In a way, the front-engined, rear-drive layout of the Lexus LFA is refreshingly simple. Although the compact V10 is placed behind the front axle line, you are aware of its presence ahead of you as you turn for a corner, as well as the fact that your backside sits just ahead of the rear wheels.
And yet for a car of this layout, the LFA displays a remarkable willingness to change direction – a consequence not only of the quick-geared steering but also the exceptional rigidity of the carbonfibre central structure.
On a track or smooth-surfaced road, the LFA turns with a remarkable absence of slack, settling swiftly into bends and feeling controlled and planted, with plenty of grip from its bespoke Bridgestone tyres. If we were to make our assessment based purely on such driving, the LFA would score more highly than it does in the final reckoning here.
It doesn’t, though, and the reason is clear when the LFA tackles the bumpy, narrow roads typical of the UK. The problem is a lack of compliance. Although there is a comfort issue, this is a secondary concern for this type of car.
Our main beef is that the difficulty the LFA has in coping with an uneven road impinges on driver enjoyment. For example, under braking the LFA can be deflected easily if a bump affects just one side of the car, and mid-corner lumps can cause traction issues.
The biggest problem, though, comes from the combination of the uneven ride and the steering. Although the quick steering works well on smoother surfaces, maintaining accuracy can be difficult when it has to cope with kickback from the road surface as well.
The issue is exaggerated by the fact that the driver is both being jostled around and insufficiently supported by the seats.