Lexus LFA - A Different Breed

 The Lexus LFA, which begins production this month, heralds a new chapter for the Japanese auto maker, writes Ben Oliver

 You’re somewhere near the top of fourth gear and doing 200, maybe 210kph with the rev counter just starting to flash red for the next upchange when you decide to brake for the corner. The carbon-ceramic brakes kill the speed so viciously you’re left hanging in your racing harness and can hear the huge front Bridgestones squealing in protest. No time for pity; you pull twice at the left shift-paddle. The six-speed, F1-style sequential gearbox drops back to second with a quick, sharp jolt, and the revs of the vast V10 engine slung out in front of you flick up instantly to meet the new cog. You slice into the corner with immediacy, composure and accuracy, and you’re hard on the gas again, enjoying the deep, deafening metallic howl being piped straight back into the cabin...

This is not your father-in-law’s Lexus. Once, Lexus was all about obsessive- compulsive build-quality and silken refinement. Then it added a reputation for hybrid technology. And Lexus has always been refreshingly resistant to the trend for ruining a road car’s refinement by making it spuriously ‘sporty’. But then along comes the LFA. It is a proper supercar: Lexus’ first. It has a bespoke 4.8-litre v10 engine making 560bhp. Its carbon-fibre monocoque chassis means the LFA will hit 100kph in 3.7sec and has a v-max of 330kph, figures on a par with super- exotic supercar rivals like the Ferrari 599 and Lamborghini Murcielago.