At Detroit this week, Lexus launched a new addition to their performance “F” branch—the RC F, which has stolen a sizable chunk of the show from its main rival, the BMW M4.

And for good reason. The IS F, the RC F’s predecessor, was by no means a shoddy car. But it did have to try harder when taking a swing at the old M3 coupe. Now, Lexus has developed a unique, new-to-Lexus torque vectoring rear differential—which is really just carspeak for “willingly drift-happy.” And where BMW has reverted back to a 3.0-liter inline-six, Lexus has stuck to its guns with a big, meaty 5.0-liter V8.

But this is where it gets interesting. With the help of two turbos, the M4 wins the torque match: 405ft/lbs to the Lexus 383. On horsepower, though, the RC F boasts over 450 to the Beamer’s 431. Keep in mind that’s when you’re not using the Prius-style cylinder deactivation… Canyon runs never return economical MPG.

Oh, and because what’s on the outside counts, too: Lexus has been busy with the rest of the Japanese car industry trying—in some cases struggling (see Toyota FCV concept)—to find a unique design language. This new approach definitely helped steal some attention away from the BMW stand.

However, the pavement speaks louder than paper. So when we get our hands on one, you’ll be the first to know if Lexus actually has BMW on the ropes.

Bryan Campbell