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Lexus goes bonkers for SEMA 2010

Sat, 30 Oct 2010

Lexus SEMA 2010

I think we’re going to stop trying to work out what Lexus is all about. Just when we think we have them pegged down as green halo, fluffy-bunny-loving corporate eco-mentalists with a misguided view of the future of the car, they go and produce the LFA.

We put the LFA’s existence down to its long gestation period; there is no way Lexus would embark on such a project today. Much more likely that they would design something for those who want a Prius but would rather not drive a lowly Toyota. Oh, wait. That’s exactly what they’ve done with the CT 200h.

But lurking deep in the bowels of Lexus Towers there’s a petrolhead engineer who believes that there is a car soul in Lexus, hidden deep beneath the eco-corporate veneer and the historical antipathy by Japan to the car as anything more than a product.

We haven’t driven the LFA yet, but those we know who have feel it comes as close as a Lexus ever has to having that intangible something that brings a special car to life. Something you feel in a Ferrari or an Aston or – once again – a Jaguar. Something that’s missing in Japanese cars.

After the LFA we thought all Lexus fripperies would be consigned to the bin of ‘Bad History’. Yes, there will be F Sport packs to make your eco-box look like it might be interesting to drive. But that would be the limit of the Lexus madness. Not a bit of it. There are half a dozen Lexus hybrids (a ‘Piousness’ of hybrids, perhaps?) off to the SEMA show with a variety of cosmetic madness attached. They are:

Sadly, although Lexus seems happy to join in the American love of pimping, they seem loathe to do the subtle bit; the big performance under an understated exterior – something a Lexus could have been born to do. All that beautiful detail and build quality with just a hint of the potential menace lurking beneath. A Japanese Jaguar, for want of a better simile.

What we really want from Lexus is choice. What about the new CT 200 with that nice V8 from the IS-F squeezed in? That would make the BMW 1-Series M Coupe take some notice. Or the stunning V10 from the LFA in the GS-F, which we though was coming, but hasn’t. That would make the E63 and the RS6 and the M5 look on with a degree of trepidation.

If Lexus can play silly buggers cosmetically why, oh why, can’t they play the same game with the oily stuff, even if it’s just for a halo model in each model range?

It would do wonders for their image.

By Cars UK