|2010 to 2012|
|Production||Dec 2010 – Dec 2012|
|Assembly||Motomachi, Toyota City, Japan|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupé |
2-door roadster (concept only)
|Layout||Front-mid-engine, rear mid-transaxle, rear-wheel drive|
|Engine||4.8 L 1LR-GUE V10|
|Transmission||6-speed automated sequential gearbox|
|Wheelbase||2,605 mm (102.6 in)|
|Length||4,505 mm (177.4 in)|
|Width||1,895 mm (74.6 in)|
|Height||1,220 mm (48.0 in)|
|Curb weight||1,480–1,580 kg (3,263–3,483 lb)|
The Lexus LFA is a two-seat supercar from Lexus. It is the second model in the F marque line of performance vehicles from Lexus, following the IS F. Three concept versions have been shown, each debuting at the North American International Auto Show with the LF-A designation as part of the LF Series concept line. After beginning development in the early 2000s (codenamed P280), the first LF-A concept premiered in 2005, followed in 2007 by a second LF-A with a more completely furnished interior and exterior. The third version of the LF-A, a roadster model, premiered in 2008. The production model, trademarked LFA, was shown at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 2009.
The production Lexus LFA features a new V10 engine and a carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) body. CFRP materials account for 65 percent of the LFA's body composition by mass. The LFA went into production in late 2010, with a base price of US$375,000. A circuit-tuned variant debuted in 2012 with a base price of US$445,000, making it one of the most expensive Japanese road cars ever built. Production ended in December 2012 with 500 vehicles completed, the final version being a Nürburgring Package model.
In February 2000 the LF-A began development as a supercar project codenamed P280, which was intended to showcase the performance capabilities of Toyota Motor Corporation and its Lexus marque. The first prototype was completed during June 2003. Prototypes of the LF-A were spotted regularly undergoing testing at Nürburgring, the famous motorsport race track in Nürburg, Germany, since October 2004. Numerous test vehicles had been equipped with automatic retractable rear wings, and carbon ceramic brake discs.
In January 2005, the first LF-A concept premiered at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan as a design study with no plans for production. The first LF-A concept had an overall length of 4,399 mm (173.2 in), 13 cm (5 in) shorter than the Porsche 911 Turbo (996) while its wheelbase measured 2,581 mm (101.6 in), or about 23 cm (9 in) longer. The concept was nearly 1,219 mm (48 in) in height, with a width of 1,859 mm (73.2 in). Some news outlets reported the concept name as referring to Lexus Future-Advance, a claim later dismissed by Chief Engineer Tanahashi. The first LF-A concept featured a glass roof and side cameras mounted in the side mirrors. Twin rear radiators were installed behind the rear wheels, and visible behind large screens. The rear bumper featured a triple exhaust placed in an inverted triangle formation. The wheels were shaped like turbines, and air-scoops were placed on the C-pillars. Following enthusiastic public reaction for the LF-A concept on the autoshow circuit, development continued with a greater emphasis on a possible production model. Concurrently, Lexus was preparing for the launch of its long-rumored F marque series of performance vehicles, with a production LF-A being a possible future member of this lineup. Reports in 2006 suggested that the LF-A concept car had received the green-light for production, however these reports were not officially confirmed.
Following the original LF-A concept, development time was lengthened by the switch from an aluminum frame to a carbon fibre tub, the result of engineering efforts aimed at improving the LF-A's power-to-weight ratio The LF-A was reported to draw engineering resources from Toyota's Formula One team. In January 2007, a restyled LF-A concept car premiered alongside the first production F marque vehicle, the IS F sports sedan. The second LF-A concept featured a more aerodynamic exterior, a near-production interior, and F marque emblems. Later that year, Lexus GB director Steve Settle indicated plans for a V10 and hybrid version of the LF-A. The hybrid version, combining a petrol engine with electric motors, would likely feature a V8 powertrain similar to that designed for the Lexus LS 600h L. LF-A test mules continued to be spotted at the Nürburgring, including early models with a large, fixed rear wing. In December 2007, Auto Express reported that the LF-A had set an unofficial 7:24 lap record at the Nürburgring.
