My test was quick - just 10 times around a Jersey race track, twice with pro driver Scott Pruett at the wheel. Top speed? 148 MPH.
And just like that, my date with the Lexus LFA was over.
She hasn't called or texted since, and I haven't asked why. Our brief spin was fun, but she hasn't kept me up at night nor inspired songs or poetry. One of those bells that now and then rings, in other words.
It's not a case of "LFA FAIL!" though. I wouldn't kick the LFA out of my garage. But I drove home after the test and pretty much forgot about the LFA in the face of the coming crop of Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porsches and other fun toys of 2011. Maybe if I'd had it for three days or a week, my usual time frame for auto tests, we'd've bonded. Anew car has a lot to accomplish before people get behind it.
It's got to capture your mind and your body, but most of all, your heart.
Of course, I was driving a prototype, as opposed to one of the 500 total production units Lexus initially said it would manufacture. As of this writing, almost a year after its official launch, 90 have been manufactured, 22 delivered to the U.S. The cars are rolling. They're just not rolling as quickly as anyone had hoped, nor has the LFA's image pierced the public consciousness.
It's not for lack of trying. The LFA has its own Facebook and Twitter page. Paris Hilton got one for her birthday in February. NASCAR star Kyle Busch was recently popped for doing 128 MPH in a 45 zone, charged with speeding and reckless driving, in an LFA. One of 'em even made it to South Africa in May. It's wait and see so far, though.
Here are three LFA impressions that stuck with me, some months after my test:
1. It has a righteous roar. The LFA's got a piercing, high-pitched yowl, courtesy of its 4.8-liter V10 plant with 552 horses, so you'll never have to pull over and call your pal to say, "I'm a few blocks away." They'll hear you coming.
2. It works both as a racer and a passenger car. The LFA fit my hands, feet and butt just right when entering and exiting, unlike some supercars where you have to squeeze in like it's 8:40 AM on the #1 subway on a weekday. I could imagine beating the living hell of out of the LFA at Watkins Glen or Lime Rock and picking up a sack of coffee from the corner store if I ever needed it in a hurry. A BIG hurry.
3. It doesn't rock as hard as Ferrari's F-430 Scuderia.
I tested what is now my favorite supercar of all time, the $217,310 F-430 Scuderia, on a Vegas track in January of this year, and I didn't have to ask myself what I thought of it, as I did the LFA. The Scud was a screaming yes, literally and figuratively. And I haven't (yet) tested the $1.3 million Buggati Veyron.
The LFA is also shining its light on other Lexi across the board. When you're loyal to a brand, you take pride in all its models, which is why Porsche enthusiasts - unnecessarily, as it turned out - got their camshafts in a twist when Porsche started making the Cayenne in 2o02.
Maybe it needs to accidentally Tweet a pic of itself in its underwear.
Email: Team - at - JoshMax.com