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Detroit show: Lexus unleashes RC F Track Edition

Track Edition headlines update that creates quicker, lighter Lexus RC F sportscar

Lexus logo15 Jan 2019

LEXUS has taken to the Detroit motor show to reveal the Track Edition version of its RC F, which headlines a broader update that will reduce weight, refine dynamics, improve acceleration and tweak styling for the sportscar when it enters Australian showrooms in May.
 
The RC F’s weight reduction comes courtesy of hollow rear-axle shafts replacing solid units, a smaller intake manifold and air-conditioning compressor, and the adoption of aluminium for the toe-control and upper suspension-support brackets.
 
Dynamically, stiffer bushings for the rear suspension arms and steering rack mounts hone feel, while more rigid engine mounts more efficiently transfer outputs from the RC F’s 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8.
 
The engine has been upgraded with revised intake routing and a lower engine-speed trigger point for the secondary intake opening, down 800rpm to 2800rpm.
 
However, the Japanese brand is yet to quote power and torque figures for the Australian-market model that currently produces 351kW at 7100rpm and 530Nm from 4800 to 5600rpm.
 
While an eight-speed torque-convertor automatic transmission carries over, albeit with a higher final drive ratio (3.13) for better off-the-line responsiveness, launch control is new for the rear-wheel-drive RC F, which can sprint from standstill to 100km/h in “just over” four seconds, according to Lexus.
 
Meanwhile, the BMW M4 CS-baiting Track Edition ups the ante with its extensive use of carbon-fibre that contributes to an overall weight loss of about 65kg, compared to the pre-facelift RC F.
 
The lightweight material features on the Track Edition’s unique front air dam, bonnet, roof, boot partition, bumper reinforcement and fixed rear wing, which reduces drag and increases downforce by up to 26kg.
 
Furthermore, the standard carbon-ceramic brake discs with Brembo callipers and BBS 19-inch forged alloy wheels decrease the Track Edition’s unsprung weight by 25kg.
 
The inclusion of a titanium muffler and tailpipes generate a bespoke sound and create a polished look while further shedding weight.
 
As a result, the marque is targeting a zero-to-100km/h time of about four seconds for the Track Edition, which uses the same engine, transmission and drivetrain combination as the regular RC F.
 
Inside, the Track Edition set itself apart with red leather upholstery, Alcantara-accented seats and Red Carbon trim on the doors and dashboard. Four paintwork options – White Nova, Sonic Titanium, Graphite Black and Matte Grey – are available.
 
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres are now fitted to either variant as standard, featuring a profile shape, tread pattern and rubber compound that are unique to the RC F, with the aim of reducing understeer, improving overall lateral grip and increasing durability in extreme conditions.
 
Styling-wise, the RC F follows the precedent set by its RC counterpart, with new stacked LED headlights with integrated daytime running lights, a lower lip opening that stretches across the bottom of the signature spindle grille, and redesigned tail-lights that complement the reshaped rear bumper.
 
While Lexus Australia will confirm pricing closer to the facelifted RC F range’s launch, the Track Edition is likely to attract a premium over its regular sibling, which currently costs $137,729 before on-road costs.
 
“The new RC F and the Track Edition, in particular, benefit from constant development,”
Lexus International executive vice-president Koji Sato said.
 
“With the latest improvements, these models help further distinguish the F brand by offering fast, durable, highly capable performance cars that rely on a range of technologies to help make their performance accessible to drivers of all skill levels.” 
 
Sales of the RC took a hit last year, with 334 examples sold – a 9.7 per cent decrease over the 370 deliveries made during 2017.
 
Nonetheless, the RC remained the fifth best-selling sportscar in the $80,000-plus segment, trailing Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class (1520 units) and E-Class (751) Coupes and Cabriolets, BMW’s 4 Series Coupe and Convertible (645) and Audi’s A5 Coupe and Cabriolet (594).

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