In January 2008, Lexus displayed a roadster version of the LF-A concept car designated LF-A Roadster or LF-AR at the North American International Auto Show. Initial specifications for the roadster were a V10 engine under 5.0 L with over 373 kW (500 hp) and a top speed of over 320 km/h (200 mph). Automotive photographers capturing the LF-A in various test guises had photographed a disguised drop-top test model, dubbed LF-A Spyder, on the Nürburgring as early as October 2005. After its debut at the 2008 North American International Auto Show, the LF-A Roadster was also shown at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, the 2008 Geneva Motor Show, the United States Open Championship tournament, and at Lexus exhibits in Japan. A single LF-A racing prototype was also entered into Veranstaltergemeinschaft Langstreckenpokal Nürburgring endurance races at the Nürburgring in May 2008, competing in the SP8 class of VLN events. Media reports uncovered an LFA trademark filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in December 2008, with the concept LF-A name dropping its hyphen to become LFA for a possible production model.
The second LF-A concepts had an overall length of 4,460 mm (175.6 in), and a wheelbase of 2,598 mm (102.3 in); height remained the same as the prior concept, while width grew to 1,895 mm (74.6 in). While the original LF-A had been strictly a concept model, the second concept's design reflecting engineering analysis for possible production. The exterior design had been restyled to take advantage of the flexibility offered by carbon fiber construction, with improved aerodynamics and surface features aimed at improving the coupe's overall top speed. The reshaped exterior featured smoother lines with additional detailing, and more curved surfaces. The aft radiator cooling vents were retained, but integrated into the rear fascia, and the lower side and front air intakes were restyled, along with the forward fascia and headlamps. Designers reportedly drew inspiration from the 1965 Toyota 2000GT sports coupe, which was also produced in a front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout, and represented the combination of Japanese technology and design ethics in an supercar. However, no design features on the LF-A were directly derived from the 2000GT. The second LF-A concept and accompanying LF-A Roadster were also equipped with a retractable rear wing for improved handling at speed and a two-seat interior with a two-tone color scheme.
On August 5, 2009, Toyota's new CEO, Akio Toyoda, publicly confirmed production of the LF-A in his speech at a conference held at the Center for Automotive Research in the United States. The production vehicles were expected to carry V10 engines, putting the car in market competition with the Lamborghini Gallardo, Ferrari F430, the Porsche 911 (997), and the Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1. Pricing was estimated at over US$225,000, and close to US$400,000.Two LF-A prototypes had also competed at Nürburgring VLN endurance races in mid-2009. In September 2009, reports in Japanese automotive magazines indicated that the 4.8 L V10 engine for the LF-A would carry a 1LR designation. A subsequent television ad for the Japanese market showed the pre-production LFA testing at the Fuji Speedway.
On October 21, 2009, the production Lexus LFA was unveiled on the first press day of the 41st biennial Tokyo Motor Show. The vehicle was introduced by Akio Toyoda at a press conference, in which it was disclosed that the vehicle would be limited to 500 production copies. The vehicle carried the same designation as the concepts, LFA, but without the hyphen. The production designation reportedly stood for Lexus Fuji Apex, another claim dismissed by Chief Engineer Tanahashi. The LFA was shown as the final vehicle of the press conference, following the LF-Ch hybrid concept. Pricing details at the show was estimated at US$375,000.
The production announcement for the LFA supercar marked the 20th anniversary of the launch of Lexus. Given the high cost of construction and development, analysts did not expect LFA sales to be profitable.However, the coupe was intended to serve as a testbed for new car technologies, including carbon fiber mass-production, and related performance vehicle development. At its debut, a circuit-ready model was also indicated for 2012 release.
