It seems like the Lexus LFA has been around forever. In reality, the first concept version was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in 2005, but that’s a long time in the automotive world. Additional concepts followed in 2007 and 2008, and the on-off rumors of a production version haven’t help. Nevertheless, the production version of the LFA is finally here at the Tokyo Motor Show, and it is glorious. All of which makes it harder to stomach that the car shown here isn’t expected to reach customer garages until early 2011.
The specifications of the new rear-drive Lexus supercar are impressive enough: a 4.8-liter V10 with 560 ps (552 bhp), 354 lb-ft torque, a zingy 9,000 rpm redline, six-speed sequential gearbox, 0-62 mph in 3.7 seconds, and a top speed of 202 mph. It looks amazing too, both in pictures and in person.
Of course, we can’t help but make comparisons to the current reigning Japanese supercar, the Nissan GT-R. At just 3,263 pounds, the LFA easily has a better power-to-weight ratio, but that hasn’t seemed to stop the all-wheel drive juggernaut before.
Then there is the small matter of cost to consider. Unlike the GT-R, which is considered a performance bargain, the LFA will be exclusive – and costly. Only 500 units will be produced at a cost of…drum roll please….$375,000. Despite the colossal price tag, we hear that Lexus expects to take a loss on each one.
The newly developed 4.8-liter V10 engine boasts exceptional power, while lightweight materials (aluminum alloy, magnesium alloy and titanium alloy) and a very compact size (smaller than a conventional V8) allows for optimal weight distribution and an exceptional power-to-weight ratio.
Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) cabin enhances high body-rigidity and reduces weight. This unique cabin is 100kg lighter than a comparable aluminum cabin. Detailed analysis and precise matching of CFRP materials allows for high rigidity and low weight. LFA CFRP production technology, including unique CFRP-to-metal joining, was completely developed by Lexus.
The driver’s seat is positioned near the LFA’s center of gravity. The centralized seating concept (with the seat between the front and rear axles and closer to the left–right center) is made possible by the use of a rear transaxle and vertically stacked torque tube and exhaust pipes reducing the width of the center tunnel. The driver placement is aimed to provide maximum car-to-driver feedback, especially under sport or high G-force driving conditions.