The RC F has wider wheels and tires, and a V-8 engine, and it's "the most powerful V-8 performance car ever developed by Lexus," the brand says.
RICHARD TRUETT

Lexus RC F guns for high-performance big boys from BMW, Mercedes

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Richard Truett covers engineering for Automotive News.
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Toyota's Lexus luxury division is gearing up for another run at BMW and Mercedes-Benz performance coupes with the low-slung, V-8-powered RC F debuting Tuesday at the Detroit auto show.

The car is based on the RC coupe shown in November at the Tokyo auto show. The F designation is Lexus-speak for high-performance. A statement announcing the introduction of the car was woefully short on specifics.

The RC F has wider wheels and tires, and a V-8 engine, and it's "the most powerful V-8 performance car ever developed by Lexus." But no numbers were given.

We also don't know what the RC F has for transmission options, though a photo shows an automatic with steering wheel paddle shifters. Serious performance addicts are going to want manual seven- or eight-speed transmission, which is now the de rigueur gearbox in high-performance mega-buck sports cars.

The RC F looks a bit like the big brother of the Toyota-Subaru lightweight sports coupe, which is no bad thing.

Since its debut 25 years ago, Lexus has made numerous attempts to lure BMW and Mercedes buyers with sporty cars. Some, such as the SC400 and the oddly styled SC 430, fared poorly.

The RC F is meaner looking than anything from Lexus except the limited production LFA supercar. The RC F's huge grille, air vents below the headlights and quad-angled tailpipes give the car an aggressive look, not something Lexus is noted for.

You can reach Richard Truett at rtruett@crain.com.

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