With supercar good-looks, the V10 LF-A has methodically marched from concept, to prototype, to imminent-super-secret production model, to endangered species list. The main hurdle seems to be the $225,000 cost which Toyota views as prohibitively expensive and unprofitable. Which is a cop-out of course. Regardless of the economy, there seems to always be an inexhaustible flow of wealthy buyers IF you have something worthy of their attention. The real question is whether Lexus is ready to produce a supercar.
Though Toyota maintains that the LF-A will remain only a development platform they are certainly parading it around like the next big thing, including a sighting by myself at the U.S. Open a couple of weeks ago. The “F” logo, located on each front fender of the Roadster, indicates the vehicle’s status as a part of the “F” special vehicle program within Lexus that falls outside the normal engineering and development process.
Compared to the coupe concept that was introduced last year, the LF-A Roadster features a number of design differences including reshaped headlights, a new front fascia, modified side skirts and air intakes, and a somewhat reshaped trunk. The LF-A Roadster is still based on the same lightweight carbon-fiber and aluminum body used for the LF-A coupe, which maintains strength and rigidity even in topless form. Like its coupe sibling, the LF-A Roadster is also powered by a high-revving 5 liter V10 engine capable of more than 500 horsepower and speeds greater than 200 mph. It is mounted in front of the passenger compartment but behind the front-axle centerline in what engineers refer to as a front-mid configuration controlled by paddle shifters. The LF-A Roadster stands just 48 inches tall, but the Roadster configuration adds a speed adaptive rear wing. The rear is also marked by a pair of wrap-around, arrowhead-shaped taillights that bracket a pair of large grilles. These grilles vent the heated air from the car’s two rear-mounted radiators into the LF-A Roadster’s aerodynamic wake. The radiators are fed cool air by two large intake ducts mounted just above the rear wheel wells.
While there’s still no definitive sign of a production version of a Lexus LF-A supercar, admirers can only hope that Lexus sees the need to having a high performance, limited production supercar in the company stable.