Lexus began taking orders for the LFA supercar on October 23, 2009. Buyers were selectively chosen by Lexus in the second quarter of 2010. Production began in December 2010 as a 2011 model. Only 500 total LFA models were scheduled to be made worldwide, with only 20 produced each month. Each car had to be custom ordered to the customer's specifications, and cost approximately US$375,000, depending on options and customization. Following the LFA's release at the Tokyo Motor Show, Lexus unveiled a website with a 'LFA configurator' which allowed users to select exterior and interior colors, brake caliper colors, seats, steering wheel leather, and other interior designs. In total, there were over 30 billion possible configurations. Each LFA was hand-built by a dedicated production team of engineers and specialists at Toyota's Motomatchi plant in Aichi, Japan.
In the North American market 150 LFAs were initially sold through a two-year lease program much like the Ferrari F50. This was to prevent owners from reselling the vehicle for a profit. Racing driver Scott Pruett was hired to give test drives to interested buyers, demonstrating the vehicle's capabilities at Auto Club Speedway. The Lexus division of Toyota Motor USA stopped taking orders at the end of 2009, at which time they planned to open discussions about a purchase plan for the lessees. Lexus later changed their stance and allowed outright purchase, but only on the condition that they sign an agreement giving the dealer first right of refusal to buy back the LFA if the owner wanted to sell it within the first two years. The dealer would have the option to buy back the used LFA for either fair market value or the original sticker price, whichever is lower. In the European market buyers order their LFA through a single Lexus dealer located in Park Lane, London where it is purchased outright.
During LFA production, each vehicle received an individually numbered plaque, indicating the unit's place in the production run. Each LFA V10 engine carried the signature of the specialist who assembled it. With 20 units produced monthly, production of the entire LFA extended from December 2010 to December 2012. Production ended on December 14, 2012, with LFA #500, in white, Nürburgring package. When production ended, no successor was scheduled. The LFA plant in Motomachi continued making parts with a small team.
The Lexus LFA is powered by a 72-degree bank angle 4.8-liter V10 engine equipped with dual VVT-i carrying the 1LR-GUE designation with a maximum output of 412 kW (560 PS) delivered at 8,700 rpm. Its maximum torque output of 480 N·m (354 lb·ft) arrives at 6,800 rpm, 90 percent of which is available from 3,700 rpm. The engine redlines at 9,000 rpm, but with a fuel cutoff set at 9,500 rpm, and is constructed using forged aluminum pistons, forged titanium connecting rods, and solid titanium valves. The V-angle of the LFA's V-10 engine is set to 72-degrees (as opposed to the 90-degree V angle present in a Dodge Viper's V-10) to fully balance the firing force from the pistons. This 72-degree angle allows for even firing from the pistons without the use of a split-journal crankshaft, thus improving engine efficiency as well as lowering overall weight. Dry sump lubrication prevents engine oil starvation through high speed corners and lowers the engine's center of mass. Air is fed directly from beneath the hood through a visible slit passing into a dual stage variable intake manifold and then into ten individual throttle bodies before finally exiting from a dual-stage titanium muffler.
The LFA's engineers selected a V10 engine over an equivalent displacement V8 engine for its ability to rev higher, and over a V12 for its lower reciprocating mass, allowing for more rapid engine response. Lexus claims their engine can rev from idle to its redline in 0.6 seconds and an analog tachometer needle could not accurately track the LFA's changes in engine speeds. This necessitated the use of a digital tachometer which can instantly display engine speed.The engine reportedly weighs less than the manufacturer's own 3.5-liter 2GR-FE V6 engine. Engineers attempted to make the engine sound like that of a Formula One car with high revs, while at the same time maintaining reliability and vibration control. Along with other manufacturers such as Ferrari, Toyota had produced their own F1 engines and chassis designs. The exhaust note has been described by Toyota engineers as the "roar of an angel", and a US television spot later used the engine sound to shatter a champagne glass via resonance frequency.
