The racy looking Lexus RC F coupe is proof of the company's effort to deliver vehicles with a more visceral, emotional appeal to drivers. Rather than go with a reduced-displacement forced-induction six-cylinder, as seen in the BMW M4, it decided to go with a naturally aspirated V8.
Toyota engineers preserved the appealing sound and feel of a V8 engine while virtually reducing displacement by using an Atkinson cycle at light loads to gain efficiency. This solution provides the equivalent efficiency of an engine that is 800 cc smaller than the RC F-s 5.0 L, according to chief engineer Yukihiko Yaguchi. “This puts the emphasis on everyday fuel economy,” he said.
The engine also spins 500 rpm faster, to a redline of 7300 rpm. The preliminary power estimates are 450 hp (336 kW) and 383 lb·ft (519 N·m). “It will have at least 450 horsepower, but we are hoping to push that upward,” said Yaguchi.
That power is channeled through an eight-speed automatic transmission to Toyota’s first torque-vectoring rear differential. The transmission features Lexus’ Sports Direct Shift technology, which the company says contributes to improved linearity of throttle response. The torque vectoring system has three operating modes: standard, which is meant to provide a balance between nimble performance and stability; slalom, which emphasizes steering response; and track, which helps with consistent stability to help the RC F hold its line rather than understeer as the driver holds the accelerator pedal to the floor.
Additionally, the stability control system has been augmented with a vertical accelerometer for improved precision in vigorous driving conditions.
The overall goal was to provide a car that will flatter drivers of all skill levels, Yaguchi said. “I feel like it has been refined into the perfect vehicle anyone can enjoy.”
Engineers used the Lexus GS sedan’s platform as the foundation for the RC F, with large-cross-section rocker panels and a very stiff front lower brace. The unibody is assembled using a combination of adhesives, laser-screw welding, laser brazing, and multi-spot welding for maximum rigidity.
The 19 x 9-in front wheels, 19 x 10-in rear wheels, 255/35R19 front tires, and 275/35R19 rear tires are all wider than those used on the IS F for better lateral grip. Brembo brakes, as is typical for such cars, are featured.
The RC F is also expected to top the IS F in 0-60 mph (97 km/h) acceleration and in fuel economy, according to the company. Top speed is electronically limited to 168 mph (270 km/h), and an active rear spoiler rises at 50 mph to help keep the RC F stable at such speeds. It automatically retracts at 25 mph (40 km/h).
Inside, the instrument panel’s gauges mimic those of aircraft. The large, centrally mounted tachometer is supplemented by digital and analog speedometers, a monitor for the torque-vectoring differential, a lateral acceleration meter, oil and water temperature gauges, and a stopwatch.