• What is it? Lexus’ first supercar and a genuine rival to Ferrari and Lamborghini
• The basics: High-rev V-10 and rear-wheel drive fun
• On sale: 2011
• Price: $375,000-plus (est.)
The supercar that almost wasn’t, the 2011 Lexus LFA, has finally made its world debut at this month’s 2009 Tokyo Motor Show. The LFA has been spotted testing in prototype form on a number of occasions, so it's well past the 'pure concept' stage, and Lexus has now confirmed that production will start next year. Its U.S. debut will come later this year at the November SEMA show in Las Vegas and then the Los Angeles Auto Show in December.
Development on the car has been ongoing for the past nine years, during which time a total of three different concepts have been revealed. We can reveal that the car will feature a 4.8-liter 72-degree V-10 engine packing 552-horsepower and 354-pound-feet of torque at 6,800 rpm. Best of all, the V-10 has a 9,000 rpm redline.
This is no ordinary mill. Advanced features include titanium valves and connecting rods, forged aluminum pistons, a dry sump lubrication system and a titanium exhaust manifold.
Drive is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed automated sequential gearbox and a Torsen limited slip differential. Lexus claims 0 to 60 mph times of around 3.7 seconds and a top speed in excess of 200 mph.
The car's front mid-engine placement, along with a rear-mounted transaxle and rear-mounted radiators, allows for excellent weight distribution. Furthermore, intensive weight-saving techniques have also been employed, including the use of lightweight carbon-fiber for 65% of the car’s body.
The end result is an almost perfect 48/52 front-to-rear weight distribution and a final kerb weight of 3,263 pounds, equivalent to a power-to-weight ratio of 5.8 pounds/horsepower.
Production will be limited, with only 500 examples planned. However, don’t fret if you think you won’t get one as Lexus is likely to add a roadster and hybrid variant as well. The first models will begin hand-assembly at Lexus's LFA Works facility in December, 2010, and production will run for 24 months after that. The first deliveries will take place in early 2011.