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.