Why mess with a winning formula? That's the question Lexus must have faced when they considered updating the naturally aspirated 5-litre V8 Lexus RC-F – including its excellent new Track Edition with more news since it's announcement earlier this year.
Bucking the trend of forced induction that its German competitors have taken, the Lexus RC-F keeps its sublime naturally aspirated 5-litre V8, albeit with a reduction of power to comply with WLTP emissions laws. Pushing out 12bhp less at 451bhp, and 383lb ft of torque – 8lb down on before – the RC-F has been put on a diet to shed roughly 65kg from its overall weight.
The eight-speed automatic transmission remains, but updates under the skin include new engine mounts and lighter, hollow half-shafts for decreased friction on the driveline. The suspension has also been upgraded, the rear receiving stiffer bushings while the front welcomes more aluminium for added weight saving. More weight has been shed by using a more compact intake manifold, and the air-conditioning condenser has also been shrunk to make the vehicle lighter up front.
Lexus used cues from the standard RC Coupe to refresh the styling of the RC F. There's a new carbon fibre lip up front and a more aggressive diffuser housing the stacked exhaust pipes at the back. New lighting components do duty all around but, besides some revised tech, the interior of the standard model receives only mild updates.
It's the Track Edition that makes the real statement. Including the updates mentioned earlier, this performance-orientated version receives a carbon fibre bonnet and roof. The active spoiler from the cheaper sibling is substituted with a carbon fibre stacked wing instead. Bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres wrap 19-inch forged BBS wheels that hide carbon-ceramic brakes up front and, combined, shave 25kg off the unsprung weight.
Plonk your buttocks into the red leather seats, and you're faced with a stripped out cabin lathered in carbon fibre, Alcantara and more red leather. A new titanium exhaust system reduces weight and pumps more volume from the unchanged drivetrain.
In the UK, prices for the standard RC-F start at £62,990 and the Carbon Edition starts at £69,990 while the flagship Track Edition adds an extra £10,000 to that.
It's commendable that Lexus has maintained its position regarding turbocharging, making the RC-F one of the few naturally aspirated V8 performance cars left on sale. Ultimately, this will make it more desirable and should sell for those purists who want to keep natural-aspiration alive as long as possible.
Check out the Track Edition in action around Laguna Seca with racing drivers, Jack Hawksworth and Scott Pruett.