The Japanese coupe is going hardcore!

Lexus is working on a hotter RC F! It’s a sentence we’ve been dying to hear ever since the RC F was introduced for the 2015 model. Three years later, and it’s finally happening. With the RC coupe set to receive a facelift soon, Lexus is also testing a more hardcore version of the F model. Although it’s not yet confirmed for production, it will probably wear the RC F GT name first showcased on a concept car in 2016.

Aimed at the BMW M4 GTS and other beefed-up compact coupes that may follow soon, the RC F GT borrows heavily from the concept car. It features similar aerodynamics, as well as carbon-fiber body panels that reduce curb weight. An engine upgrade will add the extra oomph the RC F needs to compete with its turbocharged rivals, but the interior should get a few unique features as well. The coupe could debut by the end of 2018, but until that happens, let’s have a closer look at what we already know about it.

Continue reading to learn more about the upcoming Lexus RC F GT.

2020 Lexus RC F GT Exterior

  • Based on concept car
  • Aggressive bumpers
  • New headlamps
  • Big rear wing
  • Sporty diffuser
2020 Lexus RC F GT Spyshots Exterior
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The RC F GT is based on the facelift that the entire RC lineup is set to receive soon

The partly camouflaged test car seems heavily based on the RC F GT Concept from 2016, but some exterior features are different. The prototype also stands out compared to the current RC F up front, sporting new headlamps and a different bumper and grille layout. That’s because the RC F GT is based on the facelift that the entire RC lineup is set to receive soon.

It seems that Lexus ditched the two-element headlamps of the old RC, opting for larger units that incorporate the LED signature strip of the outgoing model. The grille mesh is also different, but it could be unique to this model, while the vents at the bottom were revised too. The bumper outlets don’t seem to be bigger than the standard model, but they have a slightly different shape. The splitter is obviously bigger, as it is to be expected on a higher performance model.

2020 Lexus RC F GT Spyshots Exterior
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The coupe features a carbon-fiber engine hood and roof, just like the concept car

Another new feature is the carbon-fiber hood. Although the idea is taken from the concept car, the production hood doesn’t have the big vents and the quick-release pins of the show car. It’s pretty much a carbon version of the RC F’s hood, but at least it’s significantly lighter.

Onto the sides, we can see mildly revised mirror caps that feature massive chunks of chrome. The camouflaged side skirts suggest Lexus made changes in those areas too, likely having added carbon-fiber for further weight loss. The wheels are new as well and probably decrease the car’s curb weight by a few more pounds. Just like the concept car, the RC F GT features a carbon-fiber roof.

The rear end is heavily camouflaged, so there’s nothing much to see in terms of changes that come with the facelift, but the test car features a big fixed wing. Granted, it’s not as massive as concept car’s, but it’s quite big compared to the RC F’s tiny spoiler. The bumper and the stacked exhaust pipes seem very similar to the standard RC F, but the camo probably hides a more aggressive diffuser.

2020 Lexus RC F GT Interior

  • Flat-bottom steering wheel
  • Bigger display
  • Carbon-fiber trim
  • Sports pedals
  • Race-spec seats
2015 - 2016 Lexus RC Interior
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The layout should remain the same, with minor revisions to the trim and the infotainment system

There are no spy shots of the interior, but the RC F GT should benefit from the facelift that Lexus is preparing for the RC. However, don’t expect major changes. The layout should remain the same, with minor revisions to the trim and the infotainment system.

The latter should get a significant update though. The display in the center stack is arguably small for modern standards, so we should see a much bigger screen. The updated unit should also incorporate more controls than the previous version, which means that many of the buttons below the A/C vents should disappear. Lexus could also upgrade those vents, as well as the center console, which should get a new control layout.

2015 - 2016 Lexus RC Interior
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While the RC F doesn’t have a flat-bottom steering wheel, the GT model will definitely get one

While the RC F doesn’t have a flat-bottom steering wheel, the GT model will definitely get one. It could also have new buttons on the spokes. The steering wheel will be wrapped in leather, but the grip areas will have Alcantara for a race-inspired feel. Also look for contrast stitching in this area. The instrument cluster will get revised graphics, but the GT package will add features that you won’t be able to buy with other RC models, like red needless, extra performance indicators, and background colors that change with the driving mode in use.

Extra sportiness should come from new pedals and motorsport-spec seats with heavier bolstering. A pair of front seats with integrated headrests should be available too. A special app will let you record lap times and other performance data. Lexus will probably add carbon-fiber trim on the dashboard, door panels, and the center console.

2020 Lexus RC F GT Drivetrain

  • Upgraded 5.0-liter V-8
  • Up to 500 horsepower
  • 0 to 60 mph in less than 4 seconds
  • Dual-clutch transmission
  • Revised suspension
2020 Lexus RC F GT Spyshots Exterior
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The RC F GT could get close to 500 horsepower

Although Lexus is rumored to be working on a new, twin-turbo V-8 engine, the RC F GT will most likely use an updated version of the RC F’s naturally aspirated unit. Sure, the RC will probably make the switch to turbocharging soon, but it won’t happen until Lexus introduces the next-generation model.

