Lexus Manila unleashed its latest high performance sports coupe on November 18 when it unveiled the latest addition to its F marque of high performance cars, the RC F sports car. F refers to the Fuji Speedway, which is the chief test site of Lexus performance vehicle development in Japan.
The Lexus F brand was introduced back in 2007 with the IS F, a super sedan that introduced Lexus to the race-track and brought it close to the hearts of driving purists’ with its specially built 416 horsepower V8 engine, and track-tuned chassis. Next to be added to the F-list the Lexus LFA which is a V10, 552 hp, carbon-fiber supercar that took the top sports car community by storm.
Now comes the RC F. A 5.0-liter 467 hp V8 sports car engineered for high performance.
The RC F was developed alongside the stunning new RC sports coupe. It is the most powerful Lexus V8 performance car ever. The RC F boasts of a striking version of the RC body outfitted with wider wheels and tires, an active rear wing, air scoops, cooling ducts and available carbon fiber body components. In the rear, the RC F features functional stacked exhaust tailpipe that makes it even more distinctive.
The electronically enhanced driveline, based on Lexus’ Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management (VDIM), enables average drivers to get closer to limits previously attainable only by trained professionals. The same systems offer even greater levels of active safety on the road.
“The RC F is intended as a car to enable drivers of all skill levels to enjoy fun-to-drive performance,” Lexus RC F chief engineer Yukihiko Yaguchi said.
“With the LFA no longer in production, the RC F will become the new F image leader. It will do so through the emotional design of the coupe body and also through the authenticity of its performance, Yaguchi added.
Looks that thrill
The most noticeable feature of the RC F is the grille. The signature Lexus spindle grille looks menacing in black mesh, with the “F” motif repeated in the mesh pattern.
Cooling ducts within the RC F grille supply air to oil coolers. At the rear of the front fender, a large L-shaped cooling outlet provides essential cooling and aerodynamic functions and also conveys the car’s performance enhancement.
The hood is raised in the center to accommodate and emphasize the V8, and a meshed vent in the center supports aerodynamics and cooling.
467 Horsepower V8
Taking the sound and feel of instantaneous torque of the LFA V10 engine as inspiration, the engineers essentially kept the cylinder block and replaced most other parts. Thanks mostly to all-new cylinder heads, higher compression and lighter internal parts, horsepower has soared by 51 hp to 467 hp, and the engine can now rev to 7,100 rpm vs. 6,800 rpm in the IS F. The compression ratio has been raised to 12.3:1 (from 11.8:1), boosting torque across the entire engine speed range. Improved engine and transmission cooling systems handle track-day driving.
Active sound control
The sound blasting from the RC F’s quad stacked tailpipes is sure to turn heads and raise pulse rates. Yet, Lexus also had to design the cabin to be quiet enough to enable enjoyment of the standard premium sound system or sonically stunning Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound system.
The RC F features an Active Sound Control (ASC), which lets the driver control enhanced exhaust, intake and mechanical sounds within the cabin. An electronic control unit mounted beneath the instrument panel takes input from engine sounds, including varying engine speed, vehicle speed and throttle position and generates augmented sound through an actuator. It is entirely separate from audio system, so there’s no reduction in music fidelity.
At engine speeds up to 3,000 rpm, ASC issues a steady tone of low and deep sounds.
As revs rise, the tone transforms into a higher-pitched note that blends with the engine’s mechanical sounds, culminating in a free-soaring sound beyond 6,000 rpm.
The RC F 5.0-liter V8 engine is mated to an eight-speed Sports Direct Shift (SPDS) transmission. Refined to suit the RC F’s new engine higher engine speeds, the transmission control program delivers a more linear response to accelerator input, and hence a more dynamic feeling.
The first thing RC F drivers will feel in the electric power-assisted rack and pinion steering is more feel. Intensive testing and calibration of the power-assist curve ensures the steering feel matches handling characteristics.
Lexus RC F has eight SRS airbags, including a dual-stage driver’s airbag, dual-stage and dual-chamber front passenger airbag, driver’s and passenger’s knee airbags, front-seat side airbags and first and second row side curtain airbags.
Lexus Manila has priced the RC F 5.0L V8 8-speed automatic at PhP 5,868,000.