2009 Lexus LF-A

2009 Lexus LF-A

The first hints that Lexus might sell an exotic sports car came exactly two years ago here at Detroit with the unveiling of the first LF-A concept. That car's primary goal was to introduce the "L-finesse" design direction to the world, but public excitement pushed the brand to take their toy to the track. But now, just as Nissan did with the GT-R and as Mitsubishi is also doing here with the Prototype X, Lexus is showing a second concept of the same car. Is it just another tease? "The first LF-A was pure concept, but one that we went so far as to conduct engineering analysis on," says Lexus general manager Bob Carter. "This latest concept is much closer to a vehicle that we would bring to market, and one in which we will be gauging consumer interest." In other words yes, it is still a tease. And because it might see production, this swoopier LF-A might be an even bigger tease. Thanks a lot, Lexus.

Like the original concept, this LF-A is powered by front mid-mounted V-10 spinning out over 500 horsepower that, along with revised aerodynamics, "makes a top speed of 200 mph not only possible, but probable." A rear-mounted transaxle and rear-mounted radiators improve weight distribution.

While the triple, center-mounted exhaust outlets are beyond cool, the overall styling of the LF-A is too clean and sterile in a purely Lexus manner (although the greenhouse is pure Nissan 350Z.) While the idea of a supercar created by the most conservative brand in the world excites us somewhere inside, we're mostly afraid. Can Lexus head right into the most insanely powerful, wildly expensive segment of the market and still make a car that leaves us saying, "meh?"

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