The latest prototype revealed near-production elements such as new tail-lamps and smoother body panelsEnlarge Photo
The supercar that almost wasn’t, and still might not be, the Lexus LF-A, was recently spotted again in prototype form ahead of a rumored debut at October's Tokyo Motor Show, and over the weekend new information about the car has emerged, confirming much of what was already suspected.
The LF-A has been spotted testing on a number of occasions
, so it's well past the 'pure concept' stage, but its production future still remains murky at best. The Japanese company's investment in the LF-A at the Milan Fashion Week, however, lends credence to the idea that it is in fact going to be built, and the continuous stream of prototypes tracking the 'Ring go a step further. Last week news of a tie-up with Lotus for the next Esprit
takes the production of a V10 engine into the realm of reality, and on its coattails comes a new report from Edmunds
The LF-A's powertrain has previously been speculated as a 5.0L V10 engine rated at over 500hp (373kW), and the latest report says it will be over 550hp (410kW) and capable of a top speed of 218mph. Limited production is also the name of the game, with only about 500 units expected unless demand proves high enough to support more, though it will cost more than $200,000
. Worse still, only 350 of them will be made in left-hand-drive for worldwide consumption.
Other details include six-piston brake calipers with carbon-ceramic discs, titanium mufflers, a six-speed sequential automatic gearbox, and run flat Bridgestone tires – all fitted as standard.
A hybrid variant should also be available, but it’s unknown how much power this version will have or what affect the heavy batteries and extra motor will have on handling and weight - or if the hybrid system will be anything more than badging and lip-service to the concept. The car's front mid-engine placement, along with a rear-mounted transaxle and rear-mounted radiators, should allow for excellent weight distribution, however. Lexus has previously billed the concept version of the car
as having a top speed in excess of 200mph, and we have no reason to doubt the production version will reach its sales targets if sold unrestricted - whatever the state of the global economy.
Lexus LF-A clear display car at Milan Fashion Week