The Lexus LF-A concept was first introduced at the 2005 Detroit Auto Show, but as you can see from our exclusive spy video, Toyota is already hard at work track testing production prototypes. Seen here making the rounds at Germany’s Nurburgring test track, this early prototype wears much of the same sheet metal as the show car.
In concept form, the LF-A measured 5 inches shorter in length than a Porsche 911, yet had a wheelbase that was 9 inches longer. It’s low, too, with a roof that comes in an inch and a half lower than the Mercedes-Benz SLR. The exaggerated proportions not only emphasize its performance intent, they serve as yet another iteration of a new styling direction that Lexus calls L-Finesse.
At the unveiling of the concept, Chief Operating Officer of Toyota Motor Sales Jim Press noted the LF-A’s close connection to Toyota’s Formula One program. “Theoretically developed to run in tandem with our efforts in Formula One, the LF-A would probably feature a power and drivetrain system strongly influenced by what’s being used in competition at the time.”
In plain English, that means we should expect a V10 engine, a spec that puts the LF-A in the same league as other notable exotics like the Lamborghini Gallardo and Porsche Carrera GT. Unlike Toyota’s Formula One powerplant, however, the LF-A’s V10 is expected to displace roughly 5 liters and generate around 500 horsepower. Toyota officials also boasted that a top speed of 200 mph was well within the LF-A’s reach.
Although already in prototype stage, the final production version of the LF-A isn’t expected for some time. Most estimates have Lexus unveiling the high-dollar halo car at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, but don’t be surprised to see Lexus pull the wraps off even earlier to gain maximum exposure from its long rumored project. With a price expected to top $100,000, the LF-A is one of the most ambitious cars yet from the Japanese automaker, but if its past projects are any indication the LF-A will be a car that other luxury sports car builders won’t be able to ignore.