What is it?
It is, of course, now de rigueur for almost every manufacturer to namecheck the Nürburgring when they’ve a new sports car to sell. But Lexus has more justification than most for doing so, because its LFA supercar has won its class in the Nürburgring 24 Hours three years running.
Which is all the excuse it needs to bequeath ‘Nürburgring Package’ upon 10 per cent of the 500 LFAs that it will build. Visually, said package includes a bigger front spoiler with added winglets, more effective side skirts and a fixed carbonfibre rear wing. Together, they help to produce a third more downforce than the standard car.
But with downforce comes drag, so the 4.8-litre V10 engine has been tickled up 11bhp to 562bhp to allow claimed performance to remain unchanged. Lowered suspension, track-day tyres, different wheels and a carbon and Alcantara interior complete the picture. All told, it adds £63,600 (nearly a 911) to the £339,500 list price of the standard car.
What’s it like?
No prizes for guessing where I drove it. A sighting lap in a standard LFA provided a useful reference point before climbing into the great orange beast and heading off around the Nordschleife to try my luck.
Much will come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the LFA’s fortunes of late.
It’s artillery shell quick in a straight line, makes Desert-Island-Disc-grade noise at 9000rpm and stops so fast it hurts. What the ’Ring package does most notably, apart from making the car an unspecified number of seconds quicker, is to make it easier to drive.
You notice the extra grip, but it’s mainly mechanical and down to the new suspension and tyres. The downforce is not the kind that lets you drive upside down; it just makes the car feel more settled on its springs, less tippy-toed into the ’Ring’s many fast, bumpy curves. The extra pace comes in part from the car but mainly from a driver made more confident to push it hard.
Should I buy one
Of course, the money is insane but, at this rate, only one or two will come to the UK. So if the price doesn’t matter and you want a car to make Veyrons look common, once you drive it, it’ll pretty much sell itself.