Hardcore Lexus RC F Track Edition wows Detroit Show

Lexus RC F 2019 Track Edition

The updated Lexus RC F has debuted at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, complete with a hopped-up, be-winged Track Edition. What has Lexus done to kick its BMW M4 rival into shape?

Beauty in the eye of the key-holder

Lexus RC F 2019 Track Edition

Well, it’s certainly not softened up the styling. The RC F still features the marque’s aggressive ‘Predator’-style schnoz, with a bit of added chin and snarl to denote sporting intent.

The lights are updated, with single-piece units at the front and a cleaner design at the back. The RC F, for the most part, looks the same. It remains a visual tonic to some and just a bit fussy to others.

Lexus RC F 2019 Track Edition

Under the skin of the standard car, bushes and mounts have been tightened to sharpen up the chassis. New, specially-designed Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres are said to reduce understeer, improve lateral grip and be more durable. Launch control now comes as standard, too – you’ll get to 62mph in 4.5 seconds with it engaged.

The lovely old V8 remains and is up on power slightly. An increase of 5hp gives the 2019 RC F 472hp, while torque is up by 6lb ft to 395lb ft. We’d wager the fundamental rev-happy character goes unchanged and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

What’s new for the Track Edition?

Lexus RC F 2019 Track Edition

There’s no mistaking the Track Edition for anything else. That massive carbon rear wing, heat-treated exhaust tips, carbon bonnet, black wheels and satin paint are a dead giveaway for the more track-honed model.

Lexus RC F 2019 Track Edition

The fixed wing takes the place of the active item on the standard car and is said to reduce drag while increasing downforce by 26kg. As you’d expect of a track-focused model, weight is down – in this case by between 70kg and 80kg.

A major focus has been put on unsprung weight, with a view to improving driving feel. As a result, carbon ceramic brakes are standard for the Track Edition, as are new GT3-inspired 19-inch forged BBS alloy wheels. All in, that helps lop 25kg off the unsprung weight at the front alone.

Lexus RC F 2019 Track Edition

Elsewhere, carbon fibre helps fight the paunch, including that enormous bonnet and the roof panel.

An exotic-looking exhaust is made of titanium and helps save even more weight. It should make for a spectacular musical accompaniment, too, given the 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 remains.

Lexus RC F 2019 Track Edition

What’s the RC F like on the inside?

Inside, the pleasing ‘1990s hi-fi’ aesthetic remains. Lurid leather and ‘F’ badges make sure you never forget you’re in the quick one.

The Track Edition doesn’t appear to rob the standard car of any of its luxo-barge credentials.

Lexus RC F 2019 Track Edition

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NAIAS 2016

The exciting new cars of the 2016 Detroit Motor Show

Lexus LC 500It’s one of the big shows of the automotive calendar: held in America’s Motor City, the NAIAS Detroit Auto Show is now in full swing.

From weird concepts to ready-for-sale production cars, join us as we check out the cars on display at the 2016 Detroit show.

Lexus LC 500

Is this enough for you to cancel your Porsche 911 order? The Lexus LC 500 is powered by the firm’s high-revving 5.0-litre V8 engine, producing 467hp and capable of covering 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds.

First teased by the Lexus LF-LC concept of 2012, the LC 500 will take on the might of Mercedes-Benz and BMW when it goes on sale next year.

Volvo S90

The Volvo S90 is one of the most attractive cars on display here at Detroit’s Cobo exhibition centre. You wouldn’t have said that about a Volvo a few years ago. It’s Volvo’s rival to the BMW 5 Series and a replacement for the dated S80.

The S90 is set to be as ground-breaking as the latest XC90 SUV. With semi-autonomous driving features and a T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain, the S90 could offer stiff competition to the likes of the BMW 5 Series, not to mention Mercedes-Benz’ new E-Class.

Porsche 911 Turbo/Turbo S

With the controversial move of turbocharging its entry-level 911 models out of the way, Porsche can concentrate on facelifting the hairy-chested Turbo and Turbo S.

