Last week, Lexus pulled the covers off the all-new RCF in a glitzy showroom launch that left grown men speechless. There were oohs, ahs and “I wants” coming from every corner, but the problem was, only three would be answered, as that was all that was being allocated to Manila.
But not being a man that you can easily say no to (trust me, I have personal experience here) somehow, Lexus Manila president Danny Isla was able to work his magic and raise that allocation to 21. All of which have been spoken for.
Just to give you an idea of just how impossible that feat was, Singapore have been given less than a handful and Thailand have been allocated 0. Same goes for Malaysia and Indonesia.
So why the hysteria?
It is not so much the mystery of how they crammed 477 hp and 550 Nm of torque into that 5.0-liter V8, it is more how they crammed all that power, luxury and performance into 5.8 million pesos.
To answer that, you would need to understand the history of the F series, which all began with the SC430. It was Lexus’ first stab at a proper sports car and came off the shelf with an all-aluminum retractable hardtop and a 4.3 liter V8 that produced 300 hp.
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I know, I know, even a Camry can do that now, but those were impressive figures for 2001. And more importantly, it planted a seed. One so fertile, that it led the lead engineer, Yamaguchi-san, to secretly develop a performance model of the IS series behind his own bosses back that would not only rival BMW M cars and AMG, but beat them at their own game.
They called it the ISF. And while it didn’t exactly take the M3 to school, it landed pretty damn close. Too close for comfort. Which led them to build the LFA––one of the most expensive super cars ever made. To think that even at around $500,000 each, or about twice the price of a Ferrari 458, Lexus still sold it at a loss.
Basically Toyota spared no expense to achieve a goal of building the best supercar on earth. Many said that Lexus were completely insane to undertake such an ambitious plan and would never return a profit. Toyota simply replied: “So what’s your point?” And the F series was truly born. Although now it stood for fear.
Because as much as none of the Europeans wanted to admit it, the thought of Lexus producing an affordable version of this F series that incorporates everything Lexus learned while engineering the LFA, had the Germans and Italians as petrified as the Scots were when Yamazaki started making Whiskey. It was only a matter of time. And Lexus believe that that time is now.
Meet the all-new RCF; based on a modified version of the IS platform, it is the direct benefactor of the almighty LFA. Not necessarily in actual hardware, but in experience. And now that all that experience has paid off—plus the fact that it falls under JPEPA, it now arrives with prices more aggressive than that spindle grille up front and quad pipes at the back.
But the question is, how does it drive? Well, I’m glad you asked. Because we were given the first local crack at it. And I dragged my TV crew along for the ride. Watch the exclusive video on www.jamesdeakin.ph.