Posted by Joseph DeMatio, Automobile Magazine
Lexus ushered journalists into a vast, dimly lit ballroom at Cobo, where I could barely see the floor in front of my chair, let alone the notebook in front of my face, to introduce the second iteration of the LF-A concept car that first appeared here two years ago.
This car is a lot closer to production, and Lexus confirmed that it will be powered by a high-revving V-10 engine making at least 500 horsepower. If that sounds familiar, it' because just yesterday, Acura unveiled its Advanced Sports Car Concept, which also points the way toward a new, $100,000-plus sports car with a V-10 engine.
The LF-A looks mean and very Japanese, with the long hood and short rear deck that you expect in a front-engine exotic. To be precise, Lexus calls this a front/mid-engine car, meaning the V-10 will be positioned behind the centerline of the front axle for ideal weight distribution, just like the V-12 in the Ferrari 599GTB. Two of the more interesting design fillips are the shark-fin air scoops molded into the top of the doors and the rear quarter-panel and the sculpted exterior mirrors. The nineteen-inch BBS wheels, covering big Brembo brakes, are hot, hot, hot.
A V-8, high-performance version of the existing Lexus IS sedan also rolled out onto the stage. Badged the IS-F, it will go on sale a year from now, just in time to battle the next-generation BMW M3, which also gets a V-8. The "F" designation is a nod toward the internal code name used within Toyota back in the 1980s to refer to the original Lexus LS400: F1, for "flagship 1." Lexus has now appropriated this consonant as its own version of BMW's "M." Officials made it clear that a production version of the LF-A supercar will be the second Lexus vehicle to use the "F" designation.
So, a big "F" you from Lexus here in Detroit. Wasn't there some other letter they could have used?