2015 Lexus RC F
From the December 2014 Issue of Car and Driver
Typically, when full-line car companies set out to develop a coupe, they start with a sedan from the current lineup, trim two doors, and rewrap the package in a sleeker body. A shorter wheelbase is optional. Lexus rolled up that memo and burned it before going to work on the RC. Instead, to form its new coupe”s structure, Lexus combined the front clip of the GS sedan, the center section of the old IS C convertible, and the rear end of the IS sedan, using adhesives and welding and a fancy technique called laser screw welding, which allows for more frequent tacks and thus greater rigidity.
The three-piece approach makes more sense once it”s explained. The GS front gives engineers the extra track width they wanted for handling. They deemed the IS rear sufficient to keep the car”s dimensions tidy, and the IS C center section necessary for its inherent stiffness and shorter wheelbase. Compared with the current IS sedan, the RC coupe is roughly 1.5 inches longer, wider, and lower, but with a 2.7-inch shorter wheelbase.
The RC F we have here is the hot-rod version of the RC, and the car Lexus is using to effectively replace its IS F sedan, which does not have an analogue in this new IS generation. (Lexus”s hi-po four-door will be the GS F, bigger and likely more expensive than the old M3-baiting IS F.) But the RC F is not trying to be a direct BMW M-whatever knockoff; it has its own thing going. The snug cockpit swaddles the driver with information and controls in what seems like an appropriate techno-modern, Tokyo-by-night design scheme. A high center console features an optional touchpad that is part of the $2840 navigation and upÂgraded stereo package, and the instruments showcase a morphing LCD center tach, similar to the LFA”s. Nearly everything in the car can be adjusted with the haptic infotainment control pad, but there are also redundant buttons with knobs for volume and tuning, just as in the current IS.
The LCD tach changes its appearance between the four drive modes (eco, normal, sport, and sport plus) and is flanked by another screen on the left, which displays tire pressures, radio stations, g-forces, and just about everything else. A smaller analog speedometer lies to the right.
Top right: Lexus doesn't simply ape European-car interiors but defines its own tech-heavy style. Left: Seat design by H.R. Giger?
There are few occasions in life when we”d say that 467 horsepower isn”t enough. This is one of them. While the IS F”s old 5.0-liter V-8 got thoroughly overhauled for this new RC F, the car weighs 4048 pounds, 200-plus more than the old sedan.
Mass is the RC F”s millstone. It has 400 pounds on a BMW M4 and weighs as much as the four-wheel-drive Audi RS5. In a three-way drag race, the Bimmer walks away, with the F and RS5 keeping pace through the quarter-mile. By 130 mph, the RC F has eked out a nearly two-second lead on the RS5. Keep your foot in it and a governor abruptly halts acceleration at 171 mph.
With all the data crunched, the RC F proves no quicker than the old IS F. Nor is it slower, though. We recorded a 4.3-second zero-to-60 and a quarter-mile time of 12.8 seconds, identical to a 2008 IS F. Identical, too, is the naturally aspirated V-8 wail. While muted in the cabin, pedestrians will flinch when the intake”s noise flap opens and the camshaft timing changes the engine”s rumble into a sweaty roar.
Lexus gets credit for adding 51 horsepower to the V-8 with something more than a software update and without resorting to forced induction (cough, cough, BMW). Titanium valves, all 32 of them, along with a lighter crankshaft and con-rods, allowed engineers to lift the redline by 500 rpm to 7300. Only the 8300-rpm Audi RS5 can rival the F for aural gratification; the M4”s turbocharged and overly enhanced soundtrack is no match. If only the RC F were quicker for it.Read Source
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