Power from the twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre flat-six engine is up by 20hp in each model – with the Turbo S now boasting 580hp. It’ll hit 62mph in just 2.9 seconds and can reach a top speed of 205mph.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Along with official teaser shots of the interior and a myriad leaks of the exterior, it’s not a big surprise to see the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class here in Detroit. Packed with clever connected technology such including ‘Car-to-X’ communication, the E-Class can exchange information with other vehicles on the road and receive warnings of obstacles in the road and traffic jams ahead. An optional Remote Parking Pilot lets you use an app on your smartphone to get the E-Class in and out of your garage.

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class will be powered by a choice of two diesel engines when deliveries start in May 2016, with a plug-in hybrid confirmed for later in the year.

2017 Ford Fusion

The new Ford Mondeo has hardly been around two minutes in the UK. But buyers in the US got it a whole two years before us: badged there as the Fusion, it’s now ready for a facelift.

The big news is a new range-topping Platinum model – America’s equivalent to our Vignale, with 19-inch alloys, premium leather and a new honeycomb grille. There’s also a new Sport model, packing 325hp from its 2.7-litre V6 Ecoboost engine.


BMW first released pictures of its M2 back in October, but we’ve seen it in the metal for the first time at Detroit. It boasts 370hp from its turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six and, when paired with the optional dual-clutch auto ’box, will hit 62mph in 4.3 seconds.

When it goes on sale in the UK in the spring, the BMW M2 will cost from £44,070 and rival the likes of the Audi RS3 and Mercedes-AMG A45.

Infiniti Q60

First shown in concept form at last year’s Detroit Auto Show, the Infiniti Q60 is a sleek, executive coupe set to rival the BMW 4 Series and Audi A5. The production version has been revealed in Detroit, featuring a Q50 front-end but curvier rear.

It really is a stunner, the Infiniti Q60. But the top-line engine sounds promising, too. It’s a 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo petrol, with buyers getting a choice of two power outputs: 300hp or 400hp. It’s the first production model to get the engine (which debuted in last year’s concept). We predict a hybrid powertrain will follow.

Mercedes-AMG S65 Cabriolet

The hot Mercedes-AMG S65 Coupe went on sale at the tail end of 2015, but the performance division has chopped the roof off for Detroit 2016.

Despite almost an extra 175kg in mass, the turbocharged 5.5-litre V12 engine accelerates the cabriolet to 62mph in the same time as the coupe – just 4.1 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited as standard to 155mph, unless the buyer pays to fit better tyres and increase the maximum speed to 186mph.

Mercedes-Benz SLC

For its mid-life facelift, the Mercedes SLK is being renamed. It’ll now be known as the ‘SLC’, and has appeared in public for the first time at Detroit. The most obvious change is the diamond-style front grille.

Two new engines bookend the range: the entry-level 156hp SLC 180 and the hot 367hp AMG SLC 43. In between these come 184hp SLC 200 and 245hp SLC 300 petrols, plus a 204hp SLC 250d diesel.

Honda Ridgeline

The Honda Ridgeline has never sold in massive numbers – and that’s unlikely to change, unless everyone starts buying smaller, softer pick-up trucks.

With a quad cab and short load bed, the Honda Ridgeline is powered by a 3.5-litre V6 engine combined with a six-speed automatic gearbox. It’ll be ready to take on the likes of the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado when it goes on sale in the US later this year.

Ford F-150 Raptor

This is the new aluminum-bodied F-150 Raptor, a frankly bonkers take on the America’s popular F-150 pick-up truck.

The 2017 F-150 Raptor has shed around 230kg. It’s following Ford’s EcoBoost philosophy, with a V8 engine swapped for a smaller, turbocharged V6. It’s expected to produce around 450-horsepower.

Chrysler Pacifica

The pretty Chrysler Pacifica, unveiled at Detroit, is a renamed version of the popular Town & Country. Chrysler has strong hopes for this minivan.

Power comes from a choice of two powertrains: a 3.6-liter V6 producing 287-horsepower, or the same engine detuned to 248-horsepower and combined with an electric motor.

