What It Is: A coupe companion to the recently launched IS that may be badged as the RC. Lexus holds trademarks on both “RC350” and “RC F,” and such a change to the two-door IS’s moniker would make sense considering the trend in this direction—the coupe version of Audi’s A4 being called A5, and BMW recently opting to launch the latest 3-series coupe as the 4-series. This particular example is a step up from the 306-hp IS350 F Sport not just in performance, but in attitude. That’s evident in the flared fenders hiding under that cute curlicue camo, the functional hood scoop, an abundance of oversized intakes and vents, and the lip spoiler.
Platform: The RC F will make use of the same humble architecture as does the IS350 F Sport and the standard IS, which is a truncated version of the GS’s underpinnings. The IS’s double-A-arm front suspension and multilink rear setup will have spent a substantial amount of time at the Nürburgring being optimized in order to match the times of the RC F’s German competition.
Powertrain: The 5.0-liter V-8 that motivated the IS F likely won’t live to see Lexus’s new-gen F offerings. With the eight-pot unlikely to meet Euro 6 emissions standards, we expect a switch to a forced-induction version of the 3.5-liter V-6 used in a number of “350”-badged Lexuses. This engine features a unique twin-injection setup—that’s direct and port—and was previously supercharged for Toyota’s Japanese-market Mark X +M Supercharger model. In that application, the mill produced 360 horsepower but expect Lexus to get output nearer 450 horses. There is some question, however, as to whether the brand will continue development with the supercharger or if a switch to turbocharging is in the works.
Don’t expect anything other than an automatic—Lexus previously told us it estimated it sold just one manual-equipped IS in all of 2012—and a return of the eight-speed in the current IS F wouldn’t be surprising. It’s possible that Lexus will turn to all-wheel drive, although we believe that with such an emphasis being placed on this car’s emotional component, rear-wheel drive will be the only way to go.
Thanks to: Car and Driver