2012 Lexus LFA
10-cyl. 4805cc/553hp FI
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With an experienced team and a lot of data.
Toyota’s first true supercar, the Lexus LFA was nine years in the making and launched at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show. The letters stand for Lexus Fuji Apex, after the Toyota-owned speedway where it was developed. The supercar was a joint production between Toyota and Yamaha, well known for superior high-performance engines. The LFA features a rear-drive front-mid engine layout with the transaxle at the rear. The LFA tub is carbon-fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP), with aluminum subframes front and rear. CFRP trimmed the LFA’s weight by 220 pounds and Toyota manufactured the tub itself, with cost no obstacle.
Led by designer Kengo Matsumoto, Toyota’s styling and engineering departments combined for an elegant and efficient design with a mere 0.31 drag coefficient. A rear wing automatically deploys at 50 mph for additional downforce.
The 4.8-liter DOHC, dry-sump, 72-degree V-10 engine uses titanium connecting rods and valves, and forged aluminum pistons. Through variable valve timing and individual throttle bodies the engine generates 553 horsepower at 8700 rpm and 354 lb-ft of torque. The V-10's exhaust note is truly spectacular, reminiscent of Toyota’s screaming Formula 1 cars in the 2000s. Power is delivered through a 6-speed Aisin single-clutch, paddle-shift transmission and a Torsen limited-slip differential.
The 3263-lb LFA is good for 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds, on its way to a quarter-mile in 12.2 seconds at 125 mph, and a top speed of 202 mph. Brembo brakes include carbon-ceramic rotors, and red calipers were optional. Luxury options included 10-way power seats, full leather interior and carbon-fiber trim, a Mark Levinson 12-speaker surround-sound system, DVD/CD changer Bluetooth connectivity voice command navigation and hill assist.
Toyota built-to-order 436 examples of the LFA from 2010-12 and added 64 exclusive Nürburgring Packages – the only special edition. These included carbon fiber components such as nose winglets, a revised front splitter and a bigger fixed wing at the rear. Ride height was lowered, lighter 20-inch BBS wheels fitted, and the engine tweaked for 10 extra hp. The LFA’s base price was $375,000 but the Nürburgring Package cost $445,000. LFA production wound down when new orders dwindled. Despite the LFA’s clever design and stellar performance, it was never a hot seller, partly thanks to the fact that it was a Toyota product with a Ferrari price tag.
LFA prices stayed more-or-less in the realm of original purchase price for several years. Some reportedly remained at dealerships long after the end of production. Starting in the late 2010s, however, the LFA started to come into its own as a modern collector car, with several high-profile auction results and a clear recognition that it is a brilliantly engineered, highly exclusive, and significant piece of Japanese automotive history.