Lexus‘ bread and butter has always been soft, comfortable vehicles like the RX crossover and ES sedan. Yet, starting with the launch of its LFA supercar, RC and LC coupes, and F subbrand, it started to look like Lexus was pivoting to become more of a sports-luxury brand.
Today, Lexus is at a crossroads. The new 2020 Lexus RC F Track Edition seems like a not-so-subtle hint at where Lexus is going in the future.
“The purpose of the RC F Track Edition is to show clearly what the Lexus behavior and taste is,” Lexus executive general manager Koji Sato told us ahead of the car’s official reveal. “Everyone knows that BMW is the ‘Ultimate Driving Experience,’ so the RC F Track Edition technology [shows what we can do.]”
Developed at the Nürburgring and racetracks all over Japan (including the F subbrand’s namesake Fuji Speedway), the RC F Track Edition is designed for the moneyed weekend warriors among us. Each of the fewer than 100 RC F Track Editions Lexus plans on selling per year will be kitted out with a massaged 5.0-liter V-8 boasting a revised intake box that adds 5 horsepower to the base engine, for a total of 472 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque. The transmission remains an eight-speed automatic, but its final drive has been made shorter, changing from 2.93:1 to 3.13:1. Lexus says the Track Edition will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.96 seconds, improving on the RC F’s 4.5 second to 60 mph time.
Accompanying that extra few horsepower is the modest diet imposed by Sato-san and his team. Utilizing lessons learned in the RC F GT3 race car, and of course, from the LFA, this limited-run RC features carbon-fiber bits designed to reduce the RC’s hefty curb weight, lower its center of gravity, and improve downforce. The Lexus team invested in a carbon-fiber front splitter, hood, roof, rear diffuser, and fixed rear wing, the latter of which features the “F” logo woven into the wing itself. Rounding out the weight-reduction retreatment is a titanium exhaust system, hollow halfshafts, a revised intake manifold, unspecified aluminum suspension components, a carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer rear partition brace, and even a smaller A/C compressor.