Second, the carbon fiber-reinforced chassis tub is incredibly rigid. You can feel this lightness and strength in the car's willingness to change direction with minimal roll and no flex. As with the engine, there is very little inertia, combined (on a dry road, at least) with masses of lateral grip. The LFA also rides relatively well for such a serious machine – firmly but not busily, and that's without trick adjustable dampers.
There may be other supercars with more power, or more driven wheels, but down a road (or track) with more corners than straights I'd be very surprised if the LFA couldn't keep up, or go significantly quicker, such is its composure and control.
The brakes, which are carbon-ceramic and 390mm in diameter at the front, are monumentally strong and precise. Whether on track, where the LFA stops with more reassurance than any road car I've tried, or on the road, where the brakes perform better at low temperatures than comparable systems, the anchors are very well sorted.
So it goes quickly enough, goes around corners nearly as quickly and stops exceptionally well. It also sounds the part. But is the LFA emotive enough to qualify as a supercar? Does it feel like a Lexus? And is such a combination sufficiently appealing to justify the serious price?
Slightly harsh gearbox aside, the LFA is impressively competent – clinical, even – but anything but detached. From the way the engine responds to the throttle to its chassis balance, the LFA has a level of sharpness and seriousness that definitely endorses its supercar credentials.
And yet there are elements that could only be a Lexus – such as the attention to detail and the build quality, which is absolutely first rate. Open the doors, hood or trunk and you'll find exposed carbon fiber, but it's so beautifully finished that you can't help but stare.
Similarly, the interior is incredibly well constructed, with a mixture of leather, carbon fiber, aluminum and a high-tech TFT screen rev counter. And the pedals are simply exquisite; each one is a single piece of forged aluminum. You also get a 12-speaker stereo, but one that is lighter and smaller than Lexus's regular system.
What you probably won't get from the pictures is just how contoured the cabin is, or how, as the driver, you feel alongside the tall transmission tunnel and in a low seating position. It may not be that subtle, but I like the fact that Lexus has not simply followed the standard supercar template, and instead tried something a bit different.
It's unmistakably Japanese but also has a real sense of occasion. And the same goes for the exterior; I'm not saying it looks pretty, or stylish, but it is certainly captivating. Unusually for a sports car, I think the shape works better statically, when you can pore over all the little details. One of which is the huge rear wing, which I'm sure is effective at reducing lift and very impressive in its hydraulic operation (complete with sci-fi whirring and hissing noises), but it is a touch obvious.
So in its construction and thoroughness the LFA has the hallmarks of Lexus, but in its concept and focus it feels nothing like what Lexus/Toyota has produced before. Lexus says the LFA's role is as a halo model for its F range of cars (we've only seen the IS-F so far, but more are in the pipeline), but the truth is that the LFA is massively more serious than any series production car. Not only in its performance, but also its purity. It is the product of a small and talented team of engineers, and it shows.
Is it worth the money? For performance the answer has to be no; other supercars offer more power, more straight-line speed and (subjectively) more brand lure for less.
What is clear, though, is that the LFA is packed with technology that has been developed to an incredibly high standard, presumably at astronomical cost. For example, Toyota invested in its own carbon fiber manufacturing facilities to ensure its quality standards. Only 500 LFAs will ever be produced, a sure sign that even at the price Lexus is asking it will be losing money on each one.
But technology and exclusivity aren't the LFA's only draws. It genuinely offers something different from other supercars – not necessarily better, but different. Its combination of refinement and rawness sounds like it shouldn't work, but it actually does. It is better appointed and less flamboyant than anything Italian, but just as poised and alert. It is perhaps what Mercedes and McLaren tried (but failed) to achieve with the SLR.
So for the privileged few, those who have tried (and probably own) the usual supercars, the LFA is much more than something else to park in their garage. It is a credible and exciting supercar in its own right. The rest of us should just be thankful that there are still manufacturers out there making (and reinventing) supercars, especially when the results are this good.