Lexus reveals hot new coupe

Lexus has bounded into the new year with the reveal of its BMW M4-chasing RC F coupe, set to launch in Europe in the third quarter of 2014, followed by an Aussie arrival in the first half of 2015.

Based on the regular RC coupe unveiled at last year’s Tokyo show – itself a stand-alone two-door based on the GS platform – the RC F heralds Lexus’s continued drive towards tackling the German ‘Big Three’ head-on.

Indirectly replacing the previous IS F sedan, which never quite managed to achieve greatness, the RC F unashamedly aims right for the V8 German jugulars.

Under the bonnet is Lexus’s most powerful bent-eight yet – a new 5.0-litre V8 developing “in excess of 330kW and more than 520Nm of torque”, using an Atkinson combustion cycle at cruising speeds to improve economy before switching to a regular Otto cycle at higher revs to bolster maximum power in an LFA-like fashion.

Driving through a direct-shift eight-speed automatic, the aim is “better than IS F” for 0-100km/h, meaning quicker than 4.8sec, and a top speed limited to 270km/h.

The weight target is “below 1800kg” (as you’d well hope), aided by carbon-fibre roof, bonnet and active rear wing, while traction is handled by a torque-vectoring limited-slip rear differential with three modes – Standard, Slalom and Track. Wheels are 10-spoke, 19-inch forged rims with 255/35R19 front and 275/35R19 rear tyres.

Also on display in Geneva was the regular RC coupe in new 350 F-Sport guise.

Unveiled with a 234kW/380Nm 3.5-litre V6, but set to gain the IS’s excellent four-cylinder hybrid drivetrain (as the RC 300h) by the time it goes on sale in Europe in 2015, the RC is intended to attract younger buyers to the brand.

Lexus Australia hopes to launch the car here immediately after the Japanese release, meaning late 2014.

Occupying centre stage on the Lexus stand was the RC F GT3 racer, which is set to debut at the Nurburgring 24 hour and Japan’s GT Series next year. It features an uprated version of the 5.0-litre V8 with almost 400kW, yet weighs just 1250kg.

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