It's been 10 years since Lexus showed the world it can also make supercars.
It's always refreshing when an automaker does something distinctly out of character. Sometimes, purists don't always agree, such as when Ford decided to slap a Mustang badge on an all-electric crossover in the case of the Mustang Mach-E. But when Lexus stepped out of its luxury-mobile comfort zone and unleashed the epic LFA, nobody was complaining. In fact, the motoring fraternity remains hopeful that Lexus will release a successor. For now, Lexus is still reveling in the mastery of the original car, which has just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Yes, production of the LFA supercar began a decade ago.
Limited to only 500 examples, the Lexus LFA was a landmark product for the Lexus brand with its 4.8-liter naturally-aspirated V10 engine produced together with Yamaha. It sent its 560 horsepower (developed at a screaming 8,700 rpm) to the rear wheels via a six-speed automated sequential gearbox and could reach 62 mph in only 3.7 seconds, along with a top speed of 202 mph. Part of its magic was its lightweight construction, with the first concepts using aluminum but the production LFA switching to carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP).
CFRP was ultimately used for the construction of much of the bodywork, the transmission tunnel, and the passenger cell. The LFA's story began all the way back in 2000 when initial research got underway. The following year, the project gained momentum when Master Driver Hiromi Naruse joined the team. The first prototype arrived in 2003 and in 2009, the LFA's production was confirmed at the Tokyo Motor Show. Production finally got started in 2010 at the company's Motomachi plant at a painstaking rate of only one car per day, a sign of the depth of engineering that went into the LFA.
Later, a limited Nurburgring Package with stiffer suspension, lighter wheels, a new rear wing, and power uprated to 570 DIN hp was introduced. Although owning an LFA is merely a dream for most of us, Lexus has shared the assets for enthusiasts to download and create their own print-and-build origami-style LFA paper model. While a new, high-revving LFA seems like a long shot in this age of downsizing and electrification, the original's legacy is firmly intact.