Lexus LF-A

March 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The Lexus LF-A finally appears to be ready for prime time.

Lexus LF-A on fire at Nurburgring

December 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Two Lexus LF-As were entered into the 2009 Nurburgring 24-hour race. One was good for cooking marshmallows, the other finished 14th in class

Lotus ready to make new Esprit

November 12th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Lotus Esprit fq

Lotus is currently in the best financial position it’s experienced for years, with its debts about to be cleared and production at full capacity. Focus is now turning to the future and one of the most exciting part will be a new-generation of the Esprit.

According to a recent report, Lotus has finally given the green light to a new Esprit. It’s no secret that Lotus has set its sights on the top level performance marques, with its new CEO Dany Bahar working on restoring the company to a level of competing directly with the world’s greatest supercars.

Bahar is set to announce a new seven-year plan for the company later this year but insider leaks have already divulged some of its key elements.

Apparently the new Esprit may not carry the original name and that it’s being designed as a halo model for the brand.

Lotus’ previous CEO Mike Kimberley had revealed that new Esprit is being developed together with “a very well respected prestige automaker.” Most people thought that BMW would supply one of its V8 engines for the new Esprit but Lotus’ close workings with Toyota, could see advanced Lexus engines used instead.

The 552 horsepower V10 engine, which is set to debut in the 2011 Lexus LFA supercar next year, would probably be reserved for a range-topping Esprit, but a mid-spec model could get the IS-F’s 420 horsepower V8 and an entry-level model could use a 300 horsepower version of the 3.5-litre Toyota-sourced V-6 from the Evora.

To keep costs down it’s likely the new Esprit will likely share its chassis with the bonded and extruded aluminum unit developed for the Evora. Rising development costs and changing requirements, however, have reportedly pushed back the original 2010 release date to 2012. The extra time should allow for both coupe and convertible models, Lotus had originally planned to launch a hard-top only.

More Toyobaru coupe rumours come to light

June 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Toyobaru render fq

A “Toyota insider” has apparently spilled a few more beans to motoring website 7Tune about its upcoming front-engine, rear-wheel drive coupe the automaker is working on with Subaru, and according to the source, the 2+2 will carry a few of the Lexus LF-A’s design cues when it goes on sale next year.

Although Lexus’ latest styling language known as ‘L-Finesse’ has remained exclusive to Toyota’s luxury brand, certain elements have begun to filter down to the automaker’s mainstream models. The rendering pictured hints at some of the lines that could make the cut on the production version of the new model, but apparently the Toyota and Subaru versions won’t be remarkably different — only the front grille, headlamps and taillights will be unique.

The report goes on to say that Toyota is desperately trying to keep the price below the two million yen mark ($32,500 NZ) and Subaru is actively considering offering an STI version of the coupe.

So what caused this change in direction at Toyota? It could be the company’s new president Akio Toyoda who recently piloted the LF-A during the 24 Hours of Nürburgring he told a car magazine recently, “This sports culture, which we have neglected for so long, will again be maintained.”

Toyoda clearly wants to see the automaker back on the radar of enthusiasts and the first example of this new focus could be revealed at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show.

550hp Lexus LF-A coming later this year

May 29th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Lexus LF-A racer fq

There have been recent reports about the demise of the LF-A but apparently Lexus’ long-awaited supercar is due to be revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show this October.

Toyota insiders reported that the LF-A’s delay was due to a series of engineering modifications to boost the supercar’s top speed. Initially, the LF-A topped out at 320 kph, too slow considering the supercar’s competition, so after some tweaking with the engine and bodywork, the upgraded coupe is expected to hit 350 kph or beyond.

In addition to the revised top speed, the R&D team’s exterior mods will be obvious when the wraps come off in Tokyo, with a new fascia, headlight design and revised back end. Underneath the long bonnet lies a revised version of Lexus’ new V10, with a 4.8-liter displacement it will send all 550 hp through a six-speed semi-automatic gearbox.

Production of the LF-A will be restricted to 500 vehicles, and that will supposedly include an even higher performance version equipped with wider body panels, track-spec suspension and aerodynamic components taken from the Nurburgring racer (pictured).

Pricing is still rumored to be somewhere in the $200,000 USD range, and if the LF-A is revealed in Tokyo it may be on sale as early as 2010.

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