Lexus’ LFA was a car nobody could have anticipated. Limited to just 500 production models, the $350,000 status symbol was as prestigious as it was rare. Strange, considering Lexus is known as a luxury brand that’s still big on value. However, there weren’t many people griping about the LFA’s price once they experienced its performance firsthand. Its high-revving, 553 horsepower V10 has been universally praised by almost everyone who’s gained access to it, and even those who haven’t.
The Toyota Motor Corporation is aware that the model’s absence has been noticed and, despite Lexus’ current focus on improving sales via sport utility vehicles, it thinks there could still be room for another flagship halo car.
After Toyota ended production of the Lexus LFA and closed a chapter of supercar history, National Geographic aired its documentary as part of its Megafactories series. “Up until now, no television cameras have ever been allowed inside this top secret facility,” says the film. The words were carefully chosen. You, the TTAC readers, had been there long before the film went on air.
This innocent white car will lead major news outlets astray. It already does. Shown at 2UX3J, or rather the Lexus booth, this LFA roadster concept makes blogs of all stripes, from Jalopnik to our sister publication Autoguide, fantasize about an impending launch in 2014. I am sorry, they have all been misled.
LFA Chief Engineer Haruhiko Tanahashi says good-bye
As intimated last week, Toyota’s production of its LFA supercar is coming to an end. On Friday, LFA #500 left the assembly line at the secretive LFA Works in Toyota’s Motomachi plant. After a week of testing, the car will be delivered to its undisclosed owner.
Today, I happened to be at Toyota’s Tokyo headquarters in order to personally get to the bottom of numbers nobody seems to care about. There was a minor riot in the usually zen-like lobby of 1-4-18 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku. TTAC was there to investigate …
I understand the need for a luxury car maker to create a super car. It spilled into my drawing books at CCS. But I love Lincolns. To wit: a stand up grille (modeled after the Bugatti EB110), covered headlights (Continental Mark III) , a power dome hood and an-ever-so-slight Continental kit that blended into a spoiler (like the final RX-7). Jokes about my Panther Love on TTAC is fine, but I was far too scared to encourage the stereotypes in design school. I showed absolutely nobody my super car Lincoln, and I never will…it, among other aborted design studies, went in the trash when I left Detroit.
But Lexus? No, they actually think they can play in this space. At least long enough to make a statement: since I never did, I do applaud their effort. Even if I don’t especially like it.
Would you like to know how to build one of the world’s fastest (top speed 202 mph) and most agile ( Nordschleife time 7:14.64) supercars? If you want to have a look at how the Lexus LFA is built, then you need to buy one. As part of the ownership experience, you become access to the “LFA Works” at the Motomachi plant in Toyota City, and you can witness how your car is made. At upwards of $375,000 MSRP for the car, this will probably also be one of the world’s most expensive factory tours. Fiscally responsible as we are, Thetruthaboutcars.com brings you a miniature Motomachi. Let the tour begin …
Last week, news about a Dodge Viper ACR kicking “the ever-living crap out of the Lexus LFA and the Corvette ZR1” (in the matchless and breathless words of Jalopnik) made the rounds trough the webz. At the time, Jack Baruth warned that “there’s no ‘official’ word yet” and mused that the slick boys could have used non-stock tires. Ever since, it became quiet.
After checking the telemetry, and posing for a group shot, it’s official: The Lexus Nürburgring-enhanced LFA did the now common 20.6 kilometer “sport auto” lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife in seven minutes, 14.64 seconds. That’s a hair better than the Donkervoort D8 RS, which completed the same course in 7:14.89 – 5 years ago. It is also the best time amongst the bona-fide production models. Better than the Nissan GT-R (7 min 24 sec), better than the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 (7 minutes 19 sec), better than the Porsche 911 GT2 RS (7 minutes 18 seconds).
Reuters is widely considered the best in the business when it comes to the auto beat. They were that before Paul Ingrassia joined Reuters as Deputy Editor-in-Chief. That someone who won the Pulitzer-prize for his coverage of the turmoil at GM took the helm at Reuters only made their coverage better. Amongst the Tokyo auto press corps, Chang-Ran Kim of Reuters reigns supreme.
However, even the best journalists can become a bit territorial, and an aging TTAC blogger who air-drops into Tokyo every other month can become an irritant. After a little back and forth ribbing, we decided: “Let’s settle this like, well, persons.” And a grudge match was arranged:
Ran Kim of Reuters races BS of TTAC. Full race coverage after the jump ….
While Jack is ranting about blackballing PR flacks and journos with pants on fire, let me warn against journalism by Twitter. Here is a prime example: Today, the interwebs are abuzz about a Lexus LFA setting a new Nordschleifen record. The source: A tweet by Chris Harris of EVO. He wrote: “LFA Nurburgring pack just did 7.14 lap of the Ring. That’s mighty fast.” And he followed it by a “Akira Iida was the man who did the LFA’s 7.14. Great time.” That may be the case. What is shameful is what was made of this tweet.
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