First Look: Lexus LF-A Supercar - 6 Laps in the Lexus Maximus

Peter Burns

But despite the restrictions, it was impossible to not be impressed. For a start, the LF-A is seriously quick. Lexus claims that the 4805-cc direct-injection, quad-cam, 40-valve V-10 delivers "over 500 hp" and that the car weighs "under 1500 kilos [3300 pounds]." With ears still numb and eyes still glowing, we were inclined to upgrade this to 550 hp and 3000 pounds. Hard acceleration is certainly a time-warp experience, and although you run out of road long before sixth gear needs to be summoned, an indicated 150 mph comes up twice without even trying. Thanks to the massive midrange momentum provided by nearly 400 lb-ft of torque, it's almost always possible to select a taller ratio, which is a big help when you're dancing along the limits of adhesion. The sticky tires and the ultraquick rack-and-pinion steering establish an amazing mix of cornering grip and turn-in vigor. The beautifully responsive throttle helps to modulate the line by dialing in traces of understeer and hints of oversteer in random succession. Although six laps at Goodwood is definitely not long enough to fathom the true potential of the LF-A's chassis, brakes, and steering, it didn't take more than that to relish the car's superb balance. We're talking benign breakaway, magnetic roadholding, and, of course, the raw sensation of very high speed.

We're looking forward to the street version, which will be unveiled in October at the Tokyo Motor Show. Orders for the 500 production cars (100 of which are earmarked for America) will start soon thereafter, but deliveries aren't expected until fall 2010. The price is likely to be in the neighborhood of $250,000 apiece. Lexus could later add a droptop, and there may even be a hybrid variant. We're hoping that the LF-A will pave the way for a new crop of much more affordable Toyota sports cars, such as MR2 and Celica replacements. But there almost certainly will not be another racing version, which is a very good reason to treasure this day at the track.

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