Infiniti QX60

OK, this isn’t a huge deal – the Infiniti QX60 SUV has received a mild facelift for the Detroit Auto Show. Its revised looks bring it into line with the Q50 sedan – with its new headlights being particularly noticeable.

Buyers get a choice of a 3.5-liter V6 petrol engine producing 265-horsepower, or a hybrid combining a supercharged four-cylinder with an electric motor, producing 250-horsepower. Four-wheel-drive versions are available, but it’s front-drive as standard – with the steering tuned for 2016.

Genesis G90

Believe it or not, this luxury saloon is a Hyundai. Actually, it’s not – it’s the first model being launched under Hyundai’s new premium sub brand, Genesis.

The G90 is a replacement for the Hyundai Equus and will come with a choice of three engines: a 311-horsepower 3.8-liter V6, a 3.3-liter turbocharged V6 producing 365-horsepower, and a potent 5.0-liter V8 carried over from the Equus, giving out 419-horsepower.

Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active Concept

This is a rugged off-road version of the plug-in hybrid Volkswagen Tiguan, which itself was revealed at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Ground clearance has been increased by 45mm to improve its capability off road.

VW says “off-road design elements of the body are technically feasible as options for production cars.” While we don’t expect a production-ready off-road Tiguan to be launched anytime soon, we expect you’ll be able to toughen yours up, should you wish. There’s a new 9.2-inch infotainment screen, too – and that could be arriving in production cars as soon as this year.

Audi H-tron quattro concept

This is Audi starting to taking hydrogen vehicles seriously – we wonder what’s brought that on? A more stylish alternative to the Toyota Mirai, the H-tron combines an 150-horsepower fuel cell with an electric motor capable of a temporary 135-horsepower power boost.

It’ll hit 62mph in ‘less than 7.0 seconds’, says Audi. It’s not clear whether the H-tron concept previews a bespoke production model, or whether an existing vehicle would be converted with a hydrogen powertrain.

Chevrolet Bolt

General Motors has revealed its new electric car, after teasing it at CES last week. It’s a huge deal: costing $30,000 (around £21,000) and giving a range of 200 miles. Could be the car to convince America that electric cars are the future?

The Bolt is powered by a 60-kWh battery pack, and can hit 60mph in under 7.0 seconds. Its styling has more than a hint of BMW i3, we think.

Fisker Force 1

Henrik Fisker, the man behind the electric Fisker Karma of 2011, is back with a new sports car. The Force 1 features carbon fibre bodywork the naturally aspirated 8.4-litre V10 engine from the Dodge Viper. It’s getting a huge amount of attention here at the Cobo centre.

The Force 1 hits 60mph in 3.0 seconds and keeps going all the way to a reported 218mph. Production is expected to be limited to 50 units, with a price tag of around £185,000.

Lincoln Continental

Lincoln revealed its luxury Continental concept at the 2015 New York Auto Show, and now the production version has made its debut in Motor City. The styling has remained largely unchanged – but it would be a crime to lose that bold stance and ‘out of my way’ mesh grille.

The interior of the Continental takes inspiration from private jets, with 30-way adjustment for the electric front seats. Power comes from a 3.0-litre Ford Ecoboost V6, producing around 400hp.

Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400

No, it’s not a production-ready Eau Rouge (the concept Q50 fitted with a Nissan GT-R engine). But this Q50 still has 400hp from a twin-turbocharged V6. That’s exciting, right?

The Q50’s brand new twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre engine replaces the old Nissan 3.7-litre unit. Performance should rival the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63 – let’s hope it comes to the UK.

Acura Precision concept

Acura is Honda’s luxury division in the States (like Toyota’s Lexus). This dramatic Precision concept gives us an indication of how future models might look. Apparently saloons are set to be a priority.

Saloons don’t excite auto show punters, though (not as much as the NSX, which also wears the Acura badge in the States). So the Acura Precision concept is an sleek sports coupe, with a beefy rear end and hawk-eye headlights.

