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Lexus celebrates 10 years of F marque vehicles at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show New RC F Special Edition anniversary model F models honed on the track but designed for road-going performance accessible to drivers of all skill levels Continuous advances in performance and handling from the original IS F to RC F coupe and GS F sedan Lexus is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its F marque at the 2018 Geneva motor show, a series of cars designed and engineered to deliver a higher level of sporting style and driving rewards. To mark the occasion, it has prepared a new RC F Special Edition, styled and equipped to capture the sporting spirit of the F marque. Exclusive new RC F Special Edition The RC F Special Edition makes its European debut at the Geneva Motor Show, a rare and exclusive version of the performance coupe. The car’s powerful lines and sculpted surfaces have been given extra impact with a matt paint finish in Nebula grey. The matt theme is also picked up in exterior elements such as the door handles, mirror housings, side skirts and shark fin antenna. This strikes a strong contrast with the highly polished black finish of the 19-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels. Large brake callipers are visible through the wheel spokes, painted blue and bearing the evocative F logo. The same blue shade is used to edge the discreet F badging on the car’s front wings. The Special Edition further benefits from front performance dampers. The interior displays and even bolder application of the colour, with an exclusive Blue Carbon theme. The highly supportive front sports seats are finished in vivid blue semi-aniline leather with white accents and the F symbol embossed in the integrated head restraints. They are also incorporate heating and ventilation functions. The same blue leather can be found on the gear shift knob, the steering wheel and the instrument panel hood and the seat belts are also coloured to match. The surrounds for the window controls on the door armrests have a striking carbon weave finish in blue, black and silver. The rear seats are wrapped in black leather and a black headlining, embossed with the F symbol, adds to the focused, sporting ambience. Each model is fitted with a discreet metal plaque recording the car’s Special Edition status. Other features include the RC F Carbon Pack, equipping the car with a carbon fibre hood, roof and active rear spoiler, together with a Torque Vectoring Differential for superior handling through corners. The safety provisions are equally impressive, including Lexus Safety Sense +, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and a Blind Spot Monitor. Lexus F – the first 10 years The exclusive F designation was first introduced on the IS F in 2008. The F reputation was further enhanced with the limited edition LFA supercar, of which just 500 were manufactured between 2010 and 2012. The F designation was subsequently applied to the performance-focused RC F coupe and GS F saloon, both models reflecting the technological skills gained during the development and production of the LFA – particularly the manufacturing know-how for carbon fibre reinforced plastic parts – as well as the car’s design philosophy for realising exhilarating and stimulating driving performance. By using the letter F to signify its most potent models, Lexus pays tribute to the Fuji Speedway and the Higashi Fuji Technical Centre at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan, which have been the cradle of the cars’ development. Lexus original intentions for the F line were to produce cars with muscular, athletic designs and authentic sports performance, and that are fun and rewarding to drive. At the same time, they would maintain the established Lexus values of sophisticated technologies, advanced safety, cutting-edge engineering and unmatched refinement and efficiency. The essential quality of the cars is expressed by the F engineer, who said: “There’s a perception that many performance cars are hard to drive. In fact, they’re easy in the right hands, because they’ve been purpose-built for the skill level of their drivers. It’s the same with the F cars which I have built to be enjoyed by all enthusiasts, no matter what their level of expertise. Electronics can be modified instantly on board to provide levels of performance and protection appropriate to each driver’s abilities. But even in their basic settings, they are a blast.” Lexus F models are developed with extensive testing on some of the world’s most famous and demanding race tracks, including the Fuji Speedway and the Nürburgring, to achieve the best possible dynamic performance, handling, responsiveness, power and even the quality of the engine note. The result is cars that deliver direct response, communicating a strong feeling of the driver being in control, no matter what the speed, the driving conditions, or the level of ability of the person at the wheel. Lexus IS F – the original Lexus F model The IS F was the first Lexus F model, launched in 2008 with a compact, naturally aspirated 5.0-litre V8 engine that was developed specifically for the car. This unit produced a maximum 417bhp and was capable of acceleration from rest to 62mph in 4.8 seconds. It was matched to an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift transmission which, in its day, delivered the world’s fastest shift speed – just 0.1 seconds. Power and speed were only part of the IS F’s special character. Thanks to a specially adapted version of Lexus’ Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM), drivers were able to safely explore the limits of the car’s performance, with VDIM providing co-ordinated control of the car’s braking, traction and stability functions, steering assistance and gearshifts. Select Sport mode in the transmission and VDIM would give the freedom for really spirited driving, only intervening at the point of maximum drift. For the truly adventurous, the IS F also allowed the system to be fully switched off to give the kind of handling and braking performance enjoyed by race and rally drivers. RC F – the performance coupe In 2014 Lexus moved to the next chapter in its F programme with the IS F making way for the more powerful RC F, based on the RC coupe. The V8 powertrain underwent extensive changes that delivered an initial increase in output to 471bhp (subsequently adjusted to 457bhp to comply with emissions standards). The SPDS transmission offered no fewer than six driver-selectable modes, including a G-sensor AI-Shift control for high-performance sports driving. Responsiveness was further sharpened and more linear acceleration delivered, all the way to a new 7,000rpm red line, made possible by using strong and lighter components, including forged connecting rods and titanium valves. At the same time, the car’s stopping power was significantly improved with larger and thicker slotted brake discs. The RC F also came equipped with a Torque Vectoring Differential – a first for a front engine/rear-wheel drive car – which allowed for left and right drive torque to be instantaneously adjusted, giving smoother, faster and more precise cornering, free from understeer. The VDIM was also upgraded with an extended Sport mode and an “Expert” setting, with the vehicle stability control switched off. The system was also developed to enable co-ordination of its functions with the torque vectoring differential. GS F – the performance saloon The performance blueprint executed for the RC F was applied to GS saloon in 2015, creating the GS F. Using the same powertrain, its handling was further developed in track testing on the famously demanding Nürburgring Nordschleife. Although it has been honed on the racetrack, the five-seater GS F is faithful to the ethos of the F marque in being a car that is equally amenable to drive whether you are taking on a twisting mountain road, or making a routine, everyday journey.
Lexus has announced that the "next Lexus F model" will debut at the Detroit Motor Show in January. (We're all expecting the next F to be known as the RC F, but that's not officially announced yet.) Press previews for the motor show start on 13 January, so I expect a live video feed of the debut on the morning of 14 January in Australian time zones. No doubt we'll see four teaser shots being released between now and 9 or 10 Janauary, when I would expect a press release will provide more details of the RC F - sorry, I mean, "the new F model". Here's the first teaser shot: