LEXUS LFA – Ultra-exclusive supercar announced for production
- Lexus’s 21st century supercar delivers extreme, race-bred performance, with advanced
technologies and absolute exclusivity
- Powered by
mid-front mounted 4.8-litre V10 engine with 9,000rpm red line
- Rear wheels
driven through bespoke, rear-mounted six-speed Automated Sequential Gearbox
- Maximum power
552bhp, maximum torque 480Nm
- Nought to 62mph
acceleration in 3.7 seconds, top speed 202mph
- Extensive use of
advanced materials, including Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP)
construction and Carbon Ceramic Material (CCM) brakes
limited to 500 examples
- UK launch price €368,000
The new LFA
marks an important moment in both the history of Lexus and the development of
the supercar. A true “clean-sheet” design, the LFA was created by a small,
passionate and dedicated team of engineers whose achievement has been to push
the boundaries of technologies materials and engineering at every stage to
produce a car like no other to have carried the Lexus badge.
using advanced carbon fibre technology, the rear-wheel drive LFA is powered by
a bespoke, high-revving 552bhp 4.8-litre naturally aspirated V10 engine,
matched to a rear-mounted six-speed sequential automatic transmission, giving
In the words
of Chief Engineer Haruhiko Tanahashi: “The LFA is a thoroughbred supercar, a
machine engineered to achieve a single goal – to deliver a supreme driving
experience. Over the past decade we have pushed
every boundary in pursuit of this goal and I believe we have created the most
driver-orientated car we possibly could.”
car’s weight to an absolute minimum was one of the defining elements in the
development of the LFA and this led to the decision to switch from using
aluminium for the car’s construction to advanced Carbon Fibre Reinforced
Plastic (CFRP) for the chassis and bodywork.
Lexus decided the CFRP structure should be built in-house rather than by a
third-party supplier. In doing so, it drew on Toyota Motor Corporation’s
heritage in textile weaving technology to push the boundaries of its technical
abilities, developing new carbon fibre looms and a laser system for monitoring
the integrity of the material.
times the strength of aluminium, CFRP gives the LFA an exceptionally stiff and
strong structure, and also delivers major weight advantages, saving around
100kg on an equivalent aluminium body. CFRP accounts for 65 per cent of the
body-in-white, with aluminium alloy used for the remaining 35 per cent.
few other vehicles on the market that use CFRP construction, the LFA uses the
same advanced resin technology favoured by cutting-edge aerospace programmes
for its unmatched weight and strength properties.
The heart of
the LFA is a bespoke, naturally aspirated V10 engine that sets new standards
for compact dimensions, lightweight architecture and scintillating performance.
From the outset it was determined the engine should have a 4,805cc capacity,
develop 552bhp and rev to a wailing 9,000rpm red line. A 72-degree angle between
the cylinder heads is ideal for achieving balance in the engine for exceptionally
smooth running, while providing individual, electronically controlled throttle
bodies for each cylinder gives excellent throttle response.
Using a dry
sump lubrication system allows the block to be positioned deep in the engine
bay, lowering the car’s centre of gravity and moment of inertia, and enabling
the engine to handle sustained, high-speed cornering.
produces 480Nm of torque at 6,800rpm, 90 per cent of which is available from
3,700rpm all the way to the 9,000rpm red line, thanks to Dual VVT-i technology,
equal length exhaust manifolds and high-volume, 12-hole fuel injectors. This
gives searing in-hear acceleration at all engine speeds and in any gear: nought
to 62mph takes just 3.7 seconds and maximum speed is 202mph.
With a kerb
weight of 1,480kg, the LFA has a power to weight ratio of 373bhp per tonne,
while specific output of 115bhp per litre is among the highest of any current
supercar, aided by a high, 12:1 compression ratio, low friction internals and
optimised intake and exhaust flow.
In spite of
its potency, the V10 is an object lesson in compact and lightweight packaging,
being about the same size as a regular V8 engine and weighing about as much as
conventional V6. It is also as reliable and refined as any other Lexus power
plan and exceeds Euro 5 emissions standards.
was developed in conjunction with Yamaha through the established collaborative
partnership between Toyota Motor Corporation and the Japanese specialist
formidable performance of the V10 is managed through an equally advanced
transmission, a purpose-designed six-speed Automated Sequential Gearbox (ASG)
that drives the rear wheels via a limited slip differential. To help achieve
the optimum 48:52 front-to-rear weight distribution, it is contained in a
transaxle mounted over the rear axle.
