Lexus puts performance in RC F coupe

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. Photo credit: BLOOMBERG
UPDATED: 1/15/14 5:22 pm ET - corrected

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misstated the 0-to-60 time of the outgoing IS F sedan. It is 4.6 seconds, not 4.8 seconds.

DETROIT -- This fall, Lexus will launch the first high-performance coupe in Toyota's luxury lineup, a competitor to the BMW M4.

The RC F coupe, unveiled today at the Detroit auto show, will boast a 5.0-liter V-8 with "more than 450 horsepower and 383 pounds-feet of torque," said Jeff Bracken, Lexus Division general manager. Its 0-to-60 time is expected to be faster than that of the outgoing IS F sedan, which was 4.6 seconds.

But the RC F won't just be about power, shifting from Otto to Atkinson internal combustion cycles when driving conditions dictate better fuel economy. The engine uses electronic -- rather than hydraulic -- variable valve timing to change the intake stroke. Also, instead of using cylinder deactivation to improve fuel economy, the changed cam profiles make the engine behave like a 4.2-liter V-8 with lower compression when cruising.

The V-8 engine will be combined with an eight-speed transmission. Although the transmission is a standard automatic -- rather than a dual-clutch setup -- the carryover eight-speed has had its shift timing greatly improved for quicker gear changes.

Power also will be routed through a torque-vectoring differential that has "standard," "slalom" and "track" driving settings. A speed-activated wing sprouts from the rear deck when the car reaches 50 mph. The RC F will be offered only in rear-wheel drive.

Other features include 19-inch wheels, a 7-inch telematics screen with touch-pad interface, and an instrument panel that alters according to drive mode -- including a digital and analog speedometer, differential torque vectoring monitor, G-force meter, oil and water temperature gauges, mileage information and a stopwatch.

Lexus expects to sell about 200 units a month, compared with about 1,250 mainstream RC 350 coupes.

Lexus RC F
Wheelbase -- 107.5 in.
Length -- 185.2 in.
Width -- 72.8 in.
Height -- 54.7 in.
Engine -- 5.0-liter V-8
Horsepower -- “more than 450”
Torque -- 383 pounds-feet
Curb weight -- ~3,968 lbs.

You can reach Mark Rechtin at mrechtin@crain.com -- Follow Mark on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/markrechtin