In October 2000, Chief Engineer Haruhiko Tanahashi and his team embarked on their greatest engineering challenge yet. Together they have devoted ten years to creating the LFA: a world-class supercar that challenges the finest sports cars ever built.MORE ABOUT THE INSPIRATION FOR THE LFA
The development of the LFA was a journey into uncharted territory. A key moment was the decision to deviate from traditional development processes. This move inspired them to approach the supercar's development from countless different angles. They began with an exhaustive list of 500 musts for the LFA - and this list became the template that all future Lexus vehicles would be measured against.
"The LFA is a thoroughbred supercar unlike any other before it. Astonishingly lightweight, powerful and balanced, it is engineered to achieve one single goal - to deliver a truly supreme driving experience."
LFA Chief Engineer
Most vehicles start with the engine, with the rest of the car designed around it. This is not the case with the LFA. In fact, like a Formula 1 car, the supercar's handling was given the highest priority, and the packaging was decided accordingly. The engineering team first considered how they wanted the LFA supercar to feel, how they wanted it to move.
This doesn't mean the engine was neglected. Indeed, the entire powertrain was developed exclusively for the LFA, from the transmission down to the smallest bolt.MORE ABOUT THE LFA'S UNIQUE APPROACH
Master Driver Naruse, the development driver responsible for deciding the LFA's feel, wanted to build a supercar that, instead of suddenly going into a tail slide on a corner, would be able to communicate that it was going into a slide if pushed any harder. The driver would then be given the confidence to push up to the border of the car's limits and enjoy the supercar's capabilities to the fullest extent.
When the driver speaks to the supercar by turning the steering wheel or pressing the accelerator pedal the body should respond smoothly and immediately. The vehicle should not understeer or oversteer but respond exactly as you would expect it to. To achieve this, the body rigidity, suspension, brakes and aerodynamic performance must be developed as an integrated whole.
In their determination to produce a world-class supercar, the team, helped by Yamaha, F1 and Moto GP engineers, manufactured a completely new V10 power plant in the purpose built factory, the LFA Works, in central Japan.MORE ABOUT BUILDING THE LFA
2: Years it took to build the LFA Works
1: Daily output of the LFA Works
6: Weeks it takes for each LFA to travel down the production line
10: Number of LFAs allocated for Australia
500: Total vehicles produced
37: Average age of the LFA team
175: Worker headcount
2,000: Number of boxes of parts needed to build one LFA
335: Individual pieces of carbon parts pieced together to make the LFA dashboard
325: Maximum speed of the LFA (in km/h)
The Extraordinary Way utilises unconventional methods to produce uncompromising results. For every Lexus vehicle produced, shortcuts are never taken in the pursuit of excellence, precision is tirelessly pursued, and the future always anticipated.MORE ABOUT LEXUS' EXTRAORDINARY WAY
And so it was from the very first moment the LFA was conceived - with a passionate belief that The Extraordinary Way was the only way to create a supercar of flawless craftsmanship and supreme performance.
Kaizen is a Japanese word meaning "continuous improvements" and it is this approach to everything that Lexus undertakes which informs the philosophy of "The Pursuit of Perfection".
Kaizen was instrumental in creating the LFA, with the team unafraid to continually rework components of the supercar in their passionate pursuit of perfection.
In 2000, the first LFA prototype used aluminium alloy for its chassis and bodywork. In 2005, the Lexus chief technology officer decided they could do better and issued a directive to use CFRP (carbon fibre reinforced plastics). It took the team a little by surprise and they expressed some doubts about their ability to effectively use a material they knew little about. Reassured with the words that they "did not have to be tied to a schedule", they started the process of developing and testing the material for use as the body of the world's top supercar.MORE ABOUT KAIZEN
Lexus reinvented the process for producing carbon fibre using the company's loom heritage, and used this technology to create the new monocoque. The use of carbon fibre allowed the team to do things that were impossible to do with metal - to create shapes that cannot be replicated by aluminium and steel. This approach was inspired by the work of Japanese artist Fukami Sueharu, who has achieved unexpected things within his medium, creating striking and unusual shapes.
As a result, the LFA was lighter, stiffer and stronger than traditional alloy-bodied supercars.
