Lexus is working on an LFA-inspired electric supercar to be released later this decade, and it will be offered with a manual transmission complete with a third pedal.
The information was confirmed by Takashi Watanabe, chief engineer for Lexus’ electric portfolio, during a recent presentation in Europe.
Watanabe said the manual won’t be an actual manual with a clutch, but a simulated system with software designed to mimic the feel of a manual, complete with engine sounds to mimic rev build-up and droop. Even stalls and rollback on hill starts are accounted for, and there will be selectable profiles with different simulated gear ratios.
“This new project all started with some Lexus engineers thinking about what they like about tradition [internal combustion] vehicles and what they had to do without in electric cars,” said Watanabe.
Lexus Electrified Sport
Earlier this year, a patent filed by parent company Toyota for such a system surfaced. Toyota also built a prototype of the system with an electric Lexus UX crossover. A video of the prototype was briefly shown during the presentation. Oddly enough, the prototype had a mode labeled “V8” which presumably simulates the sound and feel of a manual car with a V-8 engine.
A concept for the Lexus electric supercar was among dozens of concepts Toyota unveiled in late 2021, when the automaker announced plans to launch 30 electric vehicles by 2030, many of which will sport a Lexus badge. At the time of the unveiling, Toyota said the supercar could achieve 0 to 60 mph acceleration in the low 2.0 seconds.
Watanabe said during his presentation that there will be additional software-controlled driving systems in the planned supercar. These include Direct4 all-wheel drive as well as steer-by-wire and brake-by-wire systems. The steer-by-wire system will enable a feature Lexus is calling One Motion Grip, which essentially allows the driver to comfortably steer a vehicle with just one hand. Lexus will pair One Motion Grip with a yoke-style steering wheel, and we’ll see it debut in the Lexus RZ electric crossover first, although the timing for the US market isn’t clear. A similar system can be found in the related Toyota bZ4X in China.