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LFA Appreciation

Discussion in 'General Automotive Discussion' started by Sterling Sackey, Jan 23, 2018.

  1. Sterling Sackey

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    I want to take the time to create a thread devoted to one of my personal favorite cars, the eminently rare and truly exquisite Lexus LFA.

    The LFA is many things: a car that was developed & refined for a decade, a car that changed the direction of an entire company, a car that set records, a car that cost its builder millions, and a car that saw one of its most important creators die behind the wheel. To say that much of its story and achievements remain misunderstood is an understatement.

    I will get into all of this and more in the following thread, please enjoy!

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  2. Sterling Sackey

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    Before going too deep, let's revisit the Lexus LFA “uncrating” process undertaken for each car when these were new. LFAs were each shipped in their own cargo container and on a specially made pallet for easy unloading via forklift. They were purposely left uncovered for the journey to best let the paint cure. Some sampled cars came from the factory with a letter certifying the amount of test miles put on the car at the factory test track (over 100 miles in this case). After this process & some final touches (battery connected, owner’s manual added, wheel center caps added, etc.) the car was sent to its dealer via a retired Toyota IndyCar carrier truck.

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  3. Sterling Sackey

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    It is understood based on information from Toyota corporate insiders that each LFA unit cost the company an average of $750,000 to build (despite MSRP @ $375,000), and the program itself saw $800 million invested. While the Lexus company slogan "The Pursuit of Perfection" might seem like market-speak, it really did apply in the development of this car. The project tested the entire might of Toyota's engineering capabilities and large cash reserves. For instance, the team started with an aluminum platform in the early 2000's, and halfway through development (and after significant time testing at the Nurburgring) decided that carbon fiber was the only acceptable solution to meet their performance, handling, and response goals. As a result, they had to develop a completely new carbon fiber chassis after already investing millions, when the aluminum one certainly would have been "good enough." This was clearly a supercar built for passion, not for profit!


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  4. boxerman

    boxerman F1 World Champ
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    Probably the most awesome v10 motor made for a street car. So So transmssion. Ok looking somewhat bland, (the new Lc looks way better) and if they redid the whole chassis in CF part way through they might as well have made it mid engined.

    Thats the problem with the car it never knew what it wanted to be. Superlative engineering which took so long to complete that it was partly obsolete by the time it arrived, and car that didnt know whtehr it wanted to be a Gt or a supercar and became neither.

    Still wouldnt kick one out of bed so to speak.

    I hear there are still a good few unsold ones about.
     
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  5. DerkPerk

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  6. Sterling Sackey

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    #6 Sterling Sackey, Jan 24, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
    Agreed completely on the V10, a 9,500 RPM road engine is unheard of, let alone one that has been specifically tuned by a musical company (Yamaha) to sound this good.

    The transmission is part of the character of this car, despite not being as quick as a dual-clutch I think it would be less exciting with that solution. In the fastest mode, the LFA bangs off full throttle shifts very quickly (.15 second). Comparing it to the other cars of its day is irrelevant now, as there will always be something better & faster technologically and performance-wise.

    Your comments on whether it is a supercar or not puts on display the level of misunderstanding about this car that I'm hoping to dispel in this thread. Firstly, the engineers for the LFA specifically chose a front-engine, rear drive transaxle setup to make the car's handling balance more predictable than the typical mid-engined supercar (the car still does have a rear weight bias). Secondly, it is 100% a supercar, and 0% a GT (grand touring) car, which is the opinion that anyone who drives or actually owns one comes away with (I know owners who have put 5-figure mileage on their LFAs). To those who have driven both, the character is described as comparable to a Carrera GT. Watch Evo's old review of the 599 GTO vs LFA linked below, or read countless other reviews as evidence. Would you consider the front-engine, rear wheel drive 599 GTO to be a GT car?

     
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  7. Sterling Sackey

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    Yes, the car at Gooding was a 1 of 50 Nurburgring package car with delivery miles, it sold for $825,000 after fees. I will get into the Nurburgring package later in this thread...
     
  8. Sterling Sackey

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    Here are some excerpts about how the LFA compares to the Porsche Carrera GT by Evo Magazine in the UK:

    These are the unforgettable moments the CGT lives for. Moments that are out of the front-drivers’ league and beyond the reach of even the mighty GT-R. It’s moments like these that make the CGT a shoo-in for the final showdown. Then a black LFA slides down from the back of Litchfield Imports’ trailer and all my finely reasoned thoughts are thrown into turmoil.

    .......

    Everywhere you look there are things that delight, from the exquisite carbonfibre bonnet stay and sculptural indicator and wiper stalks to the LCD instrument cluster, which is something straight out of Stark Industries. The level of bespoke engineering is mind-blowing, the mission to create something that transcends merely building another supercar truly palpable in everything you see, touch and hear. It’s little short of a freak.