The Nürburgring racetrack in Germany was the ideal location to test and develop the LFA as it offered engineers every possible driving situation, including hairpin turns, high speed corners, 250km/h jumping spots, long straights where speeds of 300km/h are regularly reached, as well as rough and undulating road surfaces. Elevation and camber changes on the Nürburgring racetrack are unlike any other test track.
"Over the past decade we have pushed every boundary - including the development of our own cutting-edge carbon fibre monocoque chassis and bodywork."
LFA Chief Engineer
The LFA started out life as a research and development program, then became a vehicle development program. The overarching theme was to improve on the supercar formula that had been around for years and prove to everyone that Lexus can build cars with passion.SEE TIMELINE
Improvements made to stability, handling and ride characteristics.
The LFA is entered for the Nürburgring 24-hour endurance race. The objective is to push the supercar as hard as possible under the most testing of conditions.
The LFA wins its class in the Nürburgring 24-hour test race.
Lexus enters the LFA into the Nürburgring 24-hour test race again, winning the SP8 class over 4000cc and finishing 18th overall with a lap time of 8:55.934.
The LFA records a lap time of 7:14:64 on Germany's legendary Nürburgring racing circuit, and sets the fastest lap time by any production vehicle.
A track-focused Nürburgring package is developed offering a greater degree of competition-focused tuning. Features include specially tuned suspension and high-grip production tyres.
Lexus again takes class honours and finishes 15th outright at the gruelling 40th ADAC 24 Hours Nürburgring race - the second win for Lexus.
The LFA is a vehicle that stands apart from all others. Few supercars can achieve speeds of 325km/h and reach 100km/h from a standing start in just 3.7 seconds. There will only ever be 500 LFAs worldwide.MORE ABOUT THE LFA ON THE ROAD
Ten LFAs will be delivered to Australia, with the first customer's car having arrived in April 2012. Every LFA can be personally delivered by F1 driver Alan Jones. He will then familiarise the new owner with the vehicle and offer driver coaching.
In August 2011, the LFA recorded a lap time of 7:14:64 on Germany's legendary Nürburgring racing circuit. This was the fastest time by any production vehicle, faster than the Porsche 911 GTR-2 RS and R35 Skyline GTR.
To celebrate the LFA's class-winning performance at the gruelling 2010 Nürburgring 24 hour race, Lexus created a Nürburgring package with a number of track-focused enhancements. This model showcases a number of features for improved aerodynamic performance, including a large front spoiler, canard fin and a fixed rear wing with gurney flap for greater downforce. Power has been increased to 420kW and sports-tuned suspension has been specifically calibrated to optimise the handling on the challenges of Nürburgring.
While the LFA truly comes alive on a race track, it is not limited to this arena and provides a very satisfying experience for everyday driving. A host of luxury appointments and features ensure that the LFA's occupants are as comfortable as they are exhilarated. The levels of refinement are everything you'd expect from a Lexus.
Chief Engineer Haruhiko Tanahashi and his team fine-tuned the acoustics of the LFA's V10 power plant to deliver a spine-tingling soundtrack, serving as a constant reminder of its supercar performance capabilities.
Lexus engineers worked to create an awe-inspiring sound - from a rumbling idle note to a red-line wail. For a wonderfully deep and balanced note, an equal-length exhaust system has been developed. Working with Yamaha's musical instrument division helped to harness the power of sound as a force to stir the soul.MORE ABOUT THE LFA'S SOUND
"I think sound is the most important element that gives rise to this state of euphoria in a supercar. In the LFA's initial plan, the first item I put under required performance was sound. This is highly unusual... The main reason I chose to use a V10 engine was its harmonic sound that transports the driver to a state of euphoria."
LFA Chief Engineer
A newly developed 4.8 litre V10 engine delivers a breathtaking 412kW of power and 480Nm of torque. This makes it the most powerful Lexus ever. In fact, because the LFA's engine can rev from idle to 9,000 rpm in just six tenths of a second, a digital rev counter was required as an analogue system simply couldn't keep pace.MORE ABOUT THE LFA'S V10 POWER
Key features of the unique V10 engine:
The cylinder head uses VVT-i (variable valve timing intelligent technology), light weight forged titanium alloy connecting rods, titanium valves and diamond-like carbon coated cam shaft followers with integrated oil jets.
Built with great precision, and engraved with the name of the technician who assembles and tests it, each engine fulfils our legendary standards for quality and reliability.
