At the Detroit Motor Show, as they promised they would, Lexus pulled the covers off the RC F Track Edition. True to its name, the car is a more focused and lightweight version of the standard car, with plenty of alterations to maximise speed and handling as well increase downforce and acceleration.
It sure does look the part with its carbon fibre bonnet and rear wing, blacked out forged wheels, and other ancillary aero bits. However, unlike other cars that even hint at being engineered for track use, the people behind the RC F Track Edition decided against reducing levels of comfort and luxury, meaning that the degree of equipment and craftsmanship remains on par with the rest of the Lexus line-up.
“The new RCF and the Track Edition, in particular, benefit from constant development since their original launch. With the latest improvements, these models help further distinguish the F brand by offering fast, durable, highly capable performance cars that rely on a range of technologies to help make their performance accessible to drivers of all skill levels,” said Koji Sato, Executive Vice President, Lexus International.
The brief for the Track Edition, then, can seem a little scattered. Trying to satisfy two conflicting goals often leads to some trade-off, and when it comes to performance at the track, every consideration is made more important. Besides, the standard RC F already fulfils the role of a fast luxury coupe, as do its competitors.
The RC and RC F are probably one of the more unloved performance coupes currently on sale, but that doesn’t mean they lack merit or competence. Unfortunately for Lexus, in a space occupied by very talented rivals, nothing short of a show-stopping package will move the needle. The fact that they resisted more drastic weight reduction measures and perhaps a larger scale reworking of its suspension and drive calibrations indicate that the RC F Track Edition is still somewhat flawed when put against the Porsche 911 GT3 or BMW M4 GTS.
Inside you’ll find a cabin drenched in fine leather and plenty of creature comforts, even a pair of semi-bucket seats for the occasional pair of rear occupants. However, step back out and the car looks properly thuggish with its fully carbon fibre aero kit with matching too and bonnet. The titanium exhaust system also contributes to an overall weight reduction of 80kg, as do the BBS wheels derived from the RC F GT3 race car, carbon ceramic brakes, and a fully titanium exhaust system.
Additional weight saving measures came from smaller items such as new intake manifold and smaller internal components such as the alternator, air conditioning compressor, and miscellaneous aluminium suspension parts. Lexus has also commissioned bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres to be fitted to both the RC F and Track Edition.
Those aforementioned upgraded exhausts also help improve the latter’s soundtrack, as generated from its 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8. However, no engine alterations have been made over the standard RC F, and so produces 352kW and 520Nm that’s funnelled through an 8-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels. Thanks to its diet, the RC F Track Edition can sprint to 100km/h from rest in just under 4 seconds, though it’s too early to tell just how much the drive improves over the standard RC F.