'A higher degree of F' is what's promised by Lexus for this new RC F Track Edition. Given nobody is entirely sure what 'F' actually means just yet, as it extends from the LFA - one of the finest supercars of the 21st century - to the CT200h F Sport, that assertion seems to be lacking in depth somewhat. What's in no doubt, however, is the very promising spec touted by this new RC.
Despite its billing, the Track Edition is not an M4 GTS rival. Lexus reports that "refinement was not sacrificed for all-out speed; the Track Edition is an uncompromised luxury performance coupe with the ability to impress on the track and off." As a result the Track Edition still features all the equipment you would find on a regular RC F - up to and including an exclusive red leather and Alcantara interior - with the weight savings found elsewhere.
Specifically there's a focus on unsprung mass - "since removing any weight from the mass not supported by the suspension pays huge dividends in handling and steering feel", don't you know - and therefore the RC F TE gets standard ceramic brakes, forged BBS wheels and new calipers. All told they account for 25kg of the claimed 70-80kg of weight loss, plus there are the additional benefits that come with ceramics in terms of circuit staying power. And the wheels look cool.
The additional weight saving comes from CFRP panels (see the roof and the bonnet) and using carbon for the partition between the rear seats and the bumper reinforcement. Note too the fixed rear wing, which is not only lighter than the standard active item, but provides both additional downforce and a reduction in drag. The revised front splitter is also said to contribute some additional downforce at that end.
Interestingly the Track Edition doesn't actually have any more power than the standard RC F, which has also been refreshed at Detroit. In fact, power is down from before, the 5.0-litre V8 now making 457hp instead of the original 477, for which we assume WLTP is to blame. What has changed is the exhaust, this racier RC F using a titanium system to further reduce weight and provide "a unique sound."
The Track Edition will begin production in March, with pricing to follow soon. And if you're thinking Nebula Matt Grey isn't the colour for you, the only other option is Ultra White - what is it with lightweight specials and reduced colour choice?
As for the standard RC F, it too has been treated to some (much-needed) weight loss measures, albeit without any specific figure yet claimed. Lexus talks of hollow driveshafts instead of solid ones, a "pared down" intake manifold, smaller air-con compressor and aluminium brackets - hardly drastic, it might be argued, and so unlikely to shave much off the podgy 1,765kg kerbweight.
Other changes include a lower threshold for the second intake opening (now 2,800rpm, instead of 3,600rpm), and a higher final drive ratio (3.13 replaces 2.93), the latter to improve acceleration and surely to compensate for the effects of less power and slightly reduced torque (was 391lb ft; now 384).
Furthermore, the new F gets bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, new engine mounts and the sort of cosmetic jazzing up that's typical of this sort of update - refreshed lights front and rear, another tweak of the spindle grille and slightly different bumpers. This is not the facelift to convert the RC detractors into believers, though there's certainly not going to be any missing it.
Like the Track Edition, the standard 2019 RC F will be built from March and priced soon. Are these changes enough to draw you from a C63 or M4? Indeed, are they good enough updates to beat the established Germans? And can that Track Edition really deliver? We'll find out soon enough.