Samurai Supercar: 2012 Lexus LFA, Maxim, February, 2010
Nice but neutered. Such was the reputation of Lexus - until they finally dropped a Ferrari-slaying supercar onto the gearhead galaxy after years of speculation. Naturally, we were there to greet it - the only LFA prototype in the country, that is - at Fontana, California's Auto Club Speedway. A few hot laps left us practically breathless (as a stratospheric supercar should; anything less and we would've been pissed). Its V-10 whines and roars with slack-soiling sonority, and the surprisingly touchy throttle and flat handling show a willingness to slip pedal. Thing's crazy. Order now to get yours next year - only 500 will be made. This supercar is so unlikely it may never happen again.
Assembled at Toyota's F1 engine plant, the cylinder liners of the LFA's 55s hp V-10 are sprayed with a layer of iron plasma that's one molecule thick. The power plant revs from idle to 9,500 rpm in 0.6 seconds. Easy on the throttle, Jack!
The LFAs' price tag is stratospheric thanks in part to its carbon-fiber chassis, trimming its total weight to around 3,300 pounds. The lightweight roof header rail was built using the world's only circular carbon-fiber loom. Would've been a bitch to crochet!
The LFA's center of gravity is less than 18 inches off the ground, due in part to an engine whose cam covers dip below the tops of the front tires. A torque tube mates to the mill using a counter gear, which keeps the chassis lower than a worm's balls.
Higher speeds call for stability, so a wing lifts above 50 mph helping to create up to 522 pounds of downforce. To keep things tidy, a flat surface fills in the gap when the wing is deployed - for a more aesthetically pleasing blur.
The analog-looking tachometer is actually a projected LCD image. Push a button on the steering wheel and more gauges are revealed, including one that measures how many inches are being virtually added to your wang.
The LFA's Learjet-wrapped-in-lambskin exhaust note wasn't accidental. Performers from Yamaha's musical instruments division helped engineer and tune its sound. Maybe the coolest thing band geeks have ever done?