Why the 2015 Lexus RC F Coupe Matters:
Lexus built its reputation upon the concept of perfection, not passion. Indeed, in creating its two biggest hits, the ES sedan and the RX crossover, Lexus dispassionately primped and polished a couple of Toyotas, a course that consumers clearly don’t mind. That approach, however, doesn’t get you on the recommendation list with car geeks, the people who exist in every family, circle of friends, or group of co-workers, the enthusiasts who are asked by non-enthusiasts: “What should I get?”
Lexus wants to make that list. Lexus wants car nuts to be excited about its products. And the way to do that is to build something undeniably awesome. Like the LFA super car. Or this, the 2015 Lexus RC F Coupe.
Based on the 2015 Lexus RC, a new coupe that is built on the same platform as the Lexus IS but is not simply a coupified version of that excellent sport sedan, the Lexus RC F Coupe will battle the Audi RS5, BMW M4, Cadillac ATS V Series, and Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG when it arrives in the U.S.
What’s New for the 2015 Lexus RC F Coupe:
- 450-horsepower V-8
- 8-speed Sports Direct Shift transmission
- Torque Vectoring Differential
- Performance suspension
- Functional design modifications
- 19-inch staggered-width wheels
- Special instrumentation and trim
- Unique steering wheel and seats
New 2015 Lexus RC F Coupe: Styling and Design
Dominated up front by its enormous black spindle-style grille, the new RC F looks like it is sucking two-lane blacktop into its engine bay. Dramatic, forceful, and aggressive, far more than its primary competition, there is no mistaking this car for anything but a Lexus. Which is the point.
Viewed in profile, the ventilated hood bulges prominently to clear the car’s V-8 engine and to meet global pedestrian impact regulations. From this oversized element, the rest of the RC F flows and tapers elegantly to the rear, stretched tautly around a 4-passenger cabin. Functional front fender vents are L-shaped, and the thin-spoke aluminum wheels are comparatively simple and plain in appearance, almost delicate. An exposed carbon fiber roof panel is offered in the optional Carbon Fiber Package.
Around back, the sleek and shapely RC F Coupe is dominated by a deep diffuser panel punctuated by signature Lexus F quad exhaust outlets. From this view, the RC F Coupe’s added girth and staggered-width, 19-inch forged aluminum wheels are most evident, the rear quarter panels sensuously flaring around them. The car’s standard active spoiler is integrated into the trunk lid and rises when the RC F passes 50 mph in order to deliver additional downforce. When the RC F is equipped with the optional Carbon Fiber Package, the active spoiler is crafted from the material.
Inside, the new RC F Coupe adheres to current Lexus design dictates, separating the instrument panel into display and operation zones. Performance seats with racing harness pass-throughs are standard, the driver’s chair facing a new elliptical cross-section steering wheel with thick handgrips. Lexus says it has positioned the paddle shifters in such a way as to make them easy to find and use when driving on a race track. Metallic pedals have L-shaped patterns and rubber grips.
New 2015 Lexus RC F Coupe: What’s Under the Hood
Lexus equips the new RC F Coupe with a 5.0-liter V-8 engine that will make a minimum of 450 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque. This is the most powerful engine the company has ever produced, and it is designed to operate on an Atkinson combustion cycle when cruising on the highway in order to conserve fuel. Lexus says the RC F will hit 168 mph, and is targeting quicker acceleration times than the IS F Sedan.
The V-8 drives the car’s rear wheels through a specially calibrated 8-speed Sports Direct Shift transmission equipped with paddle shifters. A Torque Vectoring Differential offers Standard, Slalom, and Track driving modes, and the standard Vehicle Dynamics Management System incorporates a vertical G-sensor to provide added stability when the car is driven at the limit.
“I’ve built RC F to be enjoyed by all enthusiasts – no matter what their level of expertise,” said RC F chief engineer Yukihiko Yaguchi. “There’s a misconception that racing cars are hard to drive. In fact, they’re easy in the right hands because they’ve been purpose-built for the skill level of their drivers. It’s the same with RC F.”
New 2015 Lexus RC F Coupe: Features and Technology
In addition to the car’s drivetrain technology, the Lexus RC F Coupe gets bespoke gauges that the company says are “further developed from (the) LFA.” A central tachometer dominates the display, and offers a digital or analog speedometer, oil and water gauges, a G-force meter, a stopwatch, and more. Depending on the drive mode, the display changes in terms of appearance and information.
New 2015 Lexus RC F Coupe: What Autobytel Thinks
Overcoming enthusiast bias toward performance coupes designed, engineered, and built in the same country that boasts both the Autobahn and the Nurburgring is no small task. It would appear, however, that Lexus is on the right track with the new RC F Coupe.