THE NEW RC F, THE LATEST MODEL
IN THE PREMIUM LEXUS F RANGE, HAS ARRIVED,
AND IT’S SETTING THE STANDARD IN HIGH-PERFORMANCE VEHICLES
Seven years ago Lexus unveiled the IS F, a fast, thrilling sports sedan that immediately resonated with drivers because of its superb maneuverability on both the road and the track. The letter F has held special significance among Lexus owners and engineers ever since. Representing the word flagship and referring to the Fuji Speedway, Lexus’s chief test site, the marque is synonymous with speed, precision, innovation and technological progression. The Lexus F project was initiated by one engineer, Yukihiko Yaguchi, who in the early 2000s pursued a personal dream to create a car with driving capabilities he could proudly announce as “the best around,” he says. In 2004, having experimented with automobile parts on his days off, Yaguchi built a prototype, later known as the IS F. The model attracted significant attention, first from other Lexus engineers who would soon join forces with Yaguchi on the project, and then from the brand’s top executives, who recognized the engineer’s personal work as the beginnings of Lexus’s official foray into the high-performance vehicle market.
“What drove me to kick-start this project was a simple aim to build a car that would embody Lexus’s ideals,” Yaguchi says. “To that end, we focused our attention on three things: steering response, sound and acceleration – key factors that make the driver feel connected to the car.” Now, a decade after that first prototype was built, Yaguchi and his team have unveiled the RC F, the second model in the Lexus F range. Equipped with a 5.0-liter V8 engine, the RC F, which was revealed at the Detroit Motor Show earlier this year, is an ultra-high-performance coupe that produces 450-plus horsepower. Deemed the most powerful model in the Lexus lineup to date, it also comes with a torque-vectoring differential (TVD), the world’s first engineering feature in a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive vehicle, a system designed to maximize driving pleasure by providing stability, nimble steering response and dynamic circuit performance.
“The RC F presented us with a tougher challenge than the IS F,” Yaguchi admits. “We were, of course, under pressure when working on the IS F. But the weight of expectation was far heavier this time, now that we’re in the second chapter of the F legacy. We had to create something much, much better than our previous models to impress. That was tough, to say the least.” Yaguchi is modest, but his efforts have paid off. The RC F’s steering outperforms that of its predecessor, thanks in part to the car’s aerodynamic packaging, its highly sophisticated underbody, its improved fenders and its upgraded suspension. An electronic rear wing – a feature lifted from the LFA – has been built into the trunk lid to be deployed when the car exceeds speeds of 50 mph. The model’s 19-inch alloy wheels and updated spindle grille will appeal to experienced drivers and Lexus newcomers alike. “This car is purpose built for the skill level of all driving enthusiasts, especially with the TVD,” says Yaguchi with a smile. “With this car, you can cruise through town, but you can also have a go on a circuit if you’re into that sort of thing.”
TEXT BY SHOGO HAGIWARA
PHOTOGRAPHY BY GREG WHITE