The ASG is
operated by paddle shifts mounted on the steering column and is engineered for
exceptionally fast shifts: an upshift can be effected in just 0.2 seconds.
has four driving modes: Auto, Sport, Normal and Wet, activated by a selector
dial on the dashboard. Each mode has a specific gearshift programme, and engine
and brake control logic systems to let the driver tailor the car’s performance
to suit driving conditions.
acoustics, induction system and exhaust notes have been specially tuned to
deliver an awesome “soundtrack” that expresses the car’s extreme performance,
both outside and inside the cabin. Referred to by the acoustic team as “Octave
Harmony”, it is inspired by the sound of a Formula 1 engine at full revs and is
unlike that of any other road car, with different harmonic qualities created as
the engine moves up towards its maximum 9,000rpm.
The LFA has
one of the most advanced and powerful braking systems fitted to any production
car, appropriate to meet the demands of its 200mph-plus performance
discs are made of Carbon Ceramic Material (CCM), which as well as being lighter
than steel, gives fade-free performance in all conditions. The front discs are
390mm in diameter and 34mm thick, gripped by six-piston aluminium callipers;
the rear discs measure 306mm across, are 28mm thick and are fitted with
four-pot callipers. All use high-friction micron pads, manufactured exclusively
for use with CCM brakes.
WHEELS AND TYRES
track-tuned suspension is the result of intensive development work carried out
by Lexus at the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit to give the best possible
balance between control and comfort.
wishbone front/multilink rear design makes extensive use of aluminium alloy for
high strength and low weight, and the aluminium monotube dampers are the same
as those Lexus used for its LFA race car in the Nurburgring 24-hour race.
forged aluminium BBS wheels are shod with asymmetric Bridgestone tyres:
265/35ZR20 at the front and 305/20ZR20 at the rear.
boasts class-leading aerodynamics to achieve drivetrain cooling and superb
high-speed handling and stability. Extensive wind tunnel testing helped produce
a wind-cheating profile with a drag coefficient of 0.31, a remarkable
achievement given the degree of downforce the car creates at high speed.
precisely controlled over, under and around the car. A carbon fibre rear
diffuser and flat underbody generate significant downforce, with an active rear
wing, complete with a gurney flap on the leading edge, boosting the level
race-tuned steering gives outstanding response and feedback to create a perfect
dynamic link between car and driver. The constant-rate rack and pinion system
uses an innovative column-assist Electric Power Steering System that does not
sap engine performance.
large-diameter column shaft is mounted directly on the central chassis
structure, giving the steering layout exceptional rigidity. The carbon fibre
steering wheel has a flat bottom section and houses the engine starter button
and instrument information selector switch. It can be adjusted for reach and
its front-mid engine layout, long wheelbase and short overhangs, sophisticated
aerodynamics and low-slung cabin, the LFA’s lines flow from roof to sill in a
seamless convex to concave line. As well as its low weight and high strength,
carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) also gave the designers more freedom to
create shapes, curves and edges that would have been impossible with metal.
remains true, however, to the principles of L-finesse, the design rationale
behind all current Lexus models. Form follows function, as witnessed n the
numerous air intakes and aerodynamic details, and even in the design of the door
mirrors, shaped to channel air over the car’s shoulders into the rear intakes.
low-slung cabin is divided into three zones: the mechanical zone, which
includes the skeleton of the car’s construction; the human zone, with two seats
placed right at the centre of the car; and the driving zone, with high-tech
instrumentation that brings driver and machine together.
