tire and wheel assembly mass.
Adjustable performance: Finally, the RC F has an available Torque Vectoring Differential (TVD), a first in a Lexus, to improve cornering. It has three operating modes: “Track” to help with consistent control, helping to ensure the vehicle stays on the intended cornering line; “Slalom” for emphasis on nimble steering response; and “Standard” for a balance of performance and control.
One final note, Lexus fans: make sure you sign up for Fast Track, which gets you exclusive updates and access to the Lexus RC F.