Meet RC, NX and GS. They’re the newest additions to the Lexus family and emblematic of the company’s spirited drive to compete in all segments of the U.S. automotive market while Still going wheel-to-wheel with its European rivals.
Lexus has been on a fast track. Over the last three years, the company has revamped its entire product line. This year, Lexus has offered four new models or updates, looking to attract new, younger buyers to its vehicles. To accomplish this goal, it’s ramping up production of the new high-performance models, which are highlighted by the letter “F.”
The “F” stands for Fuji Speedway, where Lexus conducts some of its high-speed product development. When you think about it, it’s a logical step for Lexus to take its “F” car racing and marketing strategy to the motorsports arena and earn bragging rights in the international GT3 racing circuit with a modified RC F coupe producing more than 540 horsepower.
The RC F performance coupe boasts a 5.0-liter V8 engine rated at 467 horsepower. It’s the most powerful Lexus V8 performance car ever—zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. Top speed is 168 mph.
The RC F’s deeply contoured lines evoke the coupe’s muscular posture. It has wider wheels and tires than its RC 350 stablemate (with a 306 horsepower V6 engine). It also has a speed-activated rear wing that deploys at 50 mph to increase downforce as speed rises. The wing retracts below 25 mph. Notable performance features include an eight-speed transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, Brembo disc brakes, and four driving modes from normal to high-speed racetrack driving.
The interior seating was designed for track drivers, but you don’t have to be one to feel comfortable behind the wheel. There’s also no skimping on the luxury and safety features you’d expect from Lexus—hence, the eight airbags—plus a premium audio system and many other amenities.
The base price of the RC F is $62,400. Its RC 350 all-wheel-drive sibling has a $46,025 base price.
Next up is the 2015 Lexus NX luxury-utility crossover vehicle, a compact version of the popular midsize Lexus RX model available since 1998.
There are two versions of the Lexus NX. The 200t model comes with a 2.0 liter, four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine rated at 235 horsepower. A 300h hybrid version uses an electric motor to drive the rear axle; the front axle is propelled by gasoline or electric power, or a mixture of both. The 300h is the sixth hybrid vehicle in the Lexus lineup. It has a 33 mpg combined city/highway rating.
The Lexus NX models have the aforementioned eight airbags, whiplash-injury- lessening front seats and a pre-collision system that can bring the car to a full stop.
The base price of the turbocharged model $37,980. Cost of the hybrid was not available as of press time.
Meet the Lexus GS, a five-passenger sedan available in four different models: GS350, GS350F, GS450 hybrid and GS450 hybrid Sport. They will all debut late this year as 2016 models.
The GS F sports sedan is a luxury vehicle with the attitude of a sports car. Under the hood, you’ll find a 5.0-liter V8 that produces 467 horsepower with a 7,300 rpm redline mated to an eight-speed transmission with racetrack-ready paddle shifters. Quite simply, the GS F is an enthusiast’s car that sounds fast and is fast. Prices were not available at press time.
The Lexus brand has grown from one luxury sedan in 1989 to a diverse portfolio that includes finely crafted, high-performance niche vehicles—of which these new models are compelling examples.