The Lexus LFA was unveiled ten years ago. Since then, the Japanese supercar has often been mentioned in lists and overviews of the best supercars ever. How did that happen? And what makes the Lexus LFA still so popular?
A Lexus supercar?
Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Porsche, Aston Martin, these are brands that you expect to have excellent control over the development of a supercar. And then Lexus came up with the idea to develop a supercar. Would that go well?
Long development period
Well, not at first, because it took an awful long time to develop the LFA. The story of the Lexus LFA starts early in the year 2000 with a research & development project for a thoroughbred supercar. Harahiko Tanahashi, Lexus chief engineer, is given carte blanche to experiment, for example with new materials and processes.
The hunt for perfection
In 2001 Hiromi Naruse joined the team. He threw himself into all aspects of driving. From the set-up of the chassis to the shape of the steering wheel. Naruse’s premise: everything must be perfect. The first prototype was ready in 2003 and a year later the LFA completed its first laps at the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife. From that moment on, the toughest track in the world was central to the development of Lexus’ first supercar.
Yes, it will go into production
At the Detroit auto show in 2005, Lexus lifted a tip of the LFA’s veil and two years later the brand presented a model even closer to production. In 2008, the Lexus LFA underwent ultimate testing by taking part in the tough 24-hour race of the Nürburgring. At the Tokyo auto show in 2009, Lexus confirmed that the LFA would go into production. That is almost ten years later.
In those ten years, the design of the LFA was changed several times. Because as said: everything must be perfect. In the end, Lexus thought the LFA was good enough and production started in the Japanese Motomachi at the end of 2010.
One LFA per day
In fact, production of the Lexus LFA started on December 15, 2010. Since then, a team of 170 craftsmen (the so-called Takumi) 1 Lexus LFA every working day. Each motor was assembled by hand by one man. That technician’s signature was engraved on a metal plate along with the car’s production number.
The V10, a masterpiece
One of the LFA’s most spectacular features is the 4.8-liter V10 engine developed in collaboration with Yamaha specialists. Despite the fact that this compact engine had fewer cylinders than many of its competitors, it delivered an exceptional power output of 560 hp at 8,700 rpm. The front-mounted V10 powered the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic sequential transmission on the rear axle, a transaxle transmission.
In figures: the Lexus LFA accelerates from 0-100 km / h in 3.7 seconds and reaches a top speed of 325 km / h. Ceramic brake discs with large calipers provide the necessary braking power.
At the beginning of the development phase, the Lexus LFA had an aluminum body. That was not perfect. Lexus therefore switched to the use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP – carbon fiber reinforced plastic). This high-tech material is even lighter and very strong. Most of the body panels, the occupant safety cell and the transmission tunnel are made from this high-quality composite material. Since its deployment in the LFA, Lexus also uses CFRP in various F-performance models.
Lexus LFA Nürburgring Package
With the LFA with Nürburgring Package, Lexus showed that the LFA had even more potential in terms of performance. Only 50 units of this version were built. The LFA Nürburgring Package had a chassis lowered by 10 mm, lighter wheels with performance tires and specific aerodynamic features such as a new front spoiler, front air deflectors and a fixed GT-style rear wing. The V10 of this exclusive edition produced 570 hp. Lexus delivered every LFA with Nürburgring Package including professional driving training and a pass that gave unlimited driving on the Nürburgring Nordschleife for a year. Speaking of that track: in 2011 Akira Ida set a new lap record for production cars with the Lexus LFA with Nürburgring Package.
Harahiko Tanahasi enters the history books as the man who realized Lexus’ dream of a true supercar: “I wanted to develop a supercar that would touch its driver by the sum of its parts: the sound of the V10, the feeling during acceleration, driving behavior and stability. ” Tanahashi wanted to put the rider in a euphoric mood. And it worked.
The spectacular styling, the fabulous V10 sound, by rijbeleving, the build quality and the limited edition of only 500 copies make the LFA a sensational supercar. The LFA is and remains unique.