The powerplant gives the LFA a weight-to-power ratio of 5.9 lb/hp and enables it to reach a top speed of around 325 km/h (202 mph). Unlike the IS F's 2UR-GSE, Yamaha co-developed the entire engine, and not just the cylinder heads. The engine exceeds Euro V emissions. The engine is installed with a front mid-engine placement. According to Chief Engineer Haruhiko Tanahashi a front engine layout was selected instead of a mid engine layout as it is inherently more forgiving dynamically, affording less experienced drivers a wider safety net.
The gearbox is a six-speed automated sequential gearbox (electrohydraulic transmission) operated with paddle-shifters.
The Lexus LFA's frame is made from an in-house designed and manufactured carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) center monocoque with aluminum front and rear subframes. The subframes, which can be removed and replaced minimizing potential repair costs, are joined to the monocoque using a newly developed aluminum flanged collar designed to create a stronger joint. According to the manufacturer, the quality of the CRFP material matches that of aeronautical grades and is woven by a laser monitored circular loom, one of only two in the world. Overall 65% of the vehicle's total body mass is CFRP material while the remaining 35% is aluminum. Manufacturer data indicates that the use of CFRP saves 100 kg (220 lb) over equivalent aluminum materials.
An electric power steering rack with a 14.3:1 gear ratio is used. The front suspension utilizes a double-wishbone arrangement and there is a multi-link arrangement at the rear with coil-over dampers at all wheels. The dampers are a monotube design, each with a remote fluid reservoir that includes an expanding and contracting bellows: a purely mechanical system. The LFA further features six-piston front and four-piston rear Brembo monobloc brake calipers with 390 mm (15.4 in) front and 360 mm (14.2 in) rear carbon ceramic discs controlled by Toyota's Electronically Controlled Brake brake-by-wire system. Forged 20-inch BBS wheels fitted with 265 mm (10.4 in) front and 305 mm (12.0 in) rear Bridgestone next-generation Potenza tires are standard. The LFA is equipped with a three-mode Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) stability control system with Sport setting.
To maintain a near ideal weight distribution, a rear transaxle is used, in addition to the mounting of the fuel tank ahead of the rear axle and the radiators at the rear. The windshield washer fluid reservoir is mounted in the center next to the fuel tank to improve further the center of weight. Overall 48% of the LFA's mass is distributed along the front wheels with 52% at the rear.The 73 L (16 imp gal; 19 US gal) fuel tank straddles the exhaust system keeping weight centered along the left-right axis. The engine is connected to the transaxle via a rigid carbon-fiber torque tube which the exhaust system runs directly below.This stacked driveshaft and exhaust arrangement decreases the width of the center tunnel allowing for centrally located seating.
The production Lexus LFA has an overall length of 4,506 mm (177.4 in), while its wheelbase measures 2,606 mm (102.6 in), with a height of 1,219 mm (48 in) and width of 1,895 mm (74.6 in). Compared to the prior 2007–2008 concepts, the production model is nearly 51 mm (2 in) longer, with identical width, height, and nearly same wheelbase dimensions. The exterior design of the LF-A concepts and the final production model was the work of car stylists led by Lexus Design general manager Kengo Matsumoto. The overall design ethos was based on the principle of form follows function, with aesthetics secondary to aerodynamics and operation.
The LFA body features sharp edges and cutoffs for improved aerodynamic performance, made possible by the carbon fiber body. The body was designed with an emphasis on downforce. There are air scoops located over the rear fenders which feed the aft-mounted radiators and help cool the brakes. A horizontal hood gap also feeds air to the engine. Two small aft vents expel air that is collected by an underbody air scoop and used to cool the titanium exhaust pipes. Dual hood ducts serve to move hot air away from the exhaust manifold.
The LFA's speed-sensitive rear wing incorporates a Gurney flap and deploys at speeds over 80 km/h (50 mph). With the wing retracted the LFA's body has a drag coefficient of Cd 0.31. The LFA body is offered with a choice of 28 standard exterior colors, along with 3 wheel colors and a matte black option. Additional "special colors" are available to order. The front and rear fenders, doors, roof rails, and rocker panels are made out of blast fiber reinforced sheet panels, while the tail lamps are light-emitting diode (LED) lights.
