By Dale Beck
Engine 4.8-liter V10
Max Power 552 hp at 8,700 rpm
Max Torque 354 lb-ft at 6,800 rpm
Top speed 202 mph
0-60 mph 3.6 sec
30-100 mph 6.2 sec
Fuel economy Average 14.9 mpg
What started a mere two decades ago as a popular luxury vehicle (LS400) has evolved into what Lexus chief engineer Haruhiko Tanahashi terms “a world-class supercar.” The LFA arrives as the latest racing prototype, a two-seat sports coupe equipped with a 4.8L v10 engine housed inside a carbon fiber-reinforced polymer body.
With a center of gravity only 18 inches above the pavement, this race horse has a top speed of just over 200 mph and can redline at 9,000 rpm from idle in 0.6 seconds. As for acceleration, the LFA travels from 0 to 100 mph in 8.2 seconds and burns through the quarter mile in 11.8. Shifting is done through a six-speed Automated Sequential Gearbox operated with paddle-shifters that, in sport mode, can upshift in 200 milliseconds complemented by computer-controlled rev-matching downshifts. The driver has his choice of four driving modes: Auto, Sport, Normal, and Wet. Heat management is completed through the unique design of a “heat tunnel” that runs from the front of the chassis down the central spine of the body and out the rear of the vehicle via twin ports below the tail lamps, thus scattering heat from multiple sources of vehicle friction.
As might be expected, form follows function, with aerodynamics taking center stage in the production of this vehicle. The speed-sensitive rear wing deploys at speeds in excess of 50 mph to provide downforce and stability. The speed of air flow under the vehicle is comparatively faster than that over the vehicle, effectively sucking the vehicle toward the road underneath.
Aside from power delivery, fine-tuned exhaust notes accent the experience, from the elegant yet understated rumbling idle note to a nape-tingling red line wail, for both those inside and outside of the cabin, something the design team terms ”Octave Harmony.”
The low-slung cockpit includes a hooded instrument panel, equipped with a tachometer that runs through the red zone to 10,000 rpm and boasts a fast reacting needle designed to exactly replicate the engine’s acceleration.
The LFA is scheduled for limited production with a two-year run of 500 models. Production begins in December. Of those, 171 are expected to arrive in the United States with a price tag of approximately $375,000.