The RC F Track Edition manages to improve on performance through an aggressive weight loss program.
Over the past decade and under the helm of the current president and well-known motorsports fanatic Akio Toyoda, Toyota has made a big return to the enthusiast’s car market and created a plethora of engaging fun sports cars. We liked what we saw out of the Toyota 86, GR Supra, and its flagship grand tourer the Lexus LC 500. Now Lexus has handed us the keys to their most track-ready sports car yet – the 2021 Lexus RC F Track Edition.
First things first, we love the styling of the Lexus RC F and can confirm so do most people we ran into throughout the week. The Track Edition adds a full carbon fiber aero kit around the RC F’s already wild wide-body styling, and the fixed carbon fibre rear wing puts it over the top. The large spoiler is functional as well, as it adds up to 58 pounds of downforce as well as reducing drag by two percent. There is additional weight saving effort made by the ultra-lightweight 19-inch BBS forged wheels, with design inspired by the RC F GT3 race car.
Under the carbon fibre hood lies a 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 that pumps out a healthy 472-horsepower and 395 lb-ft. of torque. We applaud the decision made by Lexus engineers to continue letting their flagship engines breathe freely on their own, and the result is silky-smooth power delivery that gets increasingly rewarding right up to its 7,000RPM redline. With the help of the launch control function, the Track Edition can reach 96 km/h in 3.96 seconds – 0.24 seconds faster than the standard model – and will keep surging to 270 km/h.
Despite not receiving extra power, the RC F Track Edition manages to improve on performance through an aggressive weight loss program that saw its curb weight drop by 176 pounds to 3,781 when compared to the standard RC F. Lexus engineers went beyond the aforementioned use of carbon fibre body panels and BBS forged wheels, and added Brembo carbon ceramic brakes and titanium mufflers. The diet is particularly noticeable in the corners, where it felt much lighter on its feet than the standard RC F, and we appreciate the confidence inspiring feel from the Brembo brakes.
The RC F Track Edition is a lot less aggressive when compared to its main track-ready performance rival – the 2021 BMW M4 Competition. While their performance numbers and price might look similar, the feel behind the driver’s seat cannot be more different. The M4 Competition felt a lot more hardcore all the time thanks to those optional race-ready bucket seats equipped on our tester, the lightning fast steering rack, and the firm suspensions – features that gives it a clear advantage on the race track.
The RC F is far more livable for those not living life chasing the checked flag. Its steering response is more relaxed than on the M4 Competition, and the RC F feels closer to a grand tourer that can handle the track duty rather than a full-fledged track car despite what its package suggests. Think of it more like the Mercedes-AMG C 63, an equally capable car that is more at home in a touring setting.
Fuel economy for the 2021 Lexus RC F is rated at 14.4L/100km in the city and 9.6L/100km on the highway, for a combined figure of 12.2L/100km. We achieved 13.6L/100km over our week of mixed commute which is above-average for a big, naturally aspirated five-litre V8. Premium fuel is required for the 66-litre fuel tank, which could be bigger considering the car’s consumption.
Moving on inside where we are greeted to a unique performance-inspired interior in the Track Edition. The leather seats, Alcantara trim, carbon fibre accents, and the carpets are all red and are made by some of the best craftsmen available. The seats offer good lateral support, and we observed good interior space for four occupants to be seated comfortably.
As part of its weight saving effort, the RC F Track Edition lost some key comfort features including steering wheel and seat heating, seat ventilation, power tilt and telescopic rack, and rain sensing wipers. Those intending to use this as a dedicated summer toy would not mind the omission but is definitely worth noting for buyers looking to enjoy this through the other seasons.
Infotainment is delivered using the 10.3-inch screen atop the centre console and commands are accepted using Lexus Remote Touch touchpad interface. The system intuitiveness continues to leave a lot to be desired especially since it has not been updated with the new touchscreen unit as seen on the 2021 Lexus IS 300 AWD. Fortunately, Lexus has added Android Auto compatibility for 2021 to go along with Apple CarPlay, enabling drivers to enjoy the RC F with fewer distractions.
Pricing of the 2021 Lexus RC F starts at $85,450, and the Track Edition is a hefty $35,000 premium that brought our as-tested total to an eye-watering $120,450. This sticker price puts it at the very top of its segment, but it includes certain features that are usually quite expensive to add such as carbon fibre body kits, BBS forged wheels, and carbon ceramic brakes. It also comes with an element of exclusivity and bragging rights as the sportiest Lexus in the lineup with many parts made from the same assembly line from the legendary Lexus LFA supercar.
The 2021 Lexus RC F Track Edition is a special halo performance car from a company that is aggressively trying to expand its sports car portfolio. It is perfectly suitable for someone who may not be an actual track warrior but wants a car that looks the part and holds its own on the race circuit, without losing the compliant qualities necessary for the daily grind.
*Photos by Desmond Chan*