Lexus - LF-A
Ever since the first concept was shown four years ago, lovers of performance cars have been waiting for Lexus to officially announce production of the LFA. One of the reasons for that is its gorgeous looks: styled according to Lexus' modern Japanese L-finesse design philosophy, it's a sleek supercar with all the on-road presence you'd expect of a car of its type.
The LFA's driving controls ensure that the driver feels at one with the car and it's actually an easy, effortless car to drive quickly. That's not to take away from how exciting it is though, the wonderfully balanced chassis making directional changes instantaneous and allowing the LFA to carry huge speed through a sequence of corners. There's a significant amount of feedback from the steering, too, which will appeal to serious drivers.
The Lexus badge on the bonnet may raise expectations that the LFA will be as good at regular road driving as it is on the track. That's not the case, however, as the chassis and dynamics are very much focused on the needs of the keener driver. It's not uncomfortable by any means, but the lack of any adaptive damping means that the ride quality is firm all of the time, while the gearing results in an unwelcome drone from the engine at the motorway speed limit.
Lexus has an unparalleled reputation for reliability and quality, so we expect that the LFA will follow suit, especially given its price tag. The pre-production test cars did suffer from teething problems with their electro-hydraulically operated clutches, although we wouldn't expect Lexus to allow the car into owners' hands until that is issue is rectified. Perceived quality is also very high, with aesthetically attractive and highly tactile interior surfaces, and well-weighted switchgear.
The first time you floor the LFA, extending the V10 to the redline before flicking up to the next gear (and the next, and the next) you'll want to do it again. The linear, yet savage, power delivery is intoxicating and the ferocity with which the transmission can slam in the gearchanges is literally breathtaking. The LFA is wasted on the public road though, as its abilities make normal road speeds feel positively tardy.
It's a supercar, so there's not exactly a lot of space in the LFA. The cabin features two seats - of which there are a number of options to choose from - and not a lot of space for much else. The seats in the car we drove were fabulous, though, with their distinctive electric operation. And luggage space in minimal: then again, if you're rich enough to own an LFA, you can afford to take a trip and buy whatever you need when you get to your destination.
Insurance won't come cheap - although it'll most likely be owned by car collectors who have all-encompassing policies. And all that performance doesn't come for free, either: Lexus hasn't yet released official fuel consumption figures, but we averaged around 14mpg in a few hours of mixed road driving.
Prices will be around £336,000 when it goes on sale in the UK (to order), so the LFA is ridiculously expensive hypercar money. However, given that only 500 LFAs will be made, it's highly likely that they'll retain their value if you ever need to liquidate some assets quickly.
The LFA is fitted with the Remote Touch infotainment system shared with the rest of the Lexus range, which has the mouse-like controller in the console. There are also a number of audio systems available, based around the usual Lexus Mark Levinson-supplied units, so there shouldn't be any worries about sound quality, if you ever tire of the roar of that V10.