The cabin is
hand-built, with driver-focused ergonomics. The seats, upholstered in fine
leather and Alcantara, provide the high level of back and side support needed
in a car capable of 200mph-plus performance. The trim echoes the advanced
materials used in the LFA’s construction, with exposed areas of both matt and
gloss carbon fibre. Trim details are finished in brushed metal and the
floor-hinged brake and throttle pedals are made of forged aluminium. As with
the exterior finish, owners can choose different interior colours and details
to suit personal taste.
hooded instrument panel combines an LCD display panel with a colour Thin Film
Transistor (TFT) and a motor-drive movable ring. It features a single circular
dial with a central tachometer with an LCD needle. When engine speed exceeds
9,000rpm, the display area turns red to prime the driver for an up-shift. It
can also be programmed to turn yellow or green when the revs reach a
user-selected range. The dial also houses a digital speedometer and gear
indicator, transmission mode, vehicle control data and trip information
selector switch on the left side of the steering wheel lets the driver toggle
through a series of functions, including customising the data display, adjusting
cabin illumination and operating a track-ready stopwatch system.
When the car
is started, an instrument display sequence is triggered, creating a sense of
occasion, culminating in the four digital dials showing oil and water
temperatures, fuel level and oil pressure radiating out from the centre of the
rev counter to take up their positions on either side of the central dial.
active safety provisions are in line with the LFA’s exceptional performance.
The central carbon fibre reinforced plastic central structure is extremely
strong and provides excellent impact protection. Crash boxes are fitted front
and rear that are designed to deform in a controlled fashion in the event of an
impact. That at the front is made of CFRP; that at the rear from extruded
aluminium. Side impact protection includes strong and rigid carbon fibre side
members and door structures comprising an aluminium inner panel and a Glass
fibre reinforced Sheet Moulding Compound (G-SMC) outer skin.
The LFA is
equipped with Lexus’s Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management (VDIM) system,
which co-ordinates the smooth operation of the ABS, vehicle stability and
traction control systems as the vehicle approaches its performance limits,
based on critical data on brake operation, yaw and roll rates, individual wheel
speed and longitudinal, lateral and vertical acceleration
safety features include two-stage adaptive front airbags and seatbelt airbags
for driver and passenger and a driver’s knee airbag.
programme was launched in 2000 as a straightforward R&D project, but gained
impetus with the appointment of Haruhiko Tanahashi to lead a dedicated team of
engineers, committed to a bespoke Lexus development programme. The first LFA
prototype was completed in 2003 and a design study made its public debut at the
2005 Detroit motor show. In 2008 and 2009 the LFA was entered in the
Nurburgring 24-hour race, the intention being to push the car hard under
testing conditions prior to its official launch as a production-ready model at
the 2009 Tokyo motor show.
The LFA will
be hand-assembled at the Motomachi plant in Toyota City. Only 500 examples will
be built, at a maximum rate of 20 per month to ensure the finest build quality
and attention to detail. Each V10 engine will be assembled by a single
engineer, and will bear his signature as testament to each LFA’s bespoke
The UK launch price for the LFA is €368,000 (approximately £336,000). Owners can choose from an
extensive range of options to personalise their car, including 30 different
paint finishes. Certain items of standard equipment can also be removed, such
as the audio system, to reduce the car’s weight.
|Bore x Stroke (mm)|
88.0 x 79.0
|Fuel Injection Type|
95 or higher
|Max. Power (bhp @ rpm)|
552 @ 8,700
|Max Torque (Nm/rpm)|
480 @ 6,800
|Max. engine speed (rpm)|
|Exhaust emissions certification|
|Max. speed (mph)|
|Overall length (mm)|
|Overall width (mm)|
|Overall height (mm)|
|Track (mm) front|
|Track (mm) rear|
|Overhang (mm) front|
|Overhang (mm) rear|
|Coefficient of Drag (Cd)|
|Fuel tank capacity|
1,480 – 1,580
|Gross vehicle weight|
6-speed Automated Sequential Gearbox
|Front counter gear ratio|
|Final drive ratio|
|Maximum permissible speed (mph)||1st|
|Front – diameter x thickness (mm)|
Cross-drilled ventilated discs, 399 x 34
|Rear – diameter x thickness (mm)|
Cross-drilled ventilated discs, 360 x 28
Double wishbone with anti-roll bar
Multilink with anti-roll bar
|Steering gear type|
Rack and pinion
|Power steering type|
|Turns lock to lock|
|Battery capacity, voltage and Ampère hour|
|Alternator output (W)|
|Starter output (kW)|
|TYRES AND WHEELS|
20×9.5J BBS alloy
20×11.5J BBS alloy