Gearing up to take the stage against high performance coupes like the new 2015 BMW M4, Lexus introduced the 2015 Lexus RC F at the 2014 Detroit autoshow, which is set to go on sale this coming fall. At the car's press conference, Lexus vice president Jeff Bracken announced his goal to sell 200 Lexus RC F units per month, and 1,400 units of the RC coupe overall. The 2015 Lexus RC350 and RC300h were introduced in fall 2013. That amounts to just under 17,000 examples of the Lexus RC per year.
The 2015 Lexus RC F continues the sporty performance precedent set by the Lexus IS F, which first launched in 2008. Although the 5.0-liter naturally-aspirated V-8 carries over from the current IS-F, it has been completely overhauled to deliver at least 450 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. Lexus is not fooling around with this new high-output coupe, and fully intends to for the RC F to be a serious player in its segment.
The Japanese challenger, which packs classic eight-cylinder-power as many automakers shift toward smaller turbocharged engines, will face off against nameplates like the BMW M3/M4, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, and Audi RS5. Naturally-aspirated V-8 powertrains are currently available in the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG coupe and the Audi RS5, a 6.2-liter making 451 hp and a 4.2-liter producing 450 hp, respectively. A new version of the C63 is likely due soon to follow the launch of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, and it could drop its big V-8 in favor of smaller displacement and forced induction. The 2015 BMW M4 coupe (and M3 sedan) is confirmed to go that route, utilizing a turbocharged 3.0-liter straight-six with 435 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque on tap.
While the 2015 Lexus RC F will provide a classic powertrain setup for performance purists that could lure buyers from the Germans, it needs a competitive price tag even to achieve Lexus’ 200-vehicle-per-month sales goal. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG coupe starts at $62,875 after destination and gas-guzzler taxes, and the 2014 Audi RS5 coupe costs $70,475 including delivery. Pricing for the 2015 BMW M4 is not yet available.
Lexus hopes that sales of the Lexus RC350 and RC300h will make up the remaining 1,200 monthly units, drawing customers away from luxury coupes like the Audi A5, BMW 4-Series, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The 2015 RC350 is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 rated at 314 hp, while the hybrid coupe breaks new ground for the segment with its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and 105kW electric powertrain.