Lexus South Africa has launched its revised RC F range, including the first-ever RC F Track Edition.
With it’s focus on reduced weight and even more dynamic handling, the RC F debuts enhanced styling with improved aerodynamics with greater downforce particularly on the front axle, stiffer and lighter suspension components, firmer steering control, more intuitive transmission and grippier tyres.
In the case of the all-new RC F Track Edition with its bespoke carbon-fibre accoutrement, the changes are even more pronounced.
The result? More engaging handling with improved driver feedback, enabling higher turn-in speed to a corner, greater chassis stability during rapid direction changes, plus improved steering and throttle response.
Lexus Sales and Marketing Vice President, Glenn Crompton says the RC F and RC F Track Edition make a formidable pair in the performance-enthused South Africa market: "Offering an aggressively-priced RC F and a more aggressively dynamic RC F Track Edition is an ideal twin-strategy in this performance-loving South Africa market.
"These highly sophisticated, proudly-unique normally-aspirated V8-powered coupes have never been better represented than after such comprehensive upgrades." The new RC F range is available at Lexus dealerships now. Allocation of the RC F Track Edition is strictly limited."
Exterior changes delivers enhanced aerodynamics:
Lexus has targeted a major leap forward in aerodynamic downforce with the RC F and RC F Track Edition, adopting strategies from the acclaimed RC F GT500 and RC F GT3 race cars.
The changes reduce lift as well as manage air flow more efficiently around the car to improve dynamic stability and reduce drag while also refining the coupes’ appearances. New canard shapes on the front-bumper spoiler corners help optimise stability across a variety of speeds.
Compared with the previous RC F, there is an increase in the vortex generated by the new canard shape, resulting in greater downforce pressure and a more planted feel.
The canard shape is subtle, yet it achieves similar functionality to the fin-type canards featured on race cars. The lower surface of the front spoiler also guides the air more smoothly under the RC F.
The RC F Track Edition adds a carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) front spoiler to further enhance front-end turn-in control. The CFRP bonnet and roof reduce vehicle kerb weight by 9kg while lowering the centre of gravity and delivering an aggressive look befitting of a racetrack-focused flagship.
For both RC F and RC F Track Edition, newly-designed and enlarged side 'air breathers' better control and exhaust air from the wheel housings, allowing the suspension to operate more smoothly.
In profile, a fin has been adopted to the lower edge of the rocker mouldings, protruding 20mm outwards. These create increased vertical air resistance, suppressing excess motion during vehicle roll movement.
For the RC F Track Edition, an additional CFRP lower fin has been added, protruding at twice the distance to deliver further gains in vehicle roll control.
In both grades, a new concave surface in front of the rear wheel also reduces pressure fluctuation on the rear tyres, further enhancing straight-line stability and enabling the air to flow more smoothly down the side of the vehicle.
For the first time, air breathers have also been added to the rear bumper to exhaust air from the rear wheelarch, helping to deliver more predictable vertical movement and lateral behaviour. A redesigned rear diffuser - painted in body colour for the RC F and produced in CFRP for the RC F Track Edition - incorporates vertical fins to further assist air flow.
Behind the bumper of both the RC F and RC F Track Edition, a new bumper reinforcement combines CFRP and aluminium, a world-first development that realises a 0.5kg reduction in weight.
The quad exhaust pipes are produced in titanium with a signature blue tip for the RC F Track Edition, delivering both a more strident exhaust note particularly at high engine speeds and a further 7kg weight reduction.
A retractable spoiler features as standard on the RC F. A CFRP fixed rear wing on the RC F Track Edition increases downforce by 26kg while delivering both a 3kg weight reduction and 2% reduction in drag co-efficient.
The CFRP fixed rear wing - a first for a mass-production Lexus vehicle - inherits its twill woven carbon material from the famed LFA supercar, enabling a seductive 'F' logo to be imprinted on each end plate.
Lexus RC F and RC F Track Edition chief of development Yuichi Tsurumoto said aerodynamic learnings over the past five years meant targeted exterior changes delivered significant performance benefits.
Subtle visual changes include new high-grade LED headlights and L-shaped tail-lights shared with other versions of the elegant RC coupe, while a new side mirror design is borrowed from the stylish LC coupe.
In South Africa, the RC F is available in a choice of six colours including White Nova, Sonic Titanium, Solar Storm Red, Poseidon Blue, Naples Yellow and Graphite Black.
The RC F Track Edition is available in only four colour options which include White Nova, Sonic Titanium, Mercury Grey Metallic as well as Graphite Black.
Sharper, more dynamic Lexus RC F:
Enhanced steering effectiveness and reduced understeer were core development targets for the RC F and RC F Track Edition, with lighter and stronger chassis components now delivering an even more agile and dynamic driving experience.
Compared with the previous RC F, the steering spring rate has increased by 150% on both grades, reducing understeer and improving driver feedback.
This change counteracts potential deflection by the bushings between the electronic power steering (EPS) rack and the front sub frame, such as in high G-load cornering, which can cause toe-angle changes that require a steering-angle change.
In other changes, the outer casing of the front suspension upper supports has changed from steel to aluminium for both RC F and RC F Track Edition, realising a 0.7kg weight reduction.
