Enthusiasts who attend the 2019 Detroit Auto Show will see two distinctly different sides of Lexus. The Japanese firm is showcasing its approach to sumptuous luxury and grand touring with a concept car that could preview a convertible variant of the LC, its flagship model, and it’s flaunting its sporty side with the updated 2020 RC F. Unlike the concept, the RC F (and a new, more hardcore model called Track Edition) will reach showrooms in the coming months.
The RC represents Lexus’ answer to the BMW 4 Series, the Audi A5, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe. Though it’s undeniably quick, it’s one of the heavier cars in its competitive set. Lexus engineers shed weight by installing hollow half shafts out back, a smaller air conditioning compressor, and aluminum suspension parts. Enthusiasts will (hopefully) feel those changes from behind the wheel. From the curb, they’ll tell the updated RC F apart from the pre-facelift model thanks to subtle changes like redesigned lights on both ends.
While competitors are downsizing to save fuel, Lexus remains committed to the RC’s naturally aspirated, 5.0-liter V8 engine for the time being. It makes 472 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque, nominal increases of 5 hp and 6 lb-ft. of torque over the outgoing model. The eight-cylinder continues to spin the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, but Lexus explains it tweaked the final drive ratio to make it quicker off the line. Electronic launch control helps acceleration, too.
New for the 2020 model year, the Track Edition takes the RC’s performance to a new level. In the vein of the BMW M4 CS, it’s a limited-edition model that weighs 176 pounds less than the regular-production variant thanks in part to the widespread use of carbon fiber. Lexus made the roof, the hood, the rear spoiler, and a partition panel that replaces the rear seats out of the composite material. There are no mechanical changes under the hood, but the Track Edition receives bigger Brembo brakes on the front axle and a titanium exhaust system. Lexus pegs its 0-to-60-mph time at about four seconds.
Lexus will start building the 2020 RC F and the 2020 RC F Track Edition in the second quarter of 2019. Pricing information will be released in the weeks leading up to their on-sale date.
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