Lexus RC F a track day con­tender

Pilbara News - - Motoring - Ewan Kennedy

The Lexus RC F Car­bon is semirace ma­chine aimed at se­ri­ous driv­ers who en­joy push­ing them­selves to their lim­its dur­ing track days.

In­ter­est­ingly, the Lexus is pow­ered by a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated en­gine, a 5.0-litre V8.

The Ger­man ma­chines in this high-per­for­mance cat­e­gory are rapidly mov­ing in the di­rec­tion of tur­bocharged en­gines.

The Lexus RS F coupe comes at a rel­a­tively mod­est price — $133,110 for the stan­dard ver­sion and $147,110 for the RC F Car­bon we re­viewed.

The Car­bon has a car­bon-fi­bre ac­tive rear wing, bon­net, roof panel and in­te­rior trim as well as al­can­tara seat fab­ric.

The Lexus RC range is de­signed from the ground up as a two-door sports coupe, and Lexus goes to great lengths to point out this is not a sedan with a dif­fer­ent back end.

The F dif­fers from the oth­ers in the Lexus RC range by be­ing wider, thanks to pumped guards front and rear; hav­ing a lower ride height, cour­tesy of an up­rated sports sus­pen­sion; and it is longer be­cause of the big frontal split­ter and aero re­vi­sions to the tail.

This Ja­panese sports coupe cer­tainly looks the part, even more so when used as the safety car for this year’s V8 Su­per­car sea­son.

Lexus has taken the fash­ion for big ra­di­a­tor grilles to new ex­tremes.

We find the front a lit­tle over­pow­er­ing in the stan­dard RC range, but it works well in the RC F.

In­side there are high-qual­ity ma­te­ri­als, which even have some cues from the Lexus LFA su­per­car.

The elec­tronic in­stru­ments are housed in a sport­ing bin­na­cle and show dif­fer­ent dis­plays depend­ing on the driver’s needs at the time.

The tacho takes prece­dence in the cen­tre of the bin­na­cle and changes colour ac­cord­ing to the driv­ing mode se­lected — Eco, Nor­mal, Sport or Sport Plus.

The big Lexus 5.0-litre V8 puts out 470 horse­power at 7100 revs (that’s 351kW in met­ric num­bers). Its top torque is 4800 to a high 5600 rpm.

Those high revs in­di­cate the disad­van­tage of non-turbo en­gines — they sim­ple can’t be pro­grammed to get bulk grunt at low revs in the man­ner of a turbo unit.

Trans­mis­sion is from a sports tuned eight-speed unit that can be op­er­ated by pad­dle shifters.

Nat­u­rally, drive is to the rear wheels, in this case by a torque vec­tor­ing dif­fer­en­tial to give max­i­mum road grip.

Lexus has long favoured Mark Levin­son au­dio.

The RC F uses a 835W, 17-speaker sys­tem.

It in­cor­po­rates spe­cial tech­nol­ogy to work with com­pressed sound sources such as MP3 for bet­ter play­back qual­ity.

There is DAB ra­dio, Blue­tooth with au­dio stream­ing and au­to­matic phone­book trans­fer, iPod with voice con­trol and USB con­nec­tiv­ity.

Lexus RC F uses pre-col­li­sion safety sys­tems, in­clud­ing. pre­c­ol­li­sion brake as­sist.

It has eight SRS airbags: a dual-stage driver’s airbag; du­al­stage and dual-cham­ber front pas­sen­ger airbag; driver and front pas­sen­ger’s knee airbags; large front-seat side airbags; and full-length side cur­tain airbags.

Lexus has pro­duced a stun­ning V8 en­gine, one that comes with a Jekyll and Hyde per­son­al­ity.

It is quiet and peace­ful when pot­ter­ing around town at low speeds and light throt­tle open­ings — very Lexus you might say. Slam open the throt­tle hard to get the revs into the up­per re­gions and it be­comes a loud, ag­gres­sive beast.

A semi-race car, in fact, hence the de­ci­sion to launch the RC F at the Mount Panorama track be­hind Bathurst.

It will be in­ter­est­ing to see how many own­ers take ad­van­tage of their car’s per­son­al­ity and give it a real work­out dur­ing track days.

The zero to 100km/h time of 4.5 sec­onds is good with­out be­ing great.

Brembo brakes, with ven­ti­lated discs at all four wheels, help keep all that power un­der con­trol.

The RC F is rel­a­tively heavy for this class, pos­si­bly to add the sound dead­en­ing that is a fea­ture of all Lexus cars.

Maybe it could have been trimmed for this model, though in all hon­esty many buy­ers will de­mand lux­ury just as much as per­for­mance.

The front seats bol­sters pro­vide the sort of good side sup­port that is needed in a sports ma­chine. Com­fort is good, but there is no doubt it leans in the di­rec­tion of sports in the com­fort ver­sus sports equa­tion. Ex­actly the way it should be, in our opin­ion, but try it for your­self on your pri­vate test drive.

Keen to get away from its public im­age of de­sign­ing only smooth, ul­tra-quiet cars, Lexus has em­barked on a pro­gram of de­vel­op­ing high-per­for­mance coupes and su­per­cars.

The lat­ter, the ul­tra-ex­pen­sive Lexus LFA, is out of reach for the great ma­jor­ity of us, but Lexus RC is an ex­cel­lent step­ping stone un­til the lottery win­nings ar­rive.

Pic­tures: Mar­que Mo­tor­ing

Low, wide and pur­pose­ful, the all-new Lexus RC F works beau­ti­fully.

The F dif­fers from the oth­ers in the Lexus RC range by be­ing wider.

The Lexus RC F’s 5.0-litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V8 en­gine.

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