The Lexus RC-F coupé has been unveiled ahead of the Detroit Auto show, powered by a 5.0-litre V8 engine producing “in excess of 450bhp” according to the car’s chief engineer, Yukihiko Yaguchi. Lexus says it is the most powerful road-going V8 it has ever built.
“In our analysis the naturally aspirated V8 delivered the best high-performance machine,” said Yaguchi. “We didn’t consider any other power unit. We wanted an engine that could be smooth in normal use, but deliver large power on track. We looked at hybrid technology, and one day it may be suitable, but at the moment it cannot operate at these levels in consistent track use.”
Although the Lexus LFA ended its production run in 2012, Yaguchi outlined how it still influenced the engineers at Lexus, and how lessons learned in its development had been incorporated in to the new RC coupé.
“The LFA remains at the top of the F models, and it influences how we approach a project,” said Yaguchi. “We try to follow its direction as much as possible, so for instance the airflow is inspired by it, especially for cooling, we have an active rear wing that deploys above 50mph, the sound of the engine is tuned to emulate the LFA sound and the optional carbonfibre bonnet and roof are made by the same company as made the carbonfibre for the LFA.”
Compared to the versions seen at the Tokyo Motor Show last year, the RC-F has noticeably more aggressive styling. The oversized Lexus grille is flanked by large intakes in the lower fascia. The dramatic exterior styling is said by Lexus to boost performance and demonstrate the car’s capabilities. The bonnet is set higher on the RC-F than the standard car, while the wheel arches are flared in order to house the standard 10-spoke, 19-inch wheels. The front bumper and wings carry air ducts to boost cooling, while aerodynamic fins are designed to aid stability. Stacked, trapezoidal quad exhausts also add to the rear-end drama.