Lexus LF-A Mule

Published Monday, June 29th 2009
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Passion is born of allure, allure of mystery. Toyota is proving to be masterful at allure, having teased performance car lovers since 2005 with the somewhat elusive Lexus LF-A Mule. It was in Detroit at the 2005 North American International Auto Show that this "supercar" with a 5-liter V10 putting out 500 hp was first shown to the public. With rumors swirling around that the company might even be developing a hybrid-electric powertrain for the vehicle, more than a few ears perked up in interest. What they subsequently heard, however, was the sound of crickets chirping in the night.

More news about the LF-A had to wait for Detroit in 2007 when the car was shown again with a new exterior treatment. Where once there had been an overly large rear wing, a smaller unit had taken its place to compliment the square cooling vents and the triple exhausts centered and arranged in a triangle. The effect was to make the LF-A more aerodynamic with a look that was sleek, expensive, and fast. But could the car really perform? The company continued to maintain it was showing nothing but a concept.

The concept, however, is getting closer to reality as the LF-A rule has set a record -- albeit a disputed one -- at Germanyís Nurburgring. If the numbers are to be believed, the Lexus knocked off 7 minutes 24 seconds, which puts it one second faster than the Porsche GT2. We are looking at a potential speed demon here, but one that still remains rather on the elusive side of reality when it comes to hard data.

We do know that the LF-A has been outfitted with a 4.8-liter V10, apparently built in partnership with Yamaha and revving at 9,000 rpm. It puts out 552 bhp and is expected to reach a top speed of 210 mph. (The insurance quotes are going to be murder, but for that much power itíll be worth it.) In theory you can have it all for an estimated sticker price above $100,000. Thereís been no more talk of this baby going hybrid, but given the C-pillar and intake ducts integrated into the rocker panels, there is room for a battery pack in back.

The main thing now is to actually get the Lexus LF-A mule in the hands of drivers where it belongs. This dance has been going on for three years now. Trying to get insurance quotes may prove even more difficult. Things are looking good for the LF-A to finally go on sale as a 2009 model. Letís keep our fingers crossed that this time Toyota actually means it and isnít just teasing high performance lovers with another set of alluring rumors.


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