Road-going, 500bhp LF-A caught in final phase of development
14 June 2007

These are the most detailed shots we've yet seen of Lexus's first and much-anticipated supercar, the LF-A.The mid-engined Ferrari-chaser is on course to be a part of an unprecedented feast of exotic metal at October's Tokyo motor show, but we've caught it four months early.These pictures of the LF-A were taken only last week. They show the car largely undisguised, lapping the Nurburgring Nordschleife in close-to-finished form.

Show-car looks survive almost unchanged

You can tell how similar to the LF-A show car the road-going version will be. The exaggerated, F1-inspired cooling ducts worn by the LF-A concept shown at Detroit in January 2007 have been toned down slightly, but will still feature at the C-pillar, and ahead of the rear wheels. At the front, Lexus has disguised the car's front valance and grille styling, which suggests it might have redrawn the LF-A's nose slightly from its earlier proposals. Out back, it seems that very little has changed. Although this development mule uses square rear lights, expect the finished article to have the narrow, pointed tail lights of the concept car, as well as the huge radiator cooling portholes on either side of its rump.

The power to pester a Porsche Turbo

The most recent information we have on the LF-A suggests that it will launch with a 500bhp, 5.0-litre V10 normally aspirated petrol engine, mounted behind the driver, and sending power to the rear wheels.Lexus is also rumoured to be working on a version powered by the LS600h's 5.0-litre V8, 439bhp, hybrid electric powertrain, but that won't be produced until much later in the LF-A's life.Autocar's sources have suggested that the V10 version will be badged GT500; the hybrid version would likely be called GT450h.

Spoiling for a fight

The timing of the launch of the Lexus supercar, which will be unveiled to the press on the eve of the Tokyo show, is deliberate. It's intended to take as much wind as possible out of the sails of Japanese rival Nissan's thunderous GT-R, which also gets its official unveiling at the show, and also to pre-empt the next version of Honda's Acura Advanced Sports Car Concept, aka the next NSX, which also comes out at Tokyo in October.There's no firm date for ssles of the LF-A, but mid to late 2008 seems likely. We can't wait to drive it.

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