The new Lexus LFA marks an important moment in both the history of Lexus and the development of the supercar. A true 'clean-sheet' design, the Lexus 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.
Constructed using advanced carbon fibre technology, the rear-wheel drive Lexus 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 200mph-plus performance.
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."
Keeping the car's weight to an absolute minimum was one of the defining elements in the development of the Lexus 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.
The heart of the Lexus 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.
The V10 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 Lexus 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.
The 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.
The system 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.
The UK launch price for the Lexus LFA will be 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.Published 21 October 2009