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LF-A two years away

Tokyo treat: LF-A appeared a little closer to production in Japan last week.

Lexus supercar makes third show cameo as Toyota chases 350km/h, as well as M3

30 Oct 2007

LEXUS has confirmed its audacious LF-A super-coupe will enter production within two years, surprising those who assumed its third motor show appearance as a concept indicated the first Lexus supercar could still be up to five years away. GoAuto understands development delays with the LF-A, which could simply be called the SF (for “Sports Flagship”) when it hits the streets, centre around Lexus’ pursuit of a 350km/h top speed to out-pace rivals including the 911 Turbo and Nissan’s new GT-R. The Toyota premium-car division’s answer to Porsche appeared closer to production at Tokyo last week, when Lexus finally officially confirmed the front-engined, rear-drive two-door two-seater will be powered by a naturally-aspirated V10 petrol engine. Apart from wearing “F” badges, the latest LF-A show car featured a number of new design elements at Tokyo, including upper rear-side air-inlets, but it still lacked road-legal items like conventional side mirrors. Longer and wider than the concept that first appeared at Detroit in January 2005, it measures 4460mm long, 1895mm wide and 1220mm high, and rides on a 25mm-longer (2605mm) wheelbase, making it closer to a 911 in length and width – and the same height as Ferrari’s F430.

31 center imageLeft: LF-A concept and IS-F (below).

Details are scarce beyond the Tokyo show car’s obviously larger-diameter 20-inch wheels braked by six-piston callipers, but group manager for Lexus brand planning Shuhei Miyashita said he would fight to retain the LF-A’s now-trademark design cues, including the LF-A’s triple exhaust outlets. “I will do my best not to lose any design elements of the concept,” he told GoAuto. “These features put it in good stead in the supercar class.” Miyashita-san said the LF-A would go into production within two years and that he thought the top-end sportscar market was not easily influenced by styling trends. “The utmost thing I would like to do is build the LF-A,” he said. “We are putting all of our efforts into this.” When asked if the LF-A would offer 911 or 911 Turbo performance, Miyashita-san said: “The LF-A has a naturally-aspirated V10 only, so it’s not so much the figures but the emotional aspect. We will see at the racetrack.” Asked if that meant the LF-A would be slower than supercars like the 911 Turbo (and therefore the GT-R), he said: “Not necessarily. It’s a different direction.” Closer to home, Lexus has also issued full domestic specs and pricing for its IS-F sports sedan, which costs $A85,000 in Japan and produces 311kW at 6600rpm (2kW more than BMW’s M3 coupe and sedan) and 505Nm of torque from a heady 5200rpm (105Nm more than the 4.0-litre M3) from its 5.0-litre V8.

Weighing in at a hefty 1690kg and driving through an eight-speed automatic paddle-shift transmission with three-stage VSC stability control, however, the rear-drive four-door four-seater delivers slower claimed 0-100km/h acceleration – two-tenths slower in five seconds. First Japanese deliveries take place in December and the IS-F could arrive here as early as September next year, undercutting the M3 at between $140,000 and $150,000. Lexus’ IS sedan will be joined by a “hard-top convertible” bodystyle derivative, which will surface in about nine months and goes on sale following a range-wide IS facelift in 2009, initially only in 2.5-litre guise.

What’s coming from Lexus:
LS600hL sedan November
GS300/450h facelift January 2008
GS460 facelift February 2008
LX570 redesign March 2008
IS-F sedan variant September 2008
RX SUV redesign January 2009
IS sedan facelift 2009
IS coupe-convertible Late 2009
IS-F coupe-convertible 2010
LF-A coupe 2010
C-Premium small car 2011

Read more:

First look: Lexus slides V8 under IS bonnet

Sydney show: IS-F here in a year

Sydney show: Lexus lets fly with IS-F, LX570

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