January 15, 2008 In more news from the 2008 NAIAS, Lexus has taken the wraps off a roadster-version of its LF-A sports car concept. The open-top supercar uses a "front-mid" configuration of the high-revving, 500 hp V10 engine from company's LF-A coupe, first unveiled in Detroit back in 2005, and the body is also based on the Coupe's carbon-fiber and aluminum structure with the addition of a speed adaptive rear wing.
With the V10 engine displacing just under 5.0 litres the 500 hp V10 has reached speed above 200 mph on the test track and in the roadster it sits in front of the passenger compartment but behind the front-axle centerline. The engine is connected via a torque tube and propeller shaft to a transaxle that is controlled by paddle shifters. The torque tube is a structural member that adds rigidity to the drivetrain and chassis while also reducing vibration.
Apart from the lack of a roof, subtle design differences are apparent between the new roadster and its Coupe stablemate, particularly on the front-end where the left and right air intakes have been widened and rounded with the headlight configuration given a smoother, flowing accent. The LF-A Roadster matches the aerodynamic stature of the Coupe at just 48 inches tall and from the rear, the triple exhaust layout has been retained along with the grilles that vent the heated air from the car's two rear-mounted radiators, though the later are now highlighted by a pair of wrap-around, arrowhead-shaped taillights. The aft radiator positioning allowed the designers to keep the car's front profile low and tight as well as assisting chassis engineers in their search for optimal weight distribution.
Turbine-styled alloy wheels are wrapped in low-profile, high-performance tyres (265/35R20s on the front and 305/30R20s on the rear) with brakes consisting of 14.2-inch cross-drilled, vented discs up front and 13.6-inch cross-drilled, vented discs at the rear. The front brake callipers are six-piston units and the rear callipers use four pistons each.
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