Lexus has confirmed shock new details of the all-electric LFA successor it is preparing for launch by 2030, including features such as a race-bred chassis, electronic steering - and a manual gearbox.
While the supercar – known for now as the Electrified Sport concept – is outlandish by definition and unlike anything Lexus has produced to date, chief engineer Takashi Watanabe said “it is meant to become reality” and his team is working on adapting it for production, although he stopped short of revealing a launch date.
Unlike the majority of the supercar’s volume-friendly range-mates due over the coming years, which are all set to use a variation of parent company’s e-TNGA EV platform, this new supercar will be built around a much more radical and highly bespoke structure more familiar from GT3 race cars - which will allow it to accommodate a raft of unique and advanced technological features.
Most notable among these is a manual gearbox, the likes of which so far has not appeared in a production EV - given the flat torque curve of a conventional motor, which negates the need for separate ratios, or the need for a human driver to select them.
But Lexus says a ‘DIY’ gearbox is an integral part of an enthusiast-focused drivetrain, and given the brand’s commitment to developing engaging driver’s cars in the electric era, it is evaluating the feasibility of integrating a manual into “some of our future BEVs”.
The idea was hatched by a group of “reckless engineers”, according to Watanabe, who were keen to replicate the driving dynamics of a conventional sports car in an EV format.
They have already fitted a manual six-speed gearbox into a Lexus UX 300e crossover as an early proof of concept. The prototype has a clutch, a rev counter and mimics the sound of an engine revving as it gathers speed. It even has a bespoke accelerator map to more closely mimic the behaviour of a combustion drivetrain, and – Watanabe points out – it can be stalled.