Does the new Lexus RC F have what it takes to beat the BMW M4 at its own game? crankandpiston.com finds out with a run up our favourite mountain
Since 1986 the BMW M3 has been the performance saloon/coupe of choice for the discerning petrolhead, thanks largely to an addictive cocktail of balance, precision, four/six-cylinder oomph and looks that could charm even the stoniest of hearts. So when BMW unveiled its fifth gen M3 and the almost identical M4 Coupe last year, few doubted both would be brilliant and could easily see off bitte(r) rivals Audi and Mercedes. Such indeed proved the case, if international media reception was anything to go by. Now though, a new contender has stepped up to the plate.
The latest member of Lexus' F performance trifecta, the new RC F had the BMW M4 in its crosshairs even before the sheets hit the floor in Detroit last January. Targets rarely come harder to hit than M-Division, and despite the reputation built by both the ISF and Ferrari-baiting LFA, many wondered if Lexus had immediately bitten off more than it could chew. On paper at least, the RC F makes a solid case. Sharing the same chassis as the RC coupe on which it is based, the new F is lower, wider and longer than its premium counterpart for improved road holding. The bonnet, roof and active rear spoiler were built with carbon fibre reinforced plastics in an effort to reduce weight, while design cues were taken from the LFA for both the aerodynamically efficient bodywork and the adaptive rear wing: using the same technology as the 552bhp supercar, the spoiler automatically deploys at 80kph to increase downforce. Perhaps most significant though is the 5-litre V8 belted down under the bonnet that sends 471bhp and 391lb ft to the rear wheels, a 12 per cent improvement on the corresponding (and heavier) 416bhp unit found in the ISF thanks to new cylinder heads and a crash diet across the board. What we have in effect is the most powerful V8 performance car the company has ever developed. Don't let the Molten Pearl orange fool you: with the RC F, Lexus is far from mucking about. Nor for that matter is BMW.
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