First ride: Lexus RC-F

Three thousand two hundred, Three thousand four hundred, Three thousand six  Bääm! and Vrooooooomm, The Lexus RC-F forgets from 3.600 turns his innate Japanese discretion and screams with open flaps in the intake tract, the pornic zest for life in the Spanish evening sky. AND IT IS!  So an eight-cylinder drum, then it works with the emotions.

Drum again, Yuhikiko-san

First ride in the new Lexus RC-F

Once again Spain. Once again the circuit of Ascari. And after the Mercedes-AMG GT set the bar really high a few days ago, the new Lexus RC-F meets a problematic task. He should fascinate, he should boil up emotions, he should convey driving pleasure. Not that Lexus does not know what you think. Think of the Lexus LFA, a super athlete that not only JDM fans stand with drooling and slightly open mouths. But in contrast to the launched in small series V10 super sports or the Affalterbacher Hammer  The Japanese have created a different philosophy for the RC-F. Athletic? For sure. But also a little Gran Turismo. A little more everyday. Nevertheless, the RC-F should be something pure. Sophisticated technology, but with a tendency to classic GT.

In the meantime, Japan has dropped all inhibitions when it comes to design. The RC-F has received the most aggressive grille of all modern-day athletes. This face would be good for other premium athletes well around the rings. Black chain-link fence optics and hypermodern LED headlamps create the image of a blunt squinting sumo wrestler with an unresolved anabolic problem.

He just wants to play

No matter how one stands to the sharp line of the new Lexus. I personally liked it the new Lexus IS-F already extremely good, the RC-F takes the hard edge, the sharp line and powerful curves to the extreme. Nobody can speak of an “arbitrary Asian design” here. And sometimes it's just better to polarize. That at least arouses emotions. In the case of the RC-F, this is the design issue.

From 3.600 tours is no longer played!

In addition to the aggressive styling, it is the deadly serious, classic drive concept. Of course you would have one too V6 turbo can pack under the hood. But the chief developer of the Lexus RC-F Yukihiko Yaguchi explains why they opted for a 5 (in words five!) Liter V8 without charging:

"My answer is very simple: I'm a car fan!" 

Or, to put it clearly and to put it into my words: He is a fan of the classic, the pure sports car. And there is no place for a turbo engine. The V8 has to drum, it has to sip its air freely through the intake ducts, it has to be audible in its mechanical work with a directness that a turbo engine always lacks. And it actually goes completely too far in the context of Japanese customs and traditions. Yes - a turbo engine would also look good on the RC-F. A pseudo-sporty claim would be easier to implement, especially in everyday life. The mountains of torque plucked from a turbo diesel would minimize the idea of ​​the sports car for the ignoble hunt on the autobahn. The punch from the lower speed is understood by those who are plagued by round table discussions neocortex of the simple driver’s brain, of course, lighter. But - the RC-F does not want exactly that. He wants to sing once again the great love for the naturally aspirated engine and its basic linear power delivery.

If the virtual tachometer needle exceeds the 3.600 rpm mark in the avant-garde cockpit, the five-liter V8 discards its Japanese discretion through the titanium exhaust valves and roars the frivolous song of the sports engine, uninhibited and free of noise restrictions. Careless first-time offenders who have dropped into the new seat shells of the RC-F for the first time are occasionally overwhelmed by this acoustic dominance of the 477 hp V8. Or always? 3.600 tours are just the beginning of the symphony on the strength of fossil fuels. Only at 7.300 revs does the limiter affect the 5.0 liter V8.

And of course, the RC-F has no four-wheel drive

Why doesn't the RC-F have all-wheel drive? Yukihiko-San would probably give the same answer to this as to the question about the naturally aspirated V8 engine. But the Japanese would not be the Japanese if the technical sophistication - with all the love for pure driving experience - were not hidden in the details. Rear wheel drive? Yes, of course. Driving programs that are defined in the cockpit via rotary switches, as if you were sitting at home in front of the Playstation. Eh sure. And on the rear axle is now the secret weapon for the driving fun sky. A torque vectoring differential. But a real one. Not a brake differential like you get from athletes in the Swabian province, but a real differential with dynamic distribution of the drive and deceleration moments. Within a 1/1000 second, electrical actuators, in conjunction with a planetary gear set, press the left or right multi-disc clutch of the TVD (Torque Vectoring Differential) together and make the load, which is not very easy, more manageable than previously thought.

Lexus RC-F 32 The last of its kind driving report
Photo: Sebastien Mauroy

1.9 tons in Ascari - WTF?

Lexus specifies a curb weight of 1.765 to 1.840 kilograms for the RC-F. Which is not surprising if you look at the completely exceptional equipment list of the RC-F. Less would have been nice. And as if the full range of luxury features weren't enough, you pack the journalist in the car and put him another minder to the side, In the end, the scale of the imaginary scale may have exceeded the 2.0 ton mark. All this accelerate in Ascari and balance the curves? Since other manufacturers have shortened the small round of the Spanish private race track, so the Material not completely in the smoke disappears.

