Skip to main content

2015 Lexus RC F coupe will have unique split cycle V8 with over 450 horsepower

As we predicted the new Lexus RC F will have a V8 with about 460 horsepower. It will also have an industry first Atkinson/Otto cycle engine for maximum power and maximum fuel economy.

Lexus officially launched the totally new 2015 RC F luxury sports coupe today and the big news is the engine. Lexus has confirmed this will be the company’s most powerful V8 sports car ever and will generate “over 450 horsepower.” Our prediction of 460 was spot-on it seems. The engine will also use a totally unique engine cycle that merges the benefits of the economical Atkinson cycle in normal driving, but will switch to the Otto cycle as engine RPMs rise for maximum power.

Lexus will couple the all-new 5.0 liter V8 to an updated version of its 8 speed automatic, paddle shift transmission. The combination will launch the car faster than the existing IS F sports sedan promises Lexus. That will mean a launch from zero to 60 MPH near 4 seconds. Although there are faster coupes than that, at the expected price range, with the content and quality Lexus brings one can maybe count on one hand the number of V8 coupes in this car’s category. All are excellent and BMW does not have one. Since the folks at BMW decided to move the M4 to an in-line 6 it will not have a V8 sports coupe for sale in the US in this category. Lexus is also planning over 383 lf-ft of torque for the new RC F. That will top BMW’s M4. However, we are pretty sure that BMW will have more “area under the curve” with regards to torque due to its turbochargers.

Lexus wants us to be excited that the RC F will have a torque vectoring rear differential. We are trying to be psyched for that except every performance car has that now. It is so 2011. It will help the car turn while under full power, but this is one of those features you will not feel on the road. The RAV 4 has this for goodness sakes. The differential will have three settings, so maybe drivers will feel it, but we will wait until we drive the car to get overly enthusiastic about it.

The look of the RC F is exciting, both inside and out. Like the new IS 350, the RC F will have the most dynamic and bold styling in its class. Some are put off by the aggressive front spindle grill, but buyers of the IS 350 went for the F Sport version with the exaggerated grill in big numbers. So Lexus may turn off some critics, but buyers have voted and the IS series has about tripled its sales.

Speaking of sales, Lexus revealed that it expects to sell about 20,000 RC 350s, hybrids and RC Fs per year once the line is released. Those are bold numbers. We would expect the RC F to be only about 10% of that number, but much will depend on pricing. BMW now has all-wheel drive 335ix models that are priced well into the low $60Ks. Lexus may choose to offer the 460 horsepower RC F for near what the BMW 435i costs. That would be interesting. What would the car magazines do when it came time to award BMW its first place win and then test the cars? How inconvenient.

Lexus says that the 2015 RC 350 and RC F will be on sale this coming fall.


Frank (not verified)    July 19, 2014 - 2:20PM

John, with all respect, you know that is NOT a true split-cycle engine arrangement. I'd call it a toggle cycle engine, as it does not use dedicated cylinders for hot and cold.