Future Cars: Brutish New Lexus RC-F Coupe to Take on Ze Germans

Watch out Audi, MercedesBenz and BMW; Lexus are about to gate-crash the midsize super-coupe arena, and first impressions reveal that they mean serious business. To date, the luxury division of Toyota has had to make do with the thundering IS-F sedan to battle Germany’s finest mid-size bruisers – however this is all about to change with coupe version of the latest series that goes well beyond a simple nip/tuck and deletion of the rear doors. A quick glance will register why Lexus have given it the RC-F name; there appears to be little bodywork shared with the latest IS sedan – almost looking like it has come from a completely separate model-line. Taking the best bits from the LF-CC Concept and LFA supercar give the RC-F an almighty visual punch. Starting at the front, there is the corporate Lexus ‘spindle’ grill (the production version will have more refined mesh inserts), with its ‘pinched’ cheeks looking like it had intimate relations with a vacuum cleaner. Another peculiar area of design is the lower headlight treatment – like the IS sedan, it is split (presumably to go against the common trend of safe design). Either side of the dominant grill are LFA-inspired air-inlets to keep what is rumored to be a 5.0-litre V8 under control and to channel air for brake cooling. The hood looks relatively restrained with only a central-mounted air-scoop suggesting that it means business. Casting your eyes over the front fenders highlight the prominent L-shaped side-scoops that start near the top of the door and flow down towards the rear – a design feature of the out-going IS-F, yet made more aggressive. Also looking familiar is the DLO (glass daylight opening area) which has hints of the Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ siblings with their tapered-in A-pillars and side quarter windows. Moving along and eye-gazing from the rear emphasizes the RC-F’s visual authority – which is appropriate considering that this is the view most motorists will see of it. Starting with those pumped rear-haunches, they serve two purposes – concealing the RC-F’s wider rubber and to help with aerodynamics with those staunch, scalloped and flared corner bumper extensions. Like the front-end, the rear gains unique LED taillights compared to its sedan sibling, however the stacked exhaust outlets look almost to be carry-over ‘IS-F’ items. Sitting between these is a rear diffuser that is actually for purpose rather than show, while the trunk-mounted, speed-reactive spoiler also keeps things aerodynamically planted. Overall, the view from the rear is one of muscular-stance, with hints of Porsche 911 GT3 and DTM touring car. Inside the cockpit reveals a layout similar to the new IS sedan, with differences in figure-hugging sports seating and material embellishments such as aluminum and carbon fibre. Spyshots indicate a potential new version of the Lexus ‘Remote Touch System‘ that helps navigate various infotainment options – a curious development in that appears to use a touchscreen rather than the current mouse-like navigator. Once past all the normal interior gimmicks, one can focus their attention to the most important, meaty parts of the equation: what powers it and how that power is translated to the road. Lexus insiders have hinted that the RC-F will likely be powered by a new 5.0-litre V8, developing at least 450 bolting horses. Maximizing all this potential will be achieved through an eight-speed gearbox, feeding power to the rear wheels. Handling tweaks have seen a focus on suspension geometry and components as well as a concerted effort to reduce weight – primarily through the use of carbon fibre bodywork and lighter components. Whilst looking like a strong package on paper and visually via our illustrated images, it will have a serious fight on its hands with BMW’s gorgeous new M4 Coupe. Initially Lexus looks to have won the cylinder-count stats, however it remains to be seen how much horsepower the M4’s force-fed straight six will dish up in comparison. Add opponents from the Audi RS and Mercedes-Benz AMG stables, then you will see a recipe for an all-out super-coupe brawl. Expect a release date around the 3rd quarter of 2014 as a 2015MY model. And finally, have Lexus got the goods to challenge the upcoming BMW M4, and what do you think of the brutish styling? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. By Josh Byrnes Photo Renderings Copyright: Carscoops / Josh Byrnes