From the pit lane, the V8 storms into a first sound exercise. I change the gears of the 8-speed Aisin machine myself for this trip using the shift paddle. The M mode seems to me well suited to get the 5-liter sound box to make music. In terms of driving dynamics, we leave the RC-F in sport mode on the first lap. The line on the Ascari circuit is not used. Racing drivers are bad co-pilots and due to a lack of time you don't know the skills of the pilot. So we stay nice to each other (the journalist and his instructor) and do not push the RC-F to its limits. Not really.

The optional torque vectoring differential can be set in three modes: standard, slalom and track. Together with the four modes of the VDM (Japanese for ESP) and the four programs for the control of the driving dynamics control (Eco, Normal, Sport S and Sport S +) can be quite a lot of play and set. But that's bullshit. Sorry. At the end of the rounds in Ascari, a combination turned out to make the most sense:

Driving dynamics on Sport S +, ESP on Expert and the differential on Slalom. The result is an eight-cylinder hammer of the classic coupé variety. Keeping the forged connecting rods of the V8 in motion, between 5.000 and 7.000 revolutions, maintaining the 180 bar injection pressure and just not letting the V8 fall into the Atkinson cycle. Briefly sent the request to change gears to the 8-speed automatic transmission via the steering wheel paddle and wondered about the shift times of the automatic converter. That's probably why they call it “Sports Direct Shift” at Lexus. When downshifting, the transmission electronics forcefully hammer the gears through the housing, the eight pots bark the CO2 emissions saved in the hybrid fleet through the 4-in-2 Y-pipe, and finally through four forearm-thick tailpipes to freedom to be released.

The TVD makes the almost two tons seem incredibly handy. High-spirited journalists who like to turn the front tires of a semi-athlete into rubber sausages on the racetrack become racing professionals. The RC-F shifts responsibility over the way in which the tires are used. While one even in search of the limit, even sports tires like a Michelin Super Sport, wedges and gnaws at their limits and gnaws their flanks, the TVD (Torque Vectoring Differential) in the Lexus RF-C ensures the right balance. Understeer? Even before the French sports tire can complain to the driver about the steering, the TVD presses more force on the rear wheel on the outside of the curve. This relieves the front axle of its work and lets the two-ton sumo bumbler pop around the curve like a ballerina. Incredibly balanced for its weight.

Away from the racetrack, the sports coupe becomes the classic GT. Comfortable seats, a full load of assistance systems and comfort equipment and, incidentally, excellent driving comfort. If you don't let the V8 roar, but let the automatic in Eco mode switch the gears below 2.000 tours, you will experience an RC-F without pretensions. The driving noises are insulated, most of the vulgar sound is locked out and the V8 works in the Atkinson cycle and tries to save the polar bears. Once Ascari and the whole record is gone. But well - the RC-F tries to balance it at least.

For the first few meters of the evening highway around Malaga, the RC-F felt too undefined. Not enough of everything. Too little torque, too little sport, too little character. It takes a while to understand the character of the RC-F. Typical Japanese on the one hand. Just do not bother. And on the other side with the finest technology porn in search of the pure driving experience. This is not possible without pressing a few buttons. Here at the Fahdynamik control, because at the differential, there the ESP. Turn on the seat ventilation and turn off the heated steering wheel.

Lexus RC-F 02 The last of its kind driving report
Photo: Harald Dawo
The conclusion remains:

Drum me quietly the song of my generation

I think the RC-F is one of the last V8 naturally aspirated athletes. The 5-liter 32-valve brings 8 Nm torque from its 530 pots. (A BMW M4 for example has the mental disadvantage of its six turbocharged pots with 550 Nm under control. And even at Mercedes you will not send the new C63 without turbocharging on the track. Although Mercedes-Benz remains true to the V8. )

The RC-F lives from the soul of its emotionally honest V8 naturally aspirated engine. The rest is solid and technologically savvy work from the land of the rising sun. Probably available for the last time in this combination. 

..and that he also looks outrageously good, well - I treat him 😉


Read the english version here

lexus rc-f ronda back
Photo: Bjoern Habegger
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Lexus RC F -2015

For sale: from the 10. Available in January
Base Price: € 74.900
Engine performance: 477 PS 4.969 ccm³
Drive and transmission: 8 automatic gearbox (AISIN)
Acceleration: 4.5 seconds from 0-100 km / h
Fuel consumption: 10.8 liters on 100 km
maximum speed: 270 km/h
Length, width, height, wheelbase 4.705, 1.845, 1.390, 2.730 mm
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What would the blogger order be?

The RC-F comes with a Torsen differential on the rear axle. However, the optional torque vectoring diff is so efficient in its effect and far better than just braking intervention from other manufacturers - therefore the € 4.350 surcharge for this option is definitely justified. The ergonomically great “sport integral seats” are only available in series for the RC F Advantage equipment, so the RC-F Advantage at € 84.400 is the first choice!

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Atkinson cycle

The Lexus V8 in the RC F is the first Toyota engine that, despite the sports car profile, can run in the Atkinson Cycle, saving fuel. If the driver demands full power, the engine returns to normal gasoline engine combustion. Toyota's VVT-iE continuously variable camshaft phasing is responsible for adjusting valve timing. In the Atkinson cycle, the intake valves close later in the compression phase. This avoids pumping losses of the engine and lowers the compression. In the medium load range, this process saves fuel.

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How the others experience the new Lexus RC-F:

  1. Sabine Stahl on motor-talk
  2. Helene Schmidt on AutoBild / follows


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