Lexus will officially confirm production of its long-awaited – tardy, in fact – LF-A supercar this autumn. New chief Akio Toyoda will give the green light to the LF-A at the Tokyo motor show in October 2009, CAR has learned.
The new president, 52, is a big fan of sports cars and will campaign the LF-A racer at next weekend’s Nurburgring 24-hour race as part of the Toyota-run Gazoo Racing outfit. It’s the second time Lexus has entered the contest – a highly unusual move for a pre-production prototype, especially for conservative Toyota.
It’d better be good, the LF-A – after so many years’ development!
Quite. The production LF-A is expected to be launched as a coupe first, but an LF-A roadster is likely to follow. This will be an extremely low-volume supercar, Lexus officials admitting that ‘hundreds not thousands’ will be sold globally. Many of those will find their way to the UK, which is one of the world’s larger markets for top-end sports cars.
The LF-A will stay true to the concept’s blueprint: a 5.0-litre V10 nestling far back under the bonnet will crank out some 500bhp, making the LF-A a signed-up member of the 200mph club. Despite earlier speculation, no hybrid model is in the plan.
This Ferrari-bashing Lexus measures 4400mm long and is claimed to have good weight distribution thanks to its front-mid engined layout with a transaxle housing the gearbox and rear-mounted radiators.
Akio Toyoda: an enthusiast in charge of Toyota?
Yes, it’s good news for goody-two-shoes Toyota, which many cite as having lost the enthusiasts’ edge which produced sparkling gems such as the MR2, Supra and Celica.
Toyoda, the grandson of the company’s founder, is a big fan of performance cars and although he has bigger fish to fry at the moment – Toyota has posted its first major losses in its history – we can hope that his enthusiasm will filter down to bread-and-butter cars in the coming years. At last year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, he could be seen wandering alone among the cars and fans on the second day. A stark contrast from day one when he had a presidential style entourage of at least 20!
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