The Detroit motor show has so far left little doubt about the increasing prominence of Japanese cars in American car culture. Yesterday in Motown, both Honda and Toyota took the covers off concept cars that could father replacements for two of the most highly-regarded Japanese performance cars in history - the Toyota Supra and Honda NSX - and later today, they'll both go even further by unveiling even more hot offerings.
Later today, Lexus will introduce a developed version of the LF-A supercar concept, this one looking pretty close to production reality.
The LF-A concept features bold aerodynamics including very aggressive-looking air intakes for its mid-mounted V10 engine, which appear to be modelled on Formula One style “turn-ups”. Vast cooling ducts for the radiators are incorporated into the tail lights, while the rear diffuser features treble exhaust tailpipes in a triangular pattern.
Prototypes based on last year’s original LF-A concepts have already been seen testing at the Nurburgring, so don’t be surprised if the aerodynamics – necessitated by a targeted 200 mph top speed – turn out to be fairly close to those of the finished product.
Final production is yet to be officially confirmed, but Toyota insiders hint that the final road-going version will make its debut at the Tokyo motor show in the autumn.
Lexus’s second offering in Detroit is a high-performance version of the IS saloon with a 400 bhp 5.0-litre V8 engine and an eight-speed autobox (see gallery).
Despite a claimed 4.9 second 0-60 mph time and the aggressive bodykit, the IS-F isn’t being pitched as a direct rival for the BMW M3, rather an equally fast but more refined alternative. It uses the same engine that will power the forthcoming LS600h hybrid and a sportier version of the company’s new eight-speed autobox, which features a constant lock-up of the torque converter in second to eighth gears to give a sportier driving experience.
The production version will be on sale in the UK in the autumn.
More exciting still is what appears to be a replacement for Toyota's mid-90s twin-turbocharged Supra - the FT-HS. This was Toyota's big Detroit surprise; like the Supra, it features a 2+2 seating arrangement, a front-mounted six-cylinder engine, classic long-nose GT proportions and rear-wheel drive.
However, it's sharply-cut edgy styling is as up-to-date as anything at the show, as is the hybrid-electric powertrain it offers, donated by Lexus' GH450h, and giving it 400bhp and the potential to hit 60mph in just 4.0sec.
Meanwhile under Honda's corporate banner, yesterday the Japanese marque took the wraps off a car that could eventually sire a replacement for the NSX.
Its called the Advanced Sports Car Concept, you can see pictures of it in our gallery, and while Honda insiders have as yet been very guarded on its implications, we can expect more news about the future Honda has in mind for it to break as the show goes on.
Honda Accord Coupe
Today at the show, Honda will also unveil a two-door concept sibling for its Accord saloon, which you can also find in our gallery. The car, say Honda insiders, not only serves as a barometer to public reaction to a more upmarket, two-door version of the traditionally quite staid salooon, but also previews the look of the forthcoming eight-generation saloon, due in showrooms within three years.