The concept car also used the 5.0-liter V-8, but the Japanese upgraded the lubrication and cooling systems and added a performance exhaust. The production model could get the same updates so output should increase over the standard RC F. The coupe comes with 467 horsepower and 389 pound-feet on tap, so the RC F GT could get close to 500 horsepower. I wouldn’t bet on more than 500 horses in the absence of turbocharging, mainly due to reliability concerns, but around 490 would be enough for the RC F GT to be able to compete with the BMW M4 GTS. On the other hand, Lexus won’t be able to match the Bimmer’s 442 pound-feet of torque.

2020 Lexus RC F GT Spyshots Exterior
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The sprint to 60 mph should drop by a half-second compared to the RC F

The eight-speed transmission from the RC F should also get an upgrade for quicker shifts and to better handle the more powerful V-8 engine.

Naturally, the RC F GT should be quicker than the standard RC F thanks to the extra oomph and the lowered curb weight. Unfortunately, we don’t know how much Lexus will shave off the regular coupe. The concept car was a whopping 800 pounds lighter, but I don’t think Lexus will be able to cut as much on the production model without using serious amounts of carbon-fiber. This would drive the cost up significantly, so I think Lexus will settle for 200 to 300 pounds.

2020 Lexus RC F GT Spyshots Exterior
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The suspension will also get upgrades in order to handle the extra power

If my speculation becomes reality, the sprint to 60 mph should drop by a half-second. With the regular RC F needing 4.4 seconds to get there, the GT model will do it in around 3.9 clicks. But while it would be a significant improvement over the standard model, it will be slower than the BMW M4 GTS, which needs only 3.7 seconds to achieve the same speed.

The suspension will also get upgrades in order to handle the extra power. Both axles will be reinforced for increased durability, while the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management control system will get updated software. This will increase adjustability and enhance handling, especially for track use.

2020 Lexus RC F GT Prices

2020 Lexus RC F GT Spyshots Exterior
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The RC F GT will obviously cost more than the RC F, but it remains to be seen how big the premium will be. It obviously depends on the amount of carbon-fiber Lexus will add to the car, as well as whether it will be a limited edition or not. The RC F starts from $64,650, so the GT model will fetch at least $80,000 before options. The BMW M4 GTS was twice as expensive as the regular M4 at $134,200, but I don’t think the RC F GT will blow past the $100,000 mark.

2020 Lexus RC F GT Competition

BMW M4 GTS

2016 BMW M4 GTS High Resolution Exterior
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There aren’t many competitors to talk about in this niche. While Mercedes-Benz offers a very powerful version of the AMG C63 in the S model, it’s not exactly a track car since it lacks a rear wing, carbon-fiber body panels, and specific aero devices. This leaves us only with the M4 GTS, which is very close to a GT3-spec car thanks to its massive front splitter, big rear wing, and motorsport-style diffuser. The GTS is also around 200 pounds lighter than the regular M4, and on top of various lightweight components, it also comes with a rear-seat delete. The juice comes from the twin-turbo, 3.0-liter inline-six in the M4, but output has been increased to 493 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. That’s an extra 68 horses and 37 pound-feet of twist over the standard M4.

Coupled with the new aerodynamics and the lighter weight, the extra oomph pushes the M4 GTS from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, two tenths quicker than the regular M4 with the automatic transmission. Speaking of which, the GTS also uses a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox. The M4 GTS is not just quick in a straight line. In 2015, it lapped the Nurburgring in 7:28 minutes, which makes quicker than supercars like the Porsche Carrera GT, McLaren MP4-12C, and the Ferrari 458 Italia. But there are a couple of issues with this car. For starters, it’s no longer available. BMW built only 700 units, of which just 300 were sold in the U.S. Second, it was priced from a whopping $134,200, which makes them pretty expensive on the used car market too.

Read our full review of theBMW M4 GTS.

Conclusion

2020 Lexus RC F GT Spyshots Exterior
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The RC F GT is definitely late to the party. Lexus should have built a more potent version of the RC F years ago, but it’s better late than never I guess. Granted, the RC F GT is not a car that Lexus cannot survive without. It will compete in a very, very small niche that doesn’t even include vehicles that are in dealerships right now. With the BMW M4 GTS discontinued and Mercedes-Benz and Audi not yet offering similar cars, the RC F GT is pretty on its own in this segment. But that could be a big advantage. With the Germans absent from this niche, Lexus could take all the glory and make serious profits with the RC F GT. The fact that it’s also naturally aspirated is yet another big advantage, although performance car fans may go with turbocharged models from the competition once they become available.

  • Leave it
    • * Not as quick as the competition
    • * Likely very expensive

References

2016 Lexus RC F GT Concept
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Read our review on the 2016 Lexus RC F GT Concept.

2019 Lexus RC F Sport Exterior Spyshots
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Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Lexus RC F Sport.

2015 - 2016 Lexus RC Exterior
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Read up on the standard 2015-2018 Lexus RC

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Read more Lexus news.

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