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2020 Lexus RC F and RC F Track Edition: First Look

  • Lexus gets even more serious with the RC F.
  • Motorsport expertise goes into the Track Edition.
  • Both cars are due in the spring.

The 2020 Lexus RC F premium performance compact coupe has received a revamp, as recently shown at the North American International Auto Show. And now there’s a new RC F Track Edition to double the size of the RC F range.

Even the regular RC has been subjected to some changes, such as new LED headlamps that now incorporate daytime running lights and a sharper LED taillight design. While the RC was in this process of being shaken up, though, Lexus decided to make some more serious revisions to its halo version, the RC F.

What’s changed?

The RC F is one of the few sporty cars around these days to employ a V8 engine. The one under this particular hood is a 5.0-liter unit making 5 more horsepower and 6 more pound-feet of torque for 2020, bringing total output up to a pretty considerable 472 hp and 395 lb-ft.

The car retains an 8-speed automatic transmission, but even that’s been tweaked by a higher final drive said to improve acceleration off the line, plus the addition of a launch mode. Just hold the car with the left foot on the brake pedal, hit the launch mode button, mash the throttle pedal with the right foot, remove the left foot and hold on tight.

Driving dynamics have also been revised, starting with brand-new Michelin tires developed especially for this car that are claimed to improve lateral grip, as well as front-end grip to reduce understeer (where the nose washes wide, the bane of every enthusiast).

Rear suspension arm bushings, steering rack bushings and engine mounts have all been stiffened for a more immediate feel, while the previously solid drive shafts are now hollow to save weight. Some suspension parts are now made of aluminum and the air conditioning compressor is smaller than before, all in the quest to make the 2020 Lexus RC F lighter.

What about the 2020 RC F Track Edition?

Although the original RC F feels excellent on the road, it isn’t quite so convincing on a track, where it can pushed more to its limits. No doubt Lexus thinks the changes mentioned above should fix that situation, but the company has taken out an insurance policy with the all-new RC F Track Edition.

Race teams that compete using Lexus’ cars have added some expertise, especially in the area of aerodynamics. The front splitter is made from light-yet-strong carbon fiber and is designed to promote front end grip, adding more precision to the steering. The carbon fiber rear wing is fixed, saving the weight of the motor that comes with the active spoiler in the regular RC F. It also, ingeniously, performs the conflicting duties of adding downforce while reducing drag.

Reducing weight has been the main thrust in developing this Track Edition. The exhaust system is made from titanium, light 19-in BBS alloy wheels are installed and the braking system is a Brembo setup with carbon ceramic discs. This material is not only lighter than the usual steel discs, they’re also highly resistant to brake fade.

So although the Track Edition doesn’t have any more engine muscle than its sibling, these measures improve the power-to-weight ratio. Lexus says 0-to-60 miles per hour standstill is over and done in 3.96 seconds. But the company also claims that the car "remains an uncompromised luxury performance coupe" on the road.

When do these cars go on sale and how much will they cost?

The 2020 Lexus RC F and the RC F Track Edition should reach dealerships in the spring. Pricing will be made public nearer that time. For a rough idea, the 2019 RC F starts at $65,745. The Track Edition will be appreciably more expensive with all those extras. Brembo carbon ceramic brakes are often offered as an option in other performance cars, adding several thousands to the final amount.

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