Lexus takes aim at the supercar market with its LFA sports car, which should offer competition for models like the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, Lamborghini Murcielago and Aston Martin DBS. A limited run of 500 copies of the 552-horsepower LFA will be built beginning in December 2010 over the course of two years, and it will be priced at approximately $350,000.
The wedgelike shape of the LFA hasn't changed all that much since the car was first shown in concept form a few years ago. Its design actually calls to mind one of Toyota's fabled sports cars of the past — the Supra — but with more angular styling.
The LFA features dramatic rear-end styling that's defined by thin taillights set atop large grates extending down to the bumper. A unique tailpipe arrangement — three exhaust tips set in the middle of the car below the bumper — further distinguish the LFA. A powered rear wing deploys when the car reaches 50 mph, and the LFA also has a rear diffuser for enhanced handling performance.
Twenty-inch forged aluminum wheels are standard, and they're fitted with ultra-low-profile tires.
There are hints of current Lexus models in the LFA's two-seat cabin, as its dash vents are similar to those in the brand's RX luxury crossover, and it features Lexus' Remote Touch joystick-like interface for operating the navigation and entertainment systems. That said, the overall design of the interior is distinct, with the driver's seat serving as the focal point.
The driver faces a large circular digital instrument panel that incorporates a circular tachometer, digital speedometer, gear counter and additional car information. The tachometer fades to red when engine speed passes 9,000 rpm, alerting the driver that it's time to shift. The heated leather bucket seats feature power adjustment.
Under the Hood
The rear-wheel-drive LFA's 4.8-liter V-10 engine makes 552 hp at 8,700 rpm and 354 pounds-feet of torque at 6,800 rpm. The LFA weighs around 3,300 pounds, which is fairly light, and Lexus claims the car can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds on its way to a top speed of 202 mph.
The V-10 teams with a six-speed automated manual transmission that includes paddle shifters on the steering wheel for manual control. The speed at which gear changes occur can be tailored by the driver, and the transmission includes four modes — including an automatic mode — for various driving conditions.
Safety features include an electronic stability system, traction control, antilock brakes, a driver's knee airbag and airbags integrated into the shoulder belts.