Both grades benefit from a rear toe control arm bracket that has changed from steel to aluminium, providing greater rigidity and a 0.5kg weight reduction.
Stiffness of the rear sub frame bushings has been increased in both vertical and lateral directions. This suppresses deformation of the bushings, minimises changes in rear-wheel camber angle and enhances maximum lateral cornering G.
Newly-developed Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres have been tailored specifically to the RC F and RC F Track Edition to further improve turn-in grip, power-down on corner exit and lateral cornering G particularly at high speeds.
A hollowed driveshaft (reducing weight by 1.8kg) now connects to a mechanical limited-slip differential for both RC F and RC F Track Edition, which delivers a linear and controlled response for the driver in this engaging rear-wheel drive duo. The RC F continues to offer a comprehensive Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management system.
When the vehicle is in the SPORT S+ mode, a less restrictive vehicle stability control (VSC) setting is enabled. This mode allows drivers a high level of both driving confidence and fun that is suitable for a racetrack environment.
When the vehicle is in SPORT S+ and the VSC Off switch is pressed, EXPERT mode is enabled. EXPERT provides pro-active slide control of the vehicle that is suitable for a racetrack environment, allowing the driver to hone their skills on the track with a small degree of electronic assistance.
The RC F's highly specialised Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) has also been improved thanks to faster, smoother and more precise damping force adjustment.
The linear solenoid installed inside each SACHS-developed AVS monotube shock absorbers can adjust damping force across a range of 30 levels.
Software control has been fine-tuned to realise suppler ride quality in the driver-selectable NORMAL mode and reduced body roll in SPORT S+ mode.
Of the two available modes, NORMAL mode precisely operates to adapt to varying road conditions and the damping force characteristics are tuned to absorb large inputs from the road surface. This mode was extensively tuned and was also deemed best suited to a tough racetrack.SPORT S+ mode increases damping force characteristics and is a setting more closely matched to a level racetrack.
Lighter wheels, brakes for Lexus RC F track edition:
It is said that 1kg of unsprung weight is equivalent to 10kg of sprung weight.
With the RC F Track Edition, Lexus has delivered approximately 25kg in unsprung weight reduction thanks to the fitment of light-weight alloy wheels and carbon-ceramic disc brakes.
This substantial elimination of weight removes pressure from the suspension componentry, significantly improving ride quality while greatly enhancing handling agility and body control on rough road surfaces and tough racetrack kerbs.
Four 19-inch forged alloy wheel designs are available on RC F and RC F Track Edition. A standard machined-finish design features 11 sharp twin-spokes for the RC F model. While the RC F Track Edition comes standard with a design incorporating a dark matt finish 10-spoke design.
These ultra-light motorsport-inspired BBS wheels are inherited from the RC F GT3 and RC F GT500 design.
High-performance Brembo carbon-ceramic disc brakes deliver a 22kg advantage compared with conventional cast-iron disc brakes. Carbon-ceramic, an extremely hard material that helps improve disc life, is infused with silicon to improve effectiveness in cold and wet conditions.
More responsive, Euro 6-compliant V8:
Lexus has delivered a newly-revised and freer-breathing 5.0-litre V8 for the RC F and RC F Track Edition that further embraces the benefits of natural aspiration in a flagship performance coupe.
An innate driver connection via the throttle and a stirring high-rpm crescendo have been targeted for even greater improvement while reducing emissions and improving responsiveness.
A maximum power of 351kW is produced at 7100rpm and peak torque of 530Nm is delivered between 4800rpm and 5600rpm. A benchmark blend of driver connection, aural satisfaction and superb performance has been achieved, delivering immediate throttle response, high rev-ability as well as 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds for RC F and 4.3 seconds for RC F Track Edition.
The highly sophisticated 2UR-GSE petrol engine, which continues to be finely crafted with forged connecting rods and titanium valves, is now lighter and becomes Euro-6-emissions-compliant for the first time.
There has also been further optimisation of the exclusive Lexus D-4S control, which combines port and direct-fuel injection with a high 12.3:1 compression ratio for maximum performance and low emissions.
More than 10 engine components were targeted to reduce weight and therefore lower the centre of gravity.
A new, more finely-machined intake manifold has resulted in weight reduction of 7 for this part.
In order to reduce induction pressure loss and improve throttle response, the shape of the air inlet ducts has been changed and weight reduced. In a Lexus first, aerodynamically-enhanced fins have been added to a newly-designed outlet pipe.
The engine speed point for the secondary intake opening has been lowered from 3600rpm to 2800rpm to further improve drivability and enhance engine sound.
Throttle characteristics under small opening angles have been revised to ensure smooth operation. The response is exactly proportional to the amount the pedal is depressed for linear control whether on road or racetrack.
Drivers can opt for manual gear selection by interacting with a centre-console-mounted tip-shifter or steering-wheel-mounted paddle-shifters.
The revised transmission further enables the integration of a launch control system, used for the first time in a Lexus since the hallowed LFA supercar.
Lexus RC F and RC F track edition prices and service information:
The Lexus RC F retails for R1 318 300. The RC F Track Edition retails for R2 098 200. Both vehicles come standard with Lexus’ best-in-class 7-year/105 000km Warranty and Full Maintenance Plan. The vehicle’s service intervals are at every 15 000km, alternatively every 12 months.