Kia Telluride

This is Kia’s vision for a full-size SUV and we have to say we rather like what we see. It’s called the Telluride and it showcases a three-row, seven-seat premium SUV to sit above the Kia Sorento. In other words, Kia has its sights set on the Range Rover…

OK, so the styling gives it the look of a Volvo XC90 from another dimension, and we doubt the rear-hinged back doors would ever see production, but it’s impossible not to love this. Kia says the Telluride is ‘anything but a utopian fantasy’, but says there are no plans to bring the Telluride to production. Boo.

Buick Envision

If you really like the look of this Chinese-built crossover we have some bad news for you: it’s not coming to the UK.

The American-engineered SUV will sit between the Buick Encore and Envision in the US. Power comes from a 252hp four-cylinder petrol engine, while the Encore’s almost-premium cabin seems to have gone down very well in Detroit.

Dodge Ram 1500 Rebel

We still love the Dodge Ram 1500 Rebel. It went on sale in 2015 and features an increased ride height, 33-inch Toyo tyres and 17-inch alloy wheels. The blacked-out grille is a departure from Ram’s ‘crosshair’ design.

Inside, the Dodge Ram 1500 Rebel features seats finished in red and black, along with Toyo tyre tread patterns that match the Rebel’s actual footprint. While a 3.6-litre V6 engine is available, it’d be rude not to choose the full-fat 5.7-litre HEMI V8.

GMC Canyon

GMC calls the Canyon the ‘only premium midsize pickup’, claiming it is easier to manoeuvre than a larger truck and more capable and versatile than any rival midsize pickup. The big news for 2016 is the addition of a Duramax diesel engine – the first time this has been offered in a midsize pickup.

The GMC Canyon is facing renewed competition, in the form of the new Honda Ridgeline and the revised Toyota Tacoma. It remains to be seen whether or not the likes of a 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine, Apple CarPlay and the availability of a sliding rear cab window will be enough to see off the threat from Japan.

Lexus LC 500

Detroit 2016: Lexus LC 500 luxury coupe revealed at NAIAS

Lexus LC 500Lexus has revealed its new LC 500 2+2 luxury coupe at the 2016 Detroit Motor Show, the car with which it’s hoping to sway well-heeled Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe buyers.

And on looks alone, Lexus could be onto a winner. The new LC is a very striking and shapely coupe that successfully brings to production the bold lines of Lexus’ well-received LF-LC Concept of 2012.

Lexus is betting big on it. No less than Akio Toyoda himself is banking on it: “The new LC 500 coupe’s proportions, stunning design and performance make a strong statement about our brand’s emotional direction and will increase Lexus’s global luxury appeal.”

New architecture

Lexus LC 500

The LC 500 is based on Lexus’ new global architecture for luxury cars, dubbed GA-L. All future front-engine, rear-wheel drive Lexus will be based upon this.

It has a low centre of gravity, masses have been centralised and occupants’ hips and legs are lower than ever. Even the overhangs have been shortened – and Lexus says it’s used run-flat tyres to improve packaging (and make space for the battery that’s been relocated from the engine bay).

It doesn’t quite achieve perfect weight distribution, but 52/48 front/rear isn’t bad.

The familiar super-high-revving 5.0-litre V8 from the RC F and GS F is used here, in 467hp guise. Lexus is targeting 0-62mph in less than 4.5 seconds, aided by the first use of its all-new 10-speed automatic gearbox.

Yes, 10-speed.

Dynamic interior

Lexus LC 500

Inside, Lexus has poured over details such as the size and angle of the steering wheel, feel of the paddleshifters and detailing of the dashboard structure.

Tadao Mori, chief designer, said: “At an early stage, the designers worked with the engineers to understand their vision for the LC 500’s driving dynamics, and they incorporated this into the design.

“This was one of the first projects where designers were closely involved in the dynamic engineering development, so we could understand the driving goals and support them with the car’s design.”

Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2016

New 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class revealed in Detroit

Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2016Mercedes-Benz has revealed the all-new E-Class ahead of the 2016 Detroit Motor Show, promising the 10th generation of its executive saloon will be “the most intelligent business saloon” of all.