The LFA is a perfectly balanced supercar, delivering lightning quick responses, much like an extension of your own body.
The LFA's high level of handling has been achieved by combining a front-mid engine with a rear transaxle, giving a 48:52 front-to-rear weight distribution, ideal for an ultra-high performance supercar.
Weight has been kept to an absolute minimum on the LFA. This is how it was achieved:
The LFA is fitted with 20-inch forged aluminium alloy wheels. To manufacture these intricate 10-spoke wheels, billets of aluminium alloy are heated to 450°C before entering a 9,000 tonne capacity press. A forged wheel has a dense, fibrous structure that significantly boosts the wheel's strength and lightness.
At the heart of the LFA is a hand-built V10 engine. This was developed exclusively for the supercar and is capable of delivering an incredible 412kW of power and 480 Nm of torque. As a result of the incredibly strong and ultra-light construction of the LFA, the high-revving engine powers the car from 0 to 100km/h in a mere 3.7 seconds and can reach a top speed of 325km/h. In addition, the LFA's V10 engine can rev from idle to 9,000 rpm in just six tenths of a second. With the engine at 9,000 rpm, its ten pistons move at approximately 25 metres a second.MORE ABOUT THE LFA'S PERFORMANCE
Perfectly balanced for on-the-limit driving, yet delivering exceptional levels of grip for high-speed stability, the LFA offers true race car handling. The supercar's suspension set-up features double wishbones at the front and multi-link to the rear. Forged aluminium knuckles and suspension arms maintain high speed stability, while anti-roll bars are hollow for lightness. For added strength, the two independent lower wishbones also feature a H-beam profile rather than a traditional L-beam or I-beam.
For such a high performance vehicle, brakes with incredible power are needed for absolute control in all conditions. With this in mind, two-piece disc brakes made of Carbon Ceramic Material (CCM) are fitted in the LFA as standard. The CCM discs were chosen for their lightweight nature, stopping ability and long service life. Being 5kg lighter than steel disc brakes reduces unsprung weight which improves steering precision, grip and dynamic ability. The addition of an Electronically Controlled Brake system helps ensure maximum braking performance.
The LFA's sleek and athletic body is the result of hundreds of hours of wind-tunnel testing and thousands of hours of computer modelling. Extensive airflow diagnostics and engineering have resulted in excellent front and rear downforce distribution, superb high-speed stability and an exotic yet aerodynamic profile.MORE ABOUT THE LFA'S AERODYNAMIC DESIGN
The LFA has a smooth underbody that generates significant downforce at high speeds. This flat undertray works together with a carbon-fibre rear diffuser to make a significant contribution to LFA's excellent high-speed handling.
The LFA's shape has been carefully sculpted to manage airflow for superb racetrack performance. Lean and muscular, yet at the same time extraordinarily graceful, the LFA combines dynamic styling with deep artistry.MORE ABOUT THE LFA'S L FINESSE DESIGN
Form follows function on the new LFA. The entire body is sculpted to support the ultra-high speed driving. There are hundreds of features designed for performance, all executed with artistic finesse, for example:
"Lexus L-finesse design on the LFA echoes the philosophy of Akido, the Japanese martial art. It is about attaining maximum effect from minimal movement. But it's also about understanding how much dynamism, how much power, how much purity we can convey subtly, nearly subliminally."
The interior of the LFA features a geometrical form that highlights the central spine of the car. Meticulously finished, the cockpit is a tribute to the skills of the craftspeople who build it by hand. With the focus firmly on the driver and a highly controlled driving experience, the LFA is the perfect blend of practicality and luxury.MORE ABOUT THE LFA'S INTERIOR DESIGN
Every beautiful detail counts in the LFA's search for speed.
A wide range of bespoke leathers and other high-quality materials can be chosen for the interior upholstery.
The LFA's carbon fibre steering wheel has been designed for ultimate driver control.
All major controls have been condensed to create a beautifully driver-focussed cockpit. Features include:
All the luxury and practicality you expect from Lexus is available with the LFA's impressive centre console.
The LFA began with a thorough list of 500 essential musts and this became the list that all future Lexus vehicles would be measured against. As a result, the F Sport vehicles in the Lexus range have been upgraded with new, LFA-inspired technology, design features and characteristics.
*LFA Nürburgring Package
**Includes electric seats, satellite navigation, air conditioning and Mark Levinson® audio system