2019 NAIAS: Lexus Refreshes RC F, Debuts New Track Edition

The Toyota luxury brand cut weight from the RC F, and then further for its limited-run Track Edition, with the latter boasting carbon fiber and titanium elements.

January 14, 2019

4 Min Read
Lexus RC F group NAIAS
RC F and Track Edition begin production Q2 2019.

DETROIT – Lexus uses its North American International Auto Show stage to debut a refreshed RC F sports coupe, as well a new track version of the car.

The coupe now boasts “improved performance, revised styling and an all-new, limited production Track Edition” for hard-core driving enthusiasts, Lexus says in a news release.

Changes to the RC F for the ’20 model year include weight reduction in various components, including to the 2-door’s rear half shafts, which have gone from solid to hollow. Toe-control and upper-suspension-support control brackets now are aluminum.

Other suspension-related changes, for handling reasons, include stiffer bushings for steering-rack mounts and rear suspension arms.

Engine-mount rigidity also increases “to better transmit the power” of the car’s 5.0L V-8. Engine output rises 5 hp to 472 hp, while torque is up 6 lb.-ft. (8 Nm) to 395 lb.-ft. (536 Nm).

Lexus credits the increased output to revised intake routing and a lower rpm trigger point for the secondary intake opening, of 2,800 rpm vs. 3,600 rpm.

The RC F still uses an 8-speed automatic, but the transmission now has a higher final drive ratio (3.13 compared with 2.93) to quicken off-the-line acceleration.

Electronic launch control, “the ultimate in standing start acceleration,” Lexus says, becomes standard on the coupe for ’20. The system creates maximum acceleration from a stop via automatic adjustment of traction and throttle control.

A 0-to-60 mph (97 km/h) time of 4.2 seconds can be achieved by following the process of holding the brake pedal, pushing the launch control button, flooring the accelerator to raise engine speed and then releasing the brake.

New Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires have a unique tread pattern, rubber compound and profile shape, all to limit understeer and improve overall lateral grip under extreme conditions, Lexus says.

Some design changes to the RC F coupe include stacked LED headlights with integrated DRLs, a new lower lip on the car’s grille to “visually shorten” the front fascia and a reshaped rear bumper with integrated taillights.

The limited-production-run Track Edition of the car is more than an accessories package, says Lexus, noting it has made design and mechanical changes to create this high-performance variant.

Carbon fiber is used throughout the vehicle, including in the car’s roof and hood, bumper reinforcement, rear partition, lower spoiler and rear wing. The latter two features add downforce, while the wing also reduces drag.

The wing adds up to 58 lbs. (26 kg) of downforce compared to an active rear spoiler, Lexus says, the result of engineers adding a “very slight angle” to it so its ability to smooth airflow isn’t compromised.

Engineers cut out weight that would bring about the biggest gain in dynamic improvements.

“This led to keying in on unsprung weight since any weight that can be removed from the mass not supported by the suspension pays huge dividends in handling and steering feel,” Lexus says.

Some 55 lbs. (25 kg) of unsprung weight was shaved from the front of the Track Edition by switching from steel to carbon-ceramic brake rotors by Brembo and 19-in. BBS forged alloy wheels.

Another weight-cutting measure by Lexus is a titanium muffler and tailpipes, which has the side effect of giving the variant a “polished look along with a unique sound.”

The Track Edition has the RC F’s 472-hp 5.0L V-8, but thanks to the car’s lower weight and the new electronic launch-control system, it has a faster 0-60 mph time than the standard RC F, 3.96 seconds.

Production of both RC Fs begins in second-quarter 2019. The Track Edition will be available with a choice of just two exterior colors, Ultra White and Matte Nebula Gray (the latter exclusive to the model) and a standard red-leather interior (pictured below) with Alcantara accents on seats and red carbon door and dash trim.


Meanwhile, Lexus also features a concept convertible version of its LC sports coupe here at its 2019 Detroit show stand that hints at an open-air variant of the car and, per Lexus, the future design direction of the LC.

“From the rake of the windshield to the smooth contours of the rear decklid that houses the convertible top, every line on the LC Convertible concept was drawn to evoke an emotional response,” the brand says of its “aspirational halo vehicle.”

The interior of the concept is trimmed in white leather with yellow stitching  used as an accent.

The convertible (pictured below) is roughly the same dimensions as the LC coupe, although it adds 0.4 ins. (10 mm) in total length and is 0.2 ins. (5 mm) shorter in height.


Lexus’ U.S. sales slipped 2.2% last year to 298,310, Wards Intelligence data shows. Lexus cars fell while its utility vehicles rose. The RC and LC lines both declined, 54.4% and 20.4%, respectively.

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