The Lexus LFA supercar won’t have a successor anytime soon, as the Japanese luxury carmaker plan to will focus on its F Sport tuner packages as well as F-series high-performance variants to boost the marque’s performance image. The main reason, however, lies with the fact that a supercar typically has a very high price tag.
Mark Templin, executive vice president of Lexus International, told Automotive News in January at the Detroit Auto Show that the carmaker doesn’t have a plan for an LFA successor “right now," although a halo nameplate will be offered in the future. Lexus built the very limited LFA -- positioned as the ultimate expression of the brand’s quality and performance -- from December 2010 to December 2012 Toyota City.
The supercar, however, was sold out even before its production commenced. He quipped that when the LFA project was started, it was visualized as a coupe for “people to move up in the family.”
He remarked that as Lexus started developing the LFA, it got better and better and turned into a real supercar. The LFA was something that defined Lexus’ new image, which is being carried on by its mainstream vehicles, as the carmaker get serious about F Sport and F-series track-inspired editions.
Templin remarked that the LFA was a great project that inspired Lexus engineers, adding that the carmaker learned a lot that is helping it with all its other products -- steering precision and suspensions and lightweight materials.
The new Lexus LFA is considered as a new milestone in the history of the brand and the development of the supercar. Starting as a "clean-sheet" design, the new LFA was a product of a small yet passionate team of engineers who managed to explore new boundaries of materials and engineering. As a result of their concerted effort, these engineers were able to build a new car like no other Lexus before it.
Featuring an advanced carbon fiber construction, Lexus LFA is served by a high-revving 4.8-liter naturally aspirated V10 engine that delivers 552 bhp. Paired to a rear-mounted six-speed sequential automatic transmission, this V10 mill allows the LFA to have a top speed exceeding 200 mph.
Chief Engineer Haruhiko Tanahashi called the rear-wheel drive LFA as a thoroughbred supercar engineered to deliver a supreme driving experience. He noted that Lexus has been pushing every boundary in pursuit of supreme driving experience, adding that the LFA is so far Lexus’ most driver-orientated car.
During the development of the new LFA, Lexus inked a mission to keep its weight to an absolute minimum. With this mission, Lexus decided to stop using aluminum for its construction and instead employ advanced carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) for its chassis and bodywork.
Interestingly, Lexus opted not to have the CFRP structure of the LFA sourced from a third-party supplier, and instead use its own capabilities to build it. Thus, Lexus drew on Toyota’s heritage in textile weaving technology to develop new carbon fiber looms as well as a laser system that could monitor the integrity of the material.
Since CFRP is around four times stronger than aluminum, it gives the LFA a very stiff and strong structure. Furthermore, CFRP is also lighter than aluminum, allowing the LFA to be around 100 kg less heavy than an equivalent aluminum body. In fact, CFRP and aluminum alloy are employed for 65 percent and 35 percent, respectively, of the LFA’s body-in-white. Interestingly, the resin technology implemented on the new LFA is the same as those preferred by aerospace programs for its weight and strength attributes.