Packing a plethora of technical innovations, the new E-Class is even ready for self-driving: research and development boss Prof Dr Thomas Weber said the new E-Class “takes another major step towards fully autonomous driving”.

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Carrying the latest smoother, sleeker Mercedes-Benz style created under design boss Gorden Wagener, the new E-Class contrasts with the boxy current-gen car and apes the larger S-Class with its family look.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2016

Mercedes-Benz is particularly proud of the short overhangs, broad tail and (faintly) coupe-like roofline. A new option at the rear is ‘stardust effect’ tail lamps; at the front, there’s the choice of traditional or sport-style grilles (the latter will likely prove more popular).

Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2016

To save weight, the bonnet, front wings, bootlid and key parts of the front and rear are made from aluminium. The aero drag factor also breaks records: the Cd value is just 0.23 (and such advanced aerodynamics mean the new E-Class is quieter than some rivals’ luxury models, claims Merc…).

Inside, you can get a conventional dial setup, but Mercedes-Benz would rather customers go for the optional digital dash: two wide-screen 12.3-inch screens, one for the dials and one for infotainment. It’s a class-first, as are the touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2016

Some amazing colour and trim combinations have been created for the new E-Class, such as open-pore ‘yachting’ woods, nut and saddle brown colour options and real leather for the doors on upper-line models. The ambient LED lighting boasts 64 colour choices.


The new E-Class launches with just two engines: the E 200 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol and E 220 d 2.0-litre turbodiesel. The latter engine is exciting though: at last, it’s an all-new four-cylinder diesel for Mercedes-Benz.

Downsized from the ageing 2.1-litre, it produces 195hp and 295lb ft of torque; Merc’s quoting 102g/km CO2 and 72.4mpg, both extraordinary figures that will have Audi and BMW sitting up to take notice (particularly as this engine is likely to go into the smaller, lighter C-Class in time too…).

The spec sheet says it contains tech such as NANOSLIDE surface coating to reduce friction between cylinders and pistons; this version has single-stage turbocharging and we can expect variants with more turbos in due course.

Both launch engines come as standard with Mercedes’ nine-speed 9G-TRIONIC automatic gearbox.

Shortly after launch, an E 350 e plug-in hybrid will arrive (bank on around 18 miles’ full EV driving, plus claimed figures of 49g/k CO2 and 134.5mpg), as will the E 350 d 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel. This will average 55.3mpg and emit 133g/km CO2: not bad, considering its 0-62mph time of 5.9 seconds.

Forthcoming engines include a 150hp version of the 2.0-litre diesel and four-cylinder petrol engines producing between 183hp and 245hp. A 333hp six-pot turbo petrol E 400 4MATIC will follow later too.


Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2016

The might of Mercedes-Benz ensures the new E-Class is available with a wealth of new technology. A highlight is the Drive Pilot pack, which autonomously follows other cars on the motorway at speeds of up to 130mph (best not try that in the UK). It’ll work well in ‘swarms’ of traffic at speeds of up to 80mph.

It will help you change lanes too, assisting with steering if its safety systems detect the lane is clear.

Mercedes-Benz claims its updated Active Brake Assist system can also completely avoid accidents at speeds of up to 62mph, by detecting hazardous situations up ahead and autonomously braking far sooner than it otherwise might. There’s even Evasive Steering Assist, to help you steer around the pedestrian who’s just stepped out in front of you.

Other tech features include multibeam LED headlights, digital vehicle key using your smartphone and, get this, Pre-Safe Sound: if a collision risk is detected, it plays a noise through the stereo that can “prepare the occupants’ ears for the expected sound of the accident”.

Wait, what? The stapedius effect, apparently.

“The E-Class is the core of the Mercedes-Benz brand and in the past has repeatedly redefined the standards in the business-class segment,” said Prof Dr Weber.

“Now it carries this tradition into the future with a wealth of top-class innovations.”

Bentley Bentayga SUV

2016 Bentley Bentayga SUV name confirmed

Bentley Bentayga SUV

Bentley’s new range-topping luxury SUV will be called Bentayga – and we’ll see the final production version before 2015 is out. Read more