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Detroit show: Lexus confirms V8 RC F

Out and about: After weeks of teasing, Lexus has confirmed that its Detroit show car will be an F performance version of the sexy RC coupe.

Lexus reveals “most powerful” V8 yet for BMW M4-rivaling RC F coupe

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Lexus logo9 Jan 2014

By TIM NICHOLSON

LEXUS has confirmed its mystery Detroit show car will, as we expected, be a hi-po ‘R’ performance version of its RC coupe – and it will feature the most powerful V8 in the Japanese brand’s short history.

The flagship F variant gains a new 5.0-litre V8 engine pumping out 330kW of power, which is a boost of 19kW over the V8 under the bonnet of the outgoing four-door IS F performance car.

While Lexus is yet to release performance figures for the RC F, it is likely to improve on the zero to 100km/h figure of the IS F that can race to same speed in 4.8 seconds.

The Japanese luxury brand says in a statement that the F has been styled for “optimum high speed stability to support the most powerful V8 performance car ever developed by Lexus”.

Performance car styling and aerodynamic features include an active rear wing, cooling ducts, air scoops, wider wheels and tyres than the regular RC and lightweight carbon-fibre components.

Lexus RC F chief engineer Yukihiko Yaguchi said the performance coupe had been designed to contribute to and enhance performance.

“Unique air outlets in the hood and rear section of the front fenders contribute to optimum engine cooling and handling stability,” he said. “They create an aggressive look that immediately conveys the expectation of a dynamic driving experience.”

Much like the RC coupe donor car, the front end of the F is dominated by the Lexus ‘spindle’ grille, although this time the slats are replaced by a criss-cross mesh pattern, while the air intakes under the angled headlights are larger than the regular model.

The bonnet is higher on the F variant which Lexus says helps to create a powerful profile “suited to an F model”.

Huge air outlets at the rear of the front fender and stacked trapezoidal quad tailpipes at the rear of the coupe push the performance angle further.

The active rear wing activates from the boot lid at speeds over 80km/h and retracts when traveling at less than 40km/h.

Lexus will offer three variations of the 10-spoke 19-inch forged aluminium wheels, with two of the wheel options machine polished, while the ‘High Grade’ plus wheels are hand polished by a craftsman.

The dash of the RC is pure IS, but the F gains a few extras including a switchable central dial that alters the information, colour and size of the text according to the four selectable driving modes.

Lexus says the RC F debuts an “elliptical cross-section”, or oval shaped thick-grip steering wheel, which also features paddle shifters.

The new sports seats carry an embossed ‘F’ logo on the headrests and are available in a choice of five leather trims with contrasting stitching. The company says the seats have been designed to look like “tight-fitting athletic sportswear” and offer a similar level of support.

Lexus ripped the covers off the production version of its IS-based RC coupe at the Tokyo motor show in November last year, revealing a striking design that borrowed elements from the sleek LF-CC coupe concept from the 2012 Paris show and the LF-LC hybrid sportscar concept that debuted at the 2011 Detroit show.

Lexus Australia has already confirmed the regular RC will get a local berth as close to the Japanese launch as possible, which will be in the final quarter of 2014.

Lexus Australia PR manager Tyson Bowen said that market availability and timing for a global launch of the F was yet to be confirmed, but he added that if it did become available, the local arm's hands would be “very high up” for it.

If it gets the green light for Australia, it would likely be sometime after the launch of the regular version, suggesting a mid-to-late 2015 Australian launch for the RC F.

Lexus still sells the previous generation Lexus IS F in Australia from $125,945 plus on-road costs as well as IS 250C convertible, but there is no word on when these models will be discontinued.

When it eventually arrives, the RC F will put the heat on its German two-door rivals such as the 331kW/430Nm V8 Audi RS5, BMW’s 317kW/550Nm twin-turbo V6 M4 and Mercedes-Benz’s soon-to-be-replaced 336kW/600Nm C63 AMG coupe.

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