Lexus isn’t known for making cheap cars, but there was one notably decadent model that made its mark on the world: the LFA. At $375,000 upon its release, the limited run supercar — which boasted 552 horsepower from a high-revving F1-derived V10 engine — has by far been the most expensive model ever produced by Toyota’s luxury arm. It took ten years to develop, and was intended to be a $120,000 super coupe before the budget got decidedly out of hand.
It did so well that Lexus is reportedly planning a successor to the 500-unit run of the LFA. “[President Akio Toyoda] believes that every generation deserves to have a car like an LFA, so we’re building an LFA for the generation we have today,” Mark Templin, Lexus’ Executive Vice President, told Bloomberg. “At some point, there may be another special car for another generation,” he added, though he didn’t provide any specifics.
But don’t hold your breath just yet. A Lexus spokesperson said that a second LFA isn’t imminent, and another generation could be about 30 years in the future. But Lexus, which was once renowned for its comfy, spacious, and relatively sensible luxury cars, has been showing signs of strength in the realm of performance: the RC F is expected later this year, a 450 horsepower coupe that will challenge the legendary BMW M4 on a seemingly level playing field.
In 2012, Lexus unveiled the LF-LC Coupe, a visceral tour de force that garnered high praise from critics and observers alike. Tentatively slated for 2017, the LF-LC drew inspiration from the LFA, and hinted at what a future successor could look like; the RC F also has stunning likeness to the ambitious concept.
“We got more response from that press conference than any car I’ve ever shown in my life,” Templin said of the LF-LC’s unveiling, as per Bloomberg. “I was blown away by the response people had for that car.”
Lexus’ first turbocharged engine recently made its debut in the NX compact crossover. While that’s not exactly a venue where one will find big performance, it signals Lexus’ willingness to embrace turbocharging technologies that could play a larger role in its high octane ambitions later on.
Toyota essentially dropped out of the performance race altogether when it let its beloved Supra model expire after the 2002 model year. The LFA was sort of a “See? we can do it too” statement aimed at Porsche, Aston Martin, and even Ferrari and Lamborghini. The LFA was well received, and can be credited with helping usher a new image for Lexus — one that spawned the RC F coupe, and hopefully more to come.