The LFA interior incorporates carbon fiber, leather, alcantara, and metallic surfaces. There are two bucket seats, and Lexus' Remote Touch controller interface. The interior design uses bespoke materials and colors. The instrument display is a digital thin-film transistor (TFT) speedometer with color-changing background, size-changing numbers, and side-appearing submenus.
In operation the TFT display shows small digits in automatic mode; larger and bolder numbers in normal mode; inverted colors, moved redline, and stark numbers in sport mode, along with a programmable redline warning color change. The tachometer display also features an electric movable metal ring with layer acrylic plastic to create a 3D effect. The LFA further features a new driver and passenger seat-belt airbag design increases similar to the S-Class ESF safety concept car.
The steering wheel features a right-mounted start button and alloy paddle-shifters. To activate the vehicle the driver must insert the key beside the steering wheel then press the start button. Two octaves of engine sound are channeled into the cabin via twin ducts which connect the firewall with the intake manifold, with the sound tuned in the manner of an Ovation guitar. A 12-speaker Mark Levinson sound system with compact lightweight components was also developed for the interior. Custom-made Tumi suitcases are designed for the LFA interior, with a two-piece set made from carbon-fiber style materials and inscribed with the VIN; a smaller "concourse" case is for track days and short trips, while a larger "coastal" case is for longer trips.
On March 15, 2010, Lexus detailed the circuit-tuned variant of the LFA, plans for which were first disclosed at the LFA official press launch the previous October.The variant is officially known as the LFA Nürburgring Package in reference to the similar setup employed on the LFA race vehicles at the 24 Hours Nürburgring.
The package features an extra 7 kW (10 bhp) from its V10 engine, bringing the total to 420 kW; 571 PS (563 bhp). It also features a re-calibrated transmission with gear shifts made faster by 0.05 seconds, a front splitter, stiffer and more adjustable suspension, lightweight alloy wheels coated in track rubber, aerodynamic canards at the sides of the front bumper, and a large fixed rear wing.
The LFA with the Nürburgring Package is a competition-focused variant, and will be available in four exterior colors, namely glossy black, matte black, orange, and whitest white. The production totals are to be included in the 500-unit total LFA planned build cycle,and will be limited to a 50-unit run At a base price of US$445,000, buyers will receive training sessions at the Nordschleife, accompanied by Nürburgring chief instructors, a one-night stay at the Lindner Congress and Motorsport Hotel Nürburgring, admission to the ring°werk leisure park, a Nürburgring branded jacket, and a one-year pass to the circuit.
The Nürburgring Package LFA was tested at the Nürburgring in June 2011. Driven by Akira Iida, the LFA set a time of 7:14.64 (video confirmed), the 10th-fastest time ever for a production vehicle. Lexus confirmed that this lap video was recorded as a "warm up" video for the "ADAC 24-hours" for exhibition purposes. The LFA hit 292 km/h (181 mph) on the last straight uphill climb, which is one of the highest speeds achieved by a stock exotic supercar on that segment of the track. Standard OEM Bridgestone Potenza RE70 performance street tires were used.
On September 2, 2011 reports came from Lexus via Twitter as well as Chris Harris of Evo Magazine that the Lexus LFA Nürburgring Package completed a lap of the Nurburgring in 7:14.64 with a top speed of 298 km/h (185 mph) on the "Dottinger" uphill climb, the fifth fastest time ever for a production car, and almost ten seconds quicker than the Porsche 911 GT2 RS at 7:24. A few days later, the time was confirmed by Lexus as 7:14.64, a video was provided. OEM Bridgestone Potenza RE070 street tires had been used.
Top Gear test track
The LFA appeared on Top Gear in January 2010, where its power lap of 1.22.8 was the quickest wet test lap ever recorded on the Top Gear test track located at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, United Kingdom; it was 3 seconds faster than the nearest wet lap which was the four-wheel-drive Lamborghini Gallardo