This is the Lexus LF-A, a supercar that looks certain to reach production in 2007 with over 500bhp, a 200mph top speed and a sub-£80,000 price tag. It will be the first high-performance Toyota since the Supra was axed in ’96.
The LF-A is a Porsche 911-sized front-engine, rear-drive supercar with a naturally aspirated engine derived from Toyota’s F1 project. Prototypes are currently believed to be running a compact V10, inspired by the current 3.0-litre unit that powers Toyota’s TF105 F1 car.
Uncertainty about F1 rule changes means Toyota will not yet specify what the production engine would be, as it wants the LF-A to have the same number of cylinders as the F1 car, but except a sub-5.0-litre unit with over 500bhp.
The gearbox is likely to be a seven-speed sequential unit with paddle-shift controls, while the chassis and body will be a high-tech mix of aluminium and carbonfibre. In the quest for perfect 50:50 weight distribution, the car’s twin radiators are packaged in the rear wheelarches.
According to sources, the LF-A is unlikely to be built in volumes of much more than 1000 a month.
The LF-A project has been underway at parent company Toyota since 2000, with several prototypes racking up miles at Toyota’s Higashi-Fuji test facility, and at the company’s vast Arizona proving ground where 200mph-plus speeds have already been recorded on a six-mile banked oval circuit.
Project chief engineer Haruhiko Tanahashi told Autocar: ‘It’s a Lexus, so it has to be the best and that means being the fastest, safest, and also the most emotional. And by fastest, I don’t just mean top speed at Arizona, but around the Nürburgring track in Germany.’