Back in the early 2010s, Lexus produced an epic halo sports car called the LFA . It was expensive for a Lexus, with a starting price more in line with a Ferrari. The brand only built 500 of them in total. Packing a naturally-aspirated 4.8-liter V10, the LFA is widely regarded as one of the best-sounding road cars ever built. These days, prime used examples can fetch more than $1 million in today's market.
Well, it just so happens that — after years of rumors hinting at its return — the LFA is getting a revival, albeit in a slightly unexpected form: as an electric car. During Toyota's EV plans presentation, Lexus noted they are building a new battery-electric sports car with the "driving taste" and "secret sauce" of the LFA. No word yet about the noise, but hey, they're doing great things with speakers these days.
Here's what we know about the future Lexus electric supercar so far.
A production electric version of the LFA could take a while. Lexus won't debut its first EV, the RZ, until the middle of 2022. There have been rumors from Japan about Lexus launching a new LFA in 2025...but those same rumors have that LFA packing twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 with a plug-in hybrid. Some estimates have suggested the final version may not hit the streets until 2030.
That said, we may get a better peek at what the new LFA will look like than the early concept seen here much earlier than that. A report from British publication Autocar claims that Lexus will show a version that's closer to production at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed in June.
Lexus noted that the new electric supercar will have a low two-second 0-60 mph time. They also said that the target range is 435 miles — although to be fair, that number may be less when using the tougher EPA standards rather than those used in Japan.
Lexus has said the new sports car may use solid-state battery technology. Toyota is reportedly working on those solid-state batteries, which would be safer, more durable and more energy-dense than current EV batteries.
The major benefits of solid state batteries? You can get more range out of the same size battery pack. So manufacturers could either add range to current EVs or keep the same range but reduce vehicle weight considerably. The other key benefit is charging. A solid-state battery would be able to charge much more quickly than a conventional battery.
If such technology is expensive to start, a halo car like the new electric LFA could be a sensible place to implement it first. That said, Toyota also could go another way; while the brand has pledged to get their first solid-state battery on the road by 2025, reports suggest that's likely to be in a hybrid, rather than a pure electric car.
Lexus president Koji Sato told Top Gear that Lexus was experimenting with putting a simulated manual transmission in the new LFA to stimulate driver engagement.
"It's a hobby of mine, a crazy thing, Sato told Top Gear. "I'm looking for better engagement, even in an EV, I want another link from the car to the driver. It's not just about efficiency. I love cars and want something different."
Lexus developing an EV manual transmission would explain why Toyota has eight patents related to one.
It's compact, it's boxy, and it looks a lot like the FJ Cruiser.