By Nat Shirley
Tuesday, Jan 14th, 2014 @ 10:28 am

Lexus has unveiled its 2015 RC F at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Aimed squarely at the BMW M4, the RC F is a high-performance variant of the recently-revealed RC coupe.

Outside, the RC F adopts amped-up cues like deep front air intakes, stylized fender vents similar to those of the IS F sedan, and a more assertive rendition of Lexus' spindle grille with a subtle F-mesh pattern on the lower half. Distinctive stacked quad tailpipes adorn the rear end, as does a decklid spoiler that rises at 50 mph to help keep the coupe planted on the pavement.

Whereas most rivals rely on - or will soon switch to - forced-induction powerplants, the RC F utilizes a naturally-aspirated 5.0-liter V8. Sharing only displacement and a cylinder block with the IS F's mill, the direct- and port-injected V8 features a 12.3:1 compression ratio, a 7,300-rpm redline and preliminary power figures of more than 450 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. Impressively, the mill can switch to the efficient Atkinson cycle during cruising situations in order to reduce fuel consumption.

Output is routed to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission and a torque-vectoring rear differential with Standard, Slalom and Track modes that let the driver adjust the balance of stability and nimbleness.

Sizable Brembo brakes are fitted at all four corners to balance out the bent eight's thrust. Carbon ceramic rotors won't be offered, although the options list will feature a weight-saving carbon fiber package with a clear coated carbon fiber roof and rear spoiler. Lexus says it's targeting a curb weight of under 3,968 lbs. for the RC F.

Cabin changes compared with the RC include a unique instrument panel that draws inspiration from Lexus' LFA supercar with a central tachometer and numerous performance-related readouts, including a torque vectoring monitor, G-Force meter and stopwatch. A thick, oval-section rim steering wheel faces the driver, while carbon-fiber trim, Alcantara accents and special sports seats further set the tone.

Lexus hasn't announced when the RC F will hit the market; pricing is likewise a mystery.

Live images by Mark Elias.