Lexus classifies its RC F two-door model as a luxury sports coupe. But luxury and sports are two things that don’t normally get along in a performance car. Err on the side of the former and you get something that essentially gives up on life at corner entry. Make it too sporty and the ride becomes so rough that it shatters the driver’s pelvis on the motorway. The Japanese luxury marque has been walking that difficult line quite well, so after a few shots of sake, it has decided to have a little bit more fun.
Say konnichiwa to the Lexus RC F Track Edition. This iteration of the RC coupe benefits from the additional goodies found on the updated RC F and the distinguished racing pedigree from the Japanese Super GT and American IMSA race series. This is a whole new world Lexus is venturing into, being a brand that is not exactly on the short list of most customers looking for a track weapon. With the Track Edition’s newfound sporting ambition, the automaker hopes to attract a different type of client this time around.
Every RC F Track Edition is based on the standard RC F, but receives a bunch of mechanical and aesthetic updates for 2020. Lexus’s goal for the new RC F is improved dynamic performance. To achieve this, the car was given small tweaks to sharpen its cornering ability and boost its straight-line performance. Aluminum toe-control brackets and stiffer suspension bushings enhance roadholding ability and stability when the g-forces start moving from side to side. The 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine gets a slight nudge in power (now 472hp). This propulsion is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox with a shorter final drive. Combining it with the standard launch control system and the sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, the new RC F now has an even better chance at winning that traffic-light drag race.
The Track Edition, then, is an RC F that has forgotten some of the mild-mannered demeanor of the standard version. Lexus says that this is “designed to deliver exceptional performance that enthusiasts can easily exploit in a wide variety of conditions,” so it’s a bit of a jump from the brand’s usual products that shield the passenger from the troubles of the outside world.
In addition to the aero bits, Lexus has worked on the car’s mechanical grip as the core of its performance upgrades
First off, the appearance. Most Lexus cars have a stately restraint to their design, often keeping every curve and edge in check. But the RC F Track Edition has an enlarged front splitter, chin-mounted canards, and a fixed rear wing all in the name of producing downforce that glues the tires to the track. Yes, a huge factory-fitted rear wing. It’s a brave new world we’re in right now where a Lexus actually has a deck lid spoiler.
In addition to the aero bits, Lexus has worked on the car’s mechanical grip as the core of its performance upgrades. Standard Brembo carbon-ceramic rotors provide immense stopping power without the dreaded brake fade. Bolted to these monster anchors are ultra-lightweight 19-inch BBS forged alloy wheels that make the RC F Track Edition willing and able to take a corner with gusto.
Because the RC F Track Edition features the same V8 engine found in the standard car, every ounce of performance had to be eked out by reducing weight. Outside of the wheels and the brakes, the liberal use of carbon fiber especially in the roof helps trim down the excess fat from the standard coupe. Along with a titanium exhaust system that sheds even more pounds, the sprint to 100km/h is dispatched in 3.96 seconds with the use of the launch control system.
The RC F Track Edition is something that can be called uncharacteristic of Lexus. It’s got spoilers, canards, big wheels and stiff suspension that would not normally be found in a luxury vehicle. But every automotive engineer deserves some playtime once in while. This car has just set Lexus boffins loose in the sandbox.