    There’s so much to the LFA that’s exceptional, yet still its banshee V10 engine is the thing that makes the most immediate and lasting impression. The throttle response is totally insane, to the point where even the CGT’s motor feels a little tardy by comparison. It also sounds as good inside the car as it does outside – something the Porsche fails to do. To hear the 552bhp LFA go through its full 9000rpm aural range is to experience something part-way between an internal combustion engine and a musical instrument.

    .........

    What I do know is the LFA steers with greater precision and a sweeter rate of response than the Porsche, smothers bumps and rides poor surfaces with more control and tracks truer and with less distraction from cambers and surface changes. In short it’s every bit as involving, but more exploitable. What I find most extraordinary is that while it has the CGT’s intensity and excitement when fully lit, it’s much the nicer car to be in when you’re simply making progress or covering miles. More comfortable, more refined, more special and the better car for long drives. It even has some luggage space, a proper satnav and a fabulous hi-fi. Its breadth of abilities is amazing.

    Quite how Lexus created such a special car – from scratch – is one of the world’s great mysteries; that Toyota is unlikely to sanction its like again is one of the great automotive tragedies. Yet all of this only serves to make the legend of the LFA even more compelling. However they did it, and whatever justification they made for investing insane amounts of time and resource into such a glorious cul-de-sac, the result is something utterly spectacular and totally unique. Despite my deep love for the Carrera GT, I can’t put it ahead of the intoxicating and truly wondrous LFA.

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  9. boxerman

    boxerman F1 World Champ
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    I havent driven a 599 gto but I think 599 sucks, it wont turn in, the brakes are so so and cant fathom why anyone bought one, but some people like them I giess as a Gt car.

    If you make a car with 9500rpm exotic motor and cf tub, then say its front engined to be predictable, to me thats two conflicting priorities or lack of vsiosn. Apart from which modern mid engined cars are prefectly predictable as are most cars because they have well sorted dynamics and nannies. Ill bet the mid enginend vette is easy peasy. But a mid engiend car is just more exotic and feels it because youre up front where the acation is.

    The proof of the fault in the lexus not knowing what it wanted to be is the styling, just bland, add front engined to the mix and it didnt know what it wanted to be. Even if it were front engined it needed some styling pazazz see the Lc 500. Front engined not be fatal, but add it all up and its symptomatic of the issue, too much cauition and yet some superlaitive bits elsewhere, a car that falls between two stools.

    Undobtably they are great to drive, and a drive in one is on my to do list, but they flopped for a reason.

    As to the transmission, by the time it came out there were plenty of DCT boxes, toyota just missed the boat because it too so long to develop, the cause being no clear vision and mixed priorities.

    Juts think of all the time effort and funds noit to mention really excelent pieces that went into this car. Wit all that they could have really made something knowckoput superlative, yeah its good to drive but what about the rest.
     
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  10. Sterling Sackey

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    Thank you for your contribution!
     
  11. Sterling Sackey

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  12. Sterling Sackey

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    The "purest" of the many LFA sound videos online... this was distributed by Lexus when the car was new as a sample of the Yamaha-tuned induction & exhaust symphony.

     
  13. Sterling Sackey

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    National Geographic's "Megafactories" episode with a great deal of information on the LFA's build process, as well as some insights on the development & overall concept:

     
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  14. energy88

    energy88 F1 World Champ
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    Thanks for the history lesson. The blue car in Post #2 reminds me of the new Structure Blue color Lexus is getting ready to introduce.
     
  15. 95spiderman

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    Lfa vs 599gto is all time battle for the ages
     
  16. Sterling Sackey

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    Structure Blue is a cool color! The LFA's color is Pearl Blue (8V8). Variations of that color have been somewhat representative of the Lexus F lineup.
     
  17. Sterling Sackey

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    Here is the LFA exterior color chart, below. Only a couple of the colors here didn't end up being selected by any customers. I will make a separate post that shows the full breadth of customization options that were available for interior, wheels, etc.

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  18. Sterling Sackey

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    One of my favorite unique colors, a Slate Blue (9K3) LFA. This car was recently for sale in the USA.

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  19. Sterling Sackey

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  20. Sterling Sackey

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    Sunset Orange (9K6) on LFA #272. Not to be confused with Orange (9K5) popularized by the Nurburgring package car.

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  21. BMW.SauberF1Team

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    I'll probably get flack for this, but I don't understand why the 599 GTO exists. I'm sure it's incredible sounding and drives fantastically (LFA as well probably), but they're not hypercars and they don't seem to be celebrating special occasions (i.e. F60 America). Nor are they race cars. What exactly are they for? They didn't introduce ground breaking tech either...
     
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  22. Sterling Sackey

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  23. Sterling Sackey

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  24. 95spiderman

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    Im not a fan of either car but years from now they will speak of a certain era in automotive history. They're classics whether we like them or not. Like countach vs boxer.
     
  25. VPX

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    Whoa, I've never noticed that the tail blinkers were orange. That's strange. Are they for US-Spec only?
     

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