Quick roadster money can’t buy
The red Lexus is a show car only, writes PAUL GOVER
THE glamour puss of this year’s Melbourne Motor Show is an enigma. The Lexus LF-A roadster could be the car of the future, or a car with no future. The LF supercar program has been running for almost three years and is a headliner for the Toyota group, but has yet to produce a production car.
There have been coupe and convertible show cars, and a hardtop LF-A painted in flatblack camouflage competed at the Nurburgring 24-Hour race in Germany last year, but there is still nothing definite for showrooms.
But that has not stopped Lexus Australia from landing the signal-red LF-A roadster as its show star for Melbourne.
‘‘This car shows us what we are capable of doing as a brand,’’ Lexus Australia head John Roca says. ‘‘It shows we are not boxed into a vanilla future that has only hybrid cars as a point of difference. It shows we can be, and will be, a lot more diverse than we are today.’’
The LF-A roadster’s lightweight body uses a combination of aluminium and carbon fibre, and the car rolls on 20-inch alloy wheels.
It has a 5.0-litre V10 engine, tucked just ahead of the two passenger seats but well behind the front axle-line. It is rear-wheel drive.
Lexus has given few details of the convertible roof, except that the basic body is as rigid as the coupe. And that it will have the same 320km/h top speed.
People at the show won’t be able to buy the roadster, or even put down a deposit, but Roca believes the LF-A project will produce a genuine production car some time next year.
‘‘I think the car has a future. We’re getting closer to ‘when’, ahead of ‘if’, but we still don’t know when that time will be,’’ he says.
‘‘But the show car is real. It has a V10 engine that makes all the right noises. The stats we’re getting show the car will hit 300km/h, and that was one of the targets.’’
Roca says the global economic downturn will not affect plans for the LF-A, despite its potential impact on high-priced luxury cars.
Other new stuff will be on the Lexus stand in Melbourne. The latest RX will make its first appearance in Australia, and the luxury SUV will be displayed as a regular petrol model and a hybrid.