Lexus insists the guiding principle for its new coupé was “functional beauty”, claiming an aerodynamic or cooling purpose for every stroke of the designer’s pen. The result is elaborate styling, although simpler lines, even at the price of lesser efficiency, might have helped the RC F to better compete with its sleeker European rivals.

Underneath, the RC F’s steel architecture is a fusion of GS, IS and IS convertible platforms. The result is a relatively large coupé, eclipsing an M4 in length and height. Lexus has reinforced the body-in-white in the pursuit of appropriate levels of rigidity.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
The adaptive LED headlights have separate daytime running lights underneath. It looks fussy but is better in the metal

The double wishbone suspension at the front features forged aluminium parts, as does the multi-link set-up at the rear. Damping is via passive Sachs monotube performance shocks and braking by Brembo steel discs and aluminium monoblock calipers.

The use of aluminium usually betrays an attempt at weight loss, but here the Toyota marketing machine falls necessarily quiet. That’s because, based on the claimed kerb weight, the RC F weighs almost 200kg more than the M4.

Thankfully, the RC F’s 5.0-litre V8 isn’t short on power; there’s 470bhp of it. Many of the major components – including the cylinder head, injection system, pistons, connecting rods and crankshaft – are new. The resulting 54bhp increase over the IS F comes at increased crank speed, with the engine’s redline having been extended to 7300rpm.

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The engine’s latest VVT-iE variable valve timing system remains hard at work at the opposite end of the scale, too. With a new camshaft profile, the inlet valves can be held open longer than usual, allowing the V8 to run on the more thermally efficient Atkinson cycle, a combustion mode made familiar by the more humble petrol engines that Toyota typically twins with electric motors in hybrids.

Power is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission capable of full torque converter lock-up from second gear onwards. Sensibly deploying that power was the original IS F’s failing, and Lexus has sought to avoid that mistake here by fitting a Torsen limited-slip differential as standard and offering an even cleverer torque-vectoring intelligent rear diff as a cost option.

Fitted to our test car, this optional system is capable of sending 100 percent of available torque to either end of the back axle.

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