2010 Lexus LFAOctober 23, 2009
World Premiere for the Lexus LFA at the 2009 TMS ( 7-Tune marked photos shot by Peter Horniak )
The new Lexus LFA is all about numbers, some of them truly mind numbing, depending on your angle and inclination.
Weighing in at a scant 1480kg and flaunting a brand new DOHC 4.8 liter V10 developing 412kw @ 8,700rpm and made from exotic and expensive materials such as magnesium and titanium; the all new $375,000 dollar hyper Lexus is very firmly being pitched at the pinch hitters in the Lamborghini, Audi Ferrari and Porsche camps.
The LFA makes a maximum 480nm of twist available at a heady 6,800rpm, propelling it from 0-100kph in a factory claimed 3.7 seconds. Inside the 1LR-GUE donk, titanium valves and ultra light rocker arms can be found along with a fully integrated crank casing that not only reduces power loss at high rpm but also will allow the engine to spin to extreme amounts of revs.
Without pausing for breath, the Lexus will go all the way to a wailing 9000rpm redline, driving through all 6 of its Automated Sequential Gearbox cogs ( ASG ) and onto a top speed of 325kph, ( 201 mph ) making 90% of its peak torque between 3,700rpm and 9,000rpm along the way.
Employing 4 selectable shift patterns, the seven-staged ASG box shifts between cogs at 0.2 seconds in turn providing a more solid shift feel to the driver by way of strengthened actuators and heavy duty synchronizer rings.
Phonically, the sound of the naturally aspirated 1LR-GUE at full noise really made the hairs on the body stand at attention and no Toyota has ever sounded as remarkable as this, save the actual program that donated some of its DNA to the LFA, Toyota’s own F1 program.
Stopping the car is being well taken care of by CCM ( Carbon Ceramic Material ) discs front and rear along with 20 inch wheels wrapped in 265/35 and 305/30 Bridgestone rubber.
It is in the chassis department where some of the most remarkable progress has been made. Toyota, through their Lexus brand, have used their vast resources and engineering prowess in Formula 1 to design and create a CFRP composite cabin, mixing together a concoction of carbon fiber and reinforced plastic; saving more than 100kg in the process when compared to more conventional aluminum chassis construction techniques. Pioneering this technology has enabled Lexus to create unique CRFP to metal fabrication processes akin to the way tendon and muscle joins bone to form a working, flexible and strong connection that has almost perfect weight distribution percentages front to rear of 48:52.
It was with baited breath that the worlds press awaited its unveiling and as the covers were taken off, everyone there was suddenly confronted with something unexpected. Finally, after countless years of fruitless wandering, we were all looking at a hardcore, balls out super car from a manufacturer responsible for some truly legendary vehicles.
At long last, Toyota are back.
There is no denying Toyota lost their way. No one will dispute this, not even a member of the founding family, Akio Toyoda. He even went as far as to offer an apology for the lost dreams of the automotive youth, pledging to make a change. The FT86 and LFA are fruits of this change. Young people have fallen out of love with the car, realizing that cars lack a certain something that brings out in them some emotion. Owning a car is all about emotion and Toyota has been of the misguided perception that people would rather own listless and vapid appliances. Fans of Toyota have been yearning for a cheap 2 seater rear wheel drive coupe that will make the blood boil and finally, something this way cometh.
The LFA, being leagues more exclusive than its baby brother the FT86, is only going to be produced in a strictly limited run of 500 units – not a single more or less. Pre orders are being taken as of now but the official final 500 owners will be hand picked from the list of pre orders so you can imagine you will not only need an excessively large pile of money to part with but a damn good reason for Toyota to take it as well!
The LFA was amazing to behold and I got to have a really good look at it inside and out. There is a hint of Supra about it in the silhouette, a whiff of Lamborghini in the front bumper, a tinge of Veyron in the extendable rear wing but there is no denying this was a clean sheet design. The interior is functional and formal and struck me as very similar, utilitarian wise, when compared to the Nissan GTR. Color choices in the cabin were even reminiscent of the R35. There was no word on what exterior choices were being made available but lets hope Toyota sticks with its design philosophy in offering a wide splashing of hues to choose from.
The jury is out at the moment on whether or not Toyota has the right to charge such an exorbitant amount of cash for such a product but word is that Toyota will be making a loss on every single LFA it sells. With a price tag double that of one of its natural enemies, the 5.2 liter V10 Audi R8, you have to wonder what this is an exercise in for Toyota but there is no denying the LFA’s presence, wow factor and a list of numbers that go some of the way in supporting the outrageous price tag. I like Lexus, always have but don’t love it that much to shell out money approaching half a million dollars to own one.