Monday, January 14, 2019

Lexus Goes All Hardcore with 2020 RC F and RC F Track Edition (w/ 17 Photos)


Lexus is definitely embracing a more hardcore sporting image with the fresh for 2020 RC F coupe and its more sinister sibling, the RC F Track Edition. Extensively updated with better aerodynamics, reduced weight, retuned suspension, and enhanced styling, the RC F and RC F elevate Lexus to a new level of performance and refinement.

Starting with the 2020 Lexus RC F coupe, engineers concentrated on reducing weight without compromising the coupe’s sense of refinement and solidity. At the rear, hollow half shafts are now used in place of the previous solid shafts while up front a pared down intake manifold and a smaller air conditioning compressor remove weight from the front of the car. Changing to aluminum for the toe control brackets and upper suspension support brackets also reduces weight while maintaining stiffness.

To further refine the feel of the RC F, there are now stiffer bushings for the rear suspension arms and steering rack mounts. More rigid engine mounts were also used to better transmit the power of the RC F’s normally aspirated 5.0-liter V8, one of the last such engines available in a luxury coupe. It’s now rated with more power (472 horsepower) and torque (535 Nm) thanks to a revised intake routing and lower rpm trigger point for the secondary intake opening (2,800 rpm vs 3,600rpm). The eight-speed automatic transmission carries over, but a higher final drive ratio (3.13 vs 2.93) has been installed to improve off-the-line response.



For the ultimate in standing start acceleration, the RC F now includes electronic launch control as standard. With a push of the button on the console, the system automatically adjusts the traction and throttle control for maximum acceleration from a stop. All the driver has to do is press and hold the brake pedal, engage the system, floor the accelerator to bring up the engine speed and release the brake.

Additional performance gains are delivered by new Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires designed specifically for the RC F. Compared to the standard Michelin specifications, the tires on the RC F utilize a unique profile shape, tread pattern and rubber compound. The changes are specifically designed to reduce understeer, improve overall lateral grip and increase durability under extreme conditions.

There are also subtle but substantive changes to the styling of the RC F that add familial traits to further refine its aggressive overall shape. Up front, the headlights have been updated to a design that features stacked LED lights and integrated daytime running lights. The shape of the signature grille has been altered by adding a lower lip opening that stretches across the bottom to create a visually shorter front fascia. At the rear of the car, new taillights integrate neatly into a reshaped bumper to give the RC F a cleaner, more chiseled appearance.



Moving on to the RC F Track Edition, Lexus calls this as something more than a mere accessories package. It features a precisely engineered set of upgrades that work together seamlessly to push its performance to a new level. Developed with input from Lexus race teams in the Super GT and IMSA series, the Track Edition is designed to deliver exceptional performance that enthusiasts can easily exploit in a wide variety of conditions.

One key area of improvement is the RC F Track Edition’s aerodynamic signature. Up front, the unique front splitter with canards is not only made from carbon fiber to reduce weight, it’s also designed to increase front end downforce for better grip and more precise steering. At the rear of the car, a fixed rear wing made from carbon fiber replaces the active spoiler offered on the standard RC F. The fixed wing is not only lighter, it does double duty by simultaneously reducing drag and adding downforce.

To accomplish that paradoxical feat, the engineers started by shaping the wing in a way that smooths the airflow over the rear of the car to decrease drag-inducing turbulence. They then added a very slight angle of attack to produce downforce without compromising the overall airflow. The result is up to 58 pounds of additional downforce compared to the active rear spoiler.



Like the standard model, weight reduction was a key area of focus for the Track Edition. Preliminary estimates put the total reduction at 80 kilograms compared to the previous RC F, but more importantly, the engineers focused on cutting weight that yields the most significant dynamic improvements. This led to keying in on unsprung weight since any weight that can be removed from the mass not supported by the suspension pays huge dividends in handling and steering feel.

With that goal in mind, every Track Edition model is upgraded with Brembo carbon ceramic brake rotors. They are not only significantly lighter than their steel counterparts, they’re also better able to withstand the extreme heat cycling associated with performance driving. They are surrounded by a set of lightweight 19-inch BBS forged alloy wheels that feature a design derived from the RC F GT3 race car. Between the wheels, brake rotors and calipers, the Track Edition boasts a significant 25-kilogram reduction in unsprung weight on the front of the car alone.

Additional weight was removed by specifying carbon fiber for the roof and hood along with switching to a carbon fiber partition behind the rear seats and a carbon bumper reinforcement. Many of these carbon fiber pieces are made on the same line that supplied the Lexus LFA during its two-year production run. A standard titanium muffler and tail pipes is yet another area where the Track Edition sheds weight. Rarely seen on production cars, the use of titanium not only reduces the overall weight of the individual parts, it gives the Track Edition a polished look along with a unique sound.



That sound is worth enhancing, too, as the Track Edition uses the same 472-horsepower normally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 found in every 2020 RC F. In fact, when combined with the Track Edition’s reduced curb weight, this RC F has the best power-to-weight ratio among its competitors. Couple that with the new electronic launch control system, and the RC F Track Edition is capable of launching from 0-to-100 km/h in 3.96 seconds.

In order to give the Track Edition a more exclusive look on the inside, a red leather interior comes standard along with Alcantara seat accents and red carbon trim on the doors and dashboard. Only two exterior colors will be available: Ultra White and Matte Nebula Gray, an exclusive color only available on the Track Edition.

Both the 2020 Lexus RC F and the RC F Track Edition will start production in the second quarter of 2019.

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