Everything you need to know about the coveted Japanese supercar – Robb Report


Production of the Lexus LFA may have ceased a decade ago, but its stature has only increased in the years since.

That’s because the Lexus racing-derived supercar is a true rarity. It is not only that only 500 examples were built in the two years that it was in production (2010-2012), but because it is a unique model in the 33-year history of the Japanese luxury brand. There was nothing like it before it came off the line, and there has been nothing like it since.

This is why collectors can go a little crazy on the rare occasions an LFA is put into play. Just look what happened when an Ohio-based dealer listed a barely driven LFA once owned by hotel heiress and socialite Paris Hilton a couple of years ago. The sale price: $448,900, or 20 percent more than the new vehicle costs. Thing is, it was actually a bargain: other examples have sold for much more in the meantime.

Whether it’s the model’s rarity, its naturally aspirated V-10, or those sleek, understated lines, the LFA remains an object of growing fascination for collectors and enthusiasts alike. Here’s everything we know about one of the most intriguing supercars of the 21st century.

Paris Hilton in her Lexus LFA which is currently for sale.

Paris Hilton in her Lexus LFA.

Photo: Courtesy of Marshall Goldman.

Engine, specifications and performance

The LFA was first dreamed up by Akio Toyoda, the CEO of Lexus’ parent company Toyota, during the early years. The executive desperately wanted to build a car that would rival the best sports cars coming out of Italy and Germany and put the onus on two things: performance and handling. Three prototypes were unveiled during the nearly decade the car was in development: The LFA was part of the Lexus Future (LF) line of concepts, with the A in its name standing for “Apex,” but when it was ready for production, Akio’s vision had come true.

The coupe is powered by a front center mounted naturally aspirated 4.8-liter DOHC V-10 derived from Tokyo Racing’s race car mill and developed in conjunction with Yamaha. Power is mated to a rear-mounted Aisin six-speed automated manual gearbox that sends 553 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque to the rear axle (the Nürburgring Package variant has a specially tuned engine that delivers 562 hp). . No less impressive, the 10-cylinder engine could rev up to 9,000 rpm in just a Half a second. Because of this, the car had to be fitted with a digital tachometer to display engine speed, as an analog version couldn’t keep up.

The Lexus LFA's 4.8-liter DOHC V-10 engine

The LFA’s naturally aspirated 4.8-liter DOHC V-10 engine


Thanks to all that power, the LFA can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds, hit the quarter mile in 11.5 seconds, and hit a top speed of 206 mph. Traveling at that kind of speed is exhilarating, a feeling only intensified by the LFA’s racing-inspired engine sound. As one Toyota engineer put it, the supercar’s engine emits the “roar of an angel.”

A carbon fiber exterior

From the start, the LFA was designed to be a high-performance beast. Of course, sports cars and supercars should look great, but Kengo Matsumoto and the rest of the Lexus Design team focused more on function than style. If an essential element of vehicle aesthetics had to be sacrificed to improve aerodynamic performance, so be it. This is why the LFA is one of the most discreet supercars of the last decade.

The 2012 Lexus LFA in Steel Gray

2012 Lexus LFA in Steel Gray

RM Sotheby’s

The LFA is a sleek coupe that rides low to the ground. The carbon fiber exterior has a long nose, tall rear end and sharp edges, all of which combine to create as much downforce as possible. There’s also a variety of air intakes and vents, most notably just behind the side windows and above the rear fenders designed to help cool the engine and brakes. The icing on the cake, though, is the speed-sensitive rear wing that goes up when you go over 50mph. All of these elements combine to give the car a decidedly athletic look, especially when compared to other Lexus models. The brand also offered many color options to help buyers personalize their LFA. Customers could choose from 28 body colors, along with three wheel colors. Special order shades were also available.

The bodywork of the LFA is no less impressive. Even by supercar standards, it’s light, tipping the scales at a relatively paltry 3,559 pounds. Lexus found ways to minimize weight throughout the vehicle’s construction, but this is especially true of its bodywork. It’s not unusual to see a car fitted with features designed to reduce curb weight, but the LFA’s bodywork leaned heavily on carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer. In fact, 65 percent of the car’s body is made of this feather-light material.

