Based on Lexus' LF-A Coupe Concept of 2005, a previous Detroit Show tenant, the Convertible version is awaiting production in the wings with the coupe variant last year having been given the go-ahead for both V10 and hybrid models.
An "F" logo on each of its front fenders, indicating belonging to Lexus' exclusive "F" brand, and its aerodynamic form set off in a fiery red paintjob, there's little to stop this little number stealing the show this week. After all, that's what its 200 mph lightweight predecessor, the LF-A Coupe Concept, did at Detroit last time around.
Unsurprisingly named 'LF-A Roadster', this concept's as capable as the last. Lopping off the roof has failed to lessen the rigidity and structure strength of the coupe on which the new model is based, with much of the body consisting of lightweight but durable carbon-fiber and aluminium panels. And in conjunction with the same high-revving V10 engine used in its coupe counterpart, performance is naturally in another league. With a 5.0-litre displacement and generating in excess of 500 galloping horses, test-track speeds of more than 200 mph are achievable - thanks partly to a tuned weight distribution placing the engine behind the front axle but forward of the passenger compartment. The engineers are calling it a 'front-mid' configuration. We'll simply call it clever.
Styling comes from that of the coupe concept LF-A, fortunately requiring few aesthetic modifications. A stern member of the L-Finesse design philosophy, the LF-A Roadster has a compact, low-profile front end that tailors to a similarly near-identical rear encompassing rear vents, a sharp tailgate and now more elongated rear lamps. New at the rear is a rear wing that raises at speed for required greater downforce, while cool air feeds the radiators via two large air intakes, which are carried over from its forerunner. Standing only 48 inches tall much like the coupe, a low-profile stance is visually aided by twenty-inch alloy wheels.
With the coupe concept having been given the green light for production in both V10 and hybrid guise only last year, expect crowd reactions and those of press to be a key deciding factor in the approval of any future Roadster model.