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Lexus RC 350 and RC F on the way

Lexus is heading up to a 25-year birthday in Australia, but they're the ones bringing a present for performance fans -- the RC F coupe, carrying the most powerful V8 to ever roar behind a Lexus badge.

We don't yet know the vital stats, just that the 5.0-litre engine will have more than 330kW of power and more than a tyre-shredding 520Nm of torque, sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed sports shift automatic transmission.

The RC F has been confirmed to hit our showrooms late this year or early in 2015, along with its milder sibling, the RC 350 -- itself no slouch with a 3.5-litre V8 developing 234kW of power and 380Nm of torque.

But it's the RC F that will carry the performance halo on from the Lexus IS F -- although not at the cost of efficiency, with clever technology allowing the engine to switch cycles to improve fuel economy. Handling is enhanced by a torque-vectoring differential with three operating modes -- Standard and Slalom for stability and steering response, and Track to aid cornering and acceleration -- which Lexus has explained functions differently to the systems used by HSV and other brands.

"The system on RC F is critically different to that on other vehicles as it does not use the application of brakes to assist in vehicle trajectory," Lexus spokesman Tyson Bowen said when the vehicle was unveiled at Detroit motor show in January. "Rather than applying or dragging the brake pedal to the wheel losing traction, the RC F's differential apportions torque to the wheels that require more or less. The benefit of the system is that it does not consume power by turning torque into heat, and furthermore does not require a larger brake calliper to counter additional heat stress."

In addition to keeping mum about the exact outputs, Lexus is still to reveal the RC F's lap time for the Nurburgring circuit on which it was largely developed, but we're expecting it to shave the IS F's 4.9 seconds for the 0-100kmh sprint and best the top speed of 274km/h.

What's already clear is that it's a standout design, with cues from the LFA supercar, an aggressive spindle grille face, weight-trimming carbon-fibre roof and panels, a strongly-defined hood scoop and an active rear wing that deploys once the needle climbs past  80km/h.

The interior gets leather-finished sports seats bearing the 'F' badge, chunky wheel, lashings of metal and carbon-fibre trim and a massive central instrument dial that displays a variety of information (including a G-force meter) depending on which of the differential modes are selected.

In between the RC F and the standard RC 350 will be the RC 350 F Sport, gaining sportier mode settings, the rear-wheel steering system to increase cornering turn-in response, Adaptive Variable Suspension that can be adjusted --either by automatic sensors or driver choice -- from a complaint ride quality to soak up bumps to a harder setting to give better handling.

The RC 350 will arrive in the final quarter of this year, with the RC F following early in 2015 as the "ultimate brand car," Lexus Australia CEO Sean Hanley says. "(It's) the car that I think will absolutely signify and cement the new direction for Lexus performance and sport."

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