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Lexus supercar in all its glory

2009-10-21 08:38
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Lexus
Model LF-A
Engine 4.8l V10
Power 418kW @ 8 700r/min
Torque 480Nm @ 6 300r/min
Transmission Six-speed sequencial
Zero To Hundred 3.7 seconds
Top Speed 323km/h
Weight 1 480kg
Tyres F: 265/35R20, R: 305/30R20
Images and specs of Toyota’s supercar, the Lexus LF-A, have leaked just as the Tokyo motor show media day opened its doors this morning.

An awfully long time in the making (we’ve been tantalised by well disguised test mules lapping the Nurburgring for nearly two years now) the LF-A is Toyota’s way of upsetting the traditional supercar hierarchy.

Think of it as a rear-wheel drive GT-R if you wish…

For a brand renowned for its eerily refined luxury cars and seamless ownership experience the idea of launching a supercar in these strained economic times might appear a little off kilter.

Yamaha power?

Only 500 LF-As will be produced, ensuring strong residual values and the possibility of the car maturing into classic status – especially when you peruse the specification sheet and gauge the level of engineering on offer.

LF-A is powered by a 4.8l V10 featuring plenty of trick moving bits.

Valves, conrods and exhaust manifold are all titanium construction whilst dry sump lubrication enabled Lexus engineers to mount the engine as recessed as possible in the LF-A chassis, ensuring as low a centre of gravity of possible.

Foregoing forced induction for a high crankspeed design in the quest for power Lexus engineers have managed to coax 418kW from the V10 engine at 8 700r/min.

This impressive power figure is backed-up by 480Nm of peak rotational force at 6 800r/min.

When was the last time you saw a Toyota with a redline engine speed warning zone only coloured in on the wrong side of 9 000r/min?

The LF-A V10 engines will be hand-built by two dedicated technicians at a rate of one engine every two days per man. Yamaha are responsible for the trick cylinder heads which enable the exceptionally high-revving nature of the LF-A engine.

To this end those two blokes who’ll be slotting in the ten cylinders per block and checking the sub assembly journals are Yamaha specialists who have been seconded to Lexus for the duration of LF-A’s production run…

No DSG transmission...

Keeping with the theme of supercar design purity Lexus engineers optioned on a six-speed rear transaxle mounted paddle-shift transmission. Iit’s not a contemporary dual clutch set-up as you might expect though.

Featuring only a single clutch, the sequential transmission is more akin to BMW’s SMG. Conversely, it will be intriguing to see if the Lexus transmission is more user-friendly in low-speed urban conditions than BMW's SMG.

Drive is to the rear wheels only (no magic GT-R all-wheel drive to mask a lack of driving ability from helmsman) with a Torsen slippy diff proportioning torque between the aft wheels.

Triangular rear exhaust arrangement differentiates rear styling and looks rather good too.

Carbon-fibre everywhere

Employing advanced construction techniques have enabled Lexus to bring the LF-A’s kerb weight down to only 1 480kg, despite it hardly being a small car. Dimentionaly it's 4.5m bumper-to-bumper and nearly 1.9m in width.

Carbon-fibre reinforced plastic is used to fashion the central chassis tub. LF-A's chassis design is extended with aluminium subframes fore and aft to carry mechanicals and connect the wheels, which are tracked and suspended by double-wishbones up front and a multilink set-up at the rear.

Brakes are massive 400mm carbon-ceramic rotors on the fore axle (actuated by six-pot callipers) and 360mm at the rear.

Instrumentation is via one of the better TFT LCD displays we've seen. Steering wheel rim is carbon-fibre - nice.

The LF-A’s shell is a carbon-fibre and aluminium blend, with 65% of the LF-A's surfacing comprised of F1's favourite constuction material.

All things considered it does look quite fetching (in a uniquely Japanese way), especially from the rear, with the interestingly grouped triple exhaust ends arranged in a triangle.

Lexus is aiming for a launch price of €368 000, which is an awful lot of money for what is essentially a very trick Toyota.

Then again, 0-100km/h in 3.7 seconds and 323km/h at the top end, combined with unparalleled Lexus build quality and customer service, does render something rather unique in the supercar market.


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