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.’
This sets up an intriguing battle at the ’Ring in 2007. That’s also the year Nissan launches its brand-new Skyline GT-R – a model whose own mark in history has been made through mastery of the historic circuit.