What is it?
The LFA is Lexus’s long awaited first supercar. Six years in the making, and subject to a major rethink mid development, the LFA faces a fair amount of expectation.
Still, the final on-paper stats certainly justify the supercar billing. A bespoke 4.8-litre V10 producing 552bhp and revving to 9000rpm. A transaxle six-speed automated sequential gearbox. Extensive use of carbonfibre reinforced plastic for the chassis construction and body panels. Conventional rear-wheel drive, and no hybrid drive. The LFA also comes with a supercar price tag of 375,000 euros (£343,000).
What’s it like?
At first very Lexus like. The styling is pretty out there, but the attention to detail, and production is absolutely first rate. Open the doors, bonnet or boot and you’ll find exposed carbonfibre, but carbon that it is so beautifully finished you find yourself starring at it.
Similarly the interior is incredibly well finished, with a mixture of leather, carbon, aluminium and a super high tech TFT screen rev-counter. The best detail though are the pedals which simply exquisite – each one a single piece of forged aluminium. So the typical Lexus virtues of quality and refinement are very much intact in even this, its most extreme model.
That impression doesn’t change when you first twist the conventional key and press the steering wheel mounted starter button. The engine flares a little as it catches, but then settles to an idle as smooth and restful as any other Lexus.
Prod the throttle, though, and the LFA hints a character about as far removed from any existing Lexus as you could possibly imagine. The engine revs rise and fall so quickly and with such a sharp timbre that it feels like a pure race engine. While a torque figure of 354 lb ft may look a little weedy next to rivals with larger capacity engines, or forced induction, there is no shortage of straight-line performance.
Lexus’s claim of 0-62mph in 3.7sec and a top speed of 202mph feel completely believable. You just need to keep the revs up to get the most from the engine. That's not something you’ll mind doing, because from 6000rpm onwards the engine produces one of the best engine notes of any car on sale. It’s similar to a V10 BMW M5, but higher pitched and a lot louder; more like a Carrera GT.