A bespoke interior

Inside the 2012 Lexus LFA

RM Sotheby’s

Performance isn’t necessarily the first thing people think of when the name Lexus comes to mind. However, luxury is. And of course, the LFA offers the kind of luxurious interior the brand is known for.

The cabin features a two-tone color scheme, and everything, including the two bucket seats, is covered in luxury materials like fine leather and alcantara, which are elegantly accented with carbon fiber and metal. The driver’s cabin features a digital TFT display that changes color to warn you if you’re approaching the red line. The steering wheel includes alloy paddle shifters and a right-mounted ignition button (though you’ll still have to insert the key). The LFA predates the infotainment trend of recent years, but it does have a rear-view camera and a 12-speaker Mark Levinson sound system. In an interesting twist, it originally came with a set of custom-made Tumi bags that matched the color scheme of the cabin.

The interior of the LFA has a sporty feel that makes it clear you’re sitting in a high-performance vehicle. Adding to this dynamic is the fact that Lexus channeled two-octaves of engine noise into the cabin. Not only will you feel the roar of the engine when you accelerate, but you’ll hear it loud and clear.

Inside the 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring package

The steering wheel and driver’s cabin of the LFA


Why it was only in production for two years

Lexus built just 500 examples of the LFA (436 “regular” models and 64 Nurburgring package variants) between 2010 and 2012, 190 of which were for the US market. The decision to keep production so low appears to have been intentional. The company was selective in choosing buyers for the LFA, opening up pre-orders in 2009 but only deciding who would be the lucky recipient in 2010. Owners wanted to sell it quickly for a profit, but the brand decided to offer it to a select group of buyers. Lexus only hand-built 20 examples per month, and each one came with a numbered plate signed by the specialist who had assembled the vehicle.

Still, it’s easy to wonder how much demand there really was for the car in its early years. Although production of the supercar ended in 2012, the supercar remained in batches until the end of the decade. At least 43 new LFAs were sold in North America after 2013, with three of those sales coming in 2020. It’s unclear how much dealers charged for those last zombie LFAs, but it’s safe to say few would have predicted the car. it would fetch double its retail value a decade later.

A 3/4 front view of the 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring package in black

2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring Package in Black on Black

RM Sotheby’s

Reviews of the LFA were solid at the time of its launch, but when you look at publicly available sales figures, it’s easy to wonder if the vehicle was ahead of its time. Regardless, it looks like car lovers have finally caught up.

Could the LFA make a comeback?

December 14 this year will mark the 10th anniversary of the last LFA, a white variant of the Nurburgring package, to roll off the line. In the time since production ceased, the brand gave no indication that it would revive the nameplate, even as reverence for the supercar has grown. However, that could change in the near future.

Earlier this year, Lexus shared the first images of an all-electric supercar concept that the company has been secretly working on. The battery-powered speed machine is currently nameless, but various outlets have reported that it is internally regarded as a spiritual successor to the LFA. Since the EV won’t be out until 2025, there’s still a lot of work to be done, but it will sport sleek, streamlined bodywork made mostly of carbon composite and an all-electric powertrain that should please even the most snobbish of enthusiasts. The news from Japan is that the car will be able to accelerate from zero to 60 mph in less than two seconds and travel more than 400 miles on a single charge.

A 3/4 rear view of the Lexus LFA in Pearl Red

2012 Lexus LFA in Pearl Red

RM Sotheby’s

Only time will tell if it can meet the lofty standards set by the LFA, but it’s good to know the company hasn’t given up on performance vehicles that push the limits yet.

How much does the LFA sell for now??

The base price of the LFA was about $375,000, but with plenty of options that could easily push the price closer to $400,000. The performance-oriented variant with the Nürburgring package was even more expensive, priced at $445,000, making it one of the most expensive Japanese road cars ever built.

2012 Lexus LFA from behind with the doors open


Prices, as is often the case when a car is rare and revered, have risen significantly in the decade since the supercar’s production ceased. Hilton’s LFA, which had just 3,990 miles at the time of sale, sold for nearly $75,000 more than it originally cost. The price of the supercar has grown exponentially in the two years since then. Hagerty puts the value of a “good condition” LFA at $731,000 and the Nurburgring package variant at $1.4 million at press time. And over the past year, RM Sotheby’s has seen examples of both models sell for even more than that. With only 500 LFAs in stock, if you see one for less than any of those prices, you might want to get it fast.

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