Paul Horrell09 January 2014

Lexus reveals the brand new RC-F

'ISF-Coupe' debuts at the Detroit Motor Show with a 5.0-litre V8 and over 450bhp. Watch out BMW M4

Can it it be possible - oh please - that the brand-new RC-F gives a dose of what made the LF-A so great, in a car to go up against the new BMW M4?

Lexus rolled the RC-F onto the stage at the Detroit Show today. Just as the 4-series isn't quite just a two-door 3-series, the new Lexus RC coupe isn't just a two-door IS. It's the length of the IS but the width of the GS. And this F version pushes its 19-inch wheels right out to the edge of those swollen arches.

But its most distinctive feature is under that bulging hood. Just as we thought the normally aspirated engine was quietly lying down for good, here comes a snorting 5.0-litre V8. It's related to the magnificent animal of a motor that kicked such great backside in the old IS-F, but it's even more powerful. Lexus says more than 450bhp. Thanks to all that good ol' displacement, it also makes a heaving 383lb ft of torque.

Of course it's the CO2 squeeze that has pushed Mercedes-AMG, BMW M and Audi RS into turbos. Lexus has an answer. In light cruising the V8 goes into Atkinson-cycle mode... like a Prius engine. Mind you, there are no official consumption figures just yet, so lets wait and see before proclaiming a green miracle.

All of that lot is channeled via an eight-speed box to a new e-diff at the back. Lexus says there will never be a 4WD version. It's rear-drive all the way. The 0-60mph time is said to be less than 4.5 sec, in a car weighing a slightly portly 1800kg.

Aside from all the gulping cooling inlets, the body design also pays attention to keeping itself pinned to the road. There's a lifting rear spoiler, and a bonnet vent that cuts front-end lift by easing the low-pressure area at the base of the windscreen. The underbody has been carefully smoothed, and the 'aero stabilising fins' are also said to be more than just hormone-exciting decoration.

Props for doing an atmo engine, but how about a manual box for that true old-skool feel? Lexus boss Mark Templin told Top Gear: "Everyone wants to talk about a manual but no-one wants to buy one."

Rivals? Templin says the engineers didn't benchmark particular measurables of the opposition. "We just set out to build a Lexus." Well obviously they couldn't get their hands on an M4 yet anyway. "We might not be the fastest or have the shortest stopping distance. But we believe this car will be the most fun to drive. It makes a good driver better."

Them's fighting words. But since these are the LF-A people, we've got to take them seriously. Can't wait to have a go.

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