Since 2003, Lexus has been displaying a series of concept cars at auto shows under the LF moniker. This LF series (short for L-Finesse) incorporates a new design initiative that is built on "intriguing elegance, incisive simplicity and seamless anticipation." Of the seven LF concept vehicles that have been unveiled over the past few years (3 coupes, 2 sedans and 2 SUVs), it appears the Lexus LF-A will be the first to actually see mass production. And among the models purportedly in the mix for the new vehicle, is an LF-A hybrid that will bring 40 mpg to the supercar market.
Lexus LF-A Hybrid: Under the Hood
While standard engine models of the Lexus LF-A are slated to have a hefty V10 engine, the LF-A hybrid reportedly will carry a 5.0-liter V8 that is combined with an electric motor. Lexus aficionados will note that this engine combination is the same one that is presently found in the Lexus LS 600h. With this capable power plant, the LF-A hybrid is expected to rev out approximately 435 horsepower. Additionally, the upcoming supercar is estimated to have a top speed of more than 200 MPH, with a 0-to-60 MPH clock speed of less than 4 seconds. At an expected price tag of approximately $225,000, the vehicle will compete with other high-priced supercars, including the Ferrari F430 and the Lamborghini Gallardo.
Lexus LF-A Hybrid: Design
Lexus claims the LF-A design is race-inspired. And, indeed, the vehicle is partly borne from Toyota's experience on the Formula One circuit. Rounded edges and sculpted lines give the vehicle the sleekness of a top-of-the-line exotic sports car. The vehicle first debuted at the 2005 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), however a more polished version would debut at the same show two years later. Little has been released about the 2-passenger interior layout of the vehicle, although Lexus claims the cockpit is "minimalist and futuristic."
Lexus LF-A Hybrid: Release Date
The release date of the Lexus LF-A is sketchy, and the introduction of the hybrid model is even sketchier. Originally, the LF-A was scheduled for released in 2009, but an eroding auto market has forced Lexus to rethink this timeline.
Lexus entered an LF-A model into two Nurburgring races in May of 2008. Such a move would indicate that a production model was drawing close. However, despite performing quite well in the races, news outlets have reported that the LF-A failed to meet performance targets. If such is the case, this may be another reason that a release date has yet to be announced.
Also, keep in mind that the model spotted at Nurburgring was not a hybrid version of the LF-A. Many experts speculate that even when the Lexus LF-A is released, a hybrid model may not initially be available. Given that Lexus has claimed a hybrid model will produce 435-hp and 40 mpg, it is not difficult to hypothesize that they have run into to some engineering road blocks. Whatever the case, it looks like we'll have to wait a few more years before a production LF-A hits the streets.