This may be the closest you ever get to the Lexus LFA. And that's the way Lexus wants it.
Its new sports car is headed only to the garages of those who apply and are approved for ownership. The people's car this is not.
But to build anticipation for a car you probably won't be able to buy, Lexus is taking the $400,000 car on a tour of South Florida this week, with a stop yesterday at YOLO in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
No doubt the car is something to behold. This canary-yellow version was parked in the
valet circle in front of the bar, with its retractable spoiler propped up. They say fast cars look fast standing still, and this car looks like it's doing laps. Triangles and sharp angles jut everywhere. But it does have a resemblance Lexus probably wouldn't appreciate -- like a big brother of the last-generation Toyota Celica.
Peter Donnellan is the LFA's driver for its South Florida tour. Donnellan, customer services operations manager for Lexus' Southern area office, had to go through a weeklong training program of track and street driving before Lexus would put him behind the carbon-fiber wheel.
The 500-plus car is fast -- zero to 60 in about 3.6 seconds -- but Donnellan says the goal was to build a fast car that's comfortable. "We didn't want it to be the fastest, because anybody can do that," he said. "But we wanted it to be the total package."
That total package will cost you $375,000. But if you're going to shell out that kind of money and go through the Lexus application process for ownership, you might as well add the Nuremburg race package, which drives the price to $425,000.
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Lexus will sell only 500 of the cars, and then the molds will be destroyed. Six of them have already been ordered by South Florida customers. As part of the purchase agreement, owners must agree to own the car for two years.
Sure, the exclusive (elitist?) sales plan may turn away some drivers. But Donnellan says Lexus wants to sell the cars only to people who will drive them. Unfortunately, we probably won't be among them.