Why the Lexus LFA Failed… or Did It Actually Fail?

The luxury arm of Toyota division, Lexus built their very first supercar, a well designed and hand crafted Japanese piece of art work that took a whooping 10 years to mould, fabricate and add all its bells and whistles. With only 500 examples of these Japanese masterpieces ever created, it was a Japanese exotic sports car with the best sounding engine tone to ever come out of a production car. An exotic car everyone wanted to like but no one bought.

The Lexus LFA

The Lexus LFA car was built to create hype and to bring in some fresh and new customers different from the luxury long-wheel base sedan that Lexus was already known for like the LS400. The Lexus LFA was also the car to potray the vision statement of future Lexus cars to roll off the production lines in the future, in other words a very special sauce that woukd trickle down the rest of the Toyota line-up. The very first Lexus LFA was completed in June 2003 which is the first concept car, 2 years later in 2005, the second concept car was revealed and then then finally in the year 2009 the true Lexus LFA we see on the roads today was born and it was presented by Akio Toyota himself. L for Lexus, F for Fuji Speedway and then A for Apex. That is the meaning of the initials LFA.

What makes the Lexus LFA so Special?The chassis of the LFA is carbon fiber, the body panels ; carbon fiber, the hood; carbon fiber, the steering wheel; carbon fiber, and so is every interior detail of the car. Carbon fiber everywhere the eyes can see. But in the early 2000’s only a very small handful of car manufacturers could afford to make their cars from this special carbon fiber material. Infact the original Lexus LFA was made with Aluminum but with 4 years of tons of testing and hard research work, Lexus decided to change their minds to switch to carbon fiber.

The special Lexus LFA came with a V10 engine which is the size of a V8 engine but weighs less than a V6 engine. It makes 553 HP, 354 LB-FT of Torque, a 4.8 L naturally aspirated engine and it could do 0-60 in 3.6s and top out at 202 MPH at 9000 RPM red line and a 9500 RPM fuel shut-off just to keep things safe and also keep the engine from blowing up.

How does the Lexus LFA sound so pleasing to the ears?

Well, it’s made with forged titanium conrods, aluminium pistons, solid titanium valves and magnesium alloy cylinder head covers ; very expensive but light weight metals to make an engine with an F1 pedigree. The engine gets it’s air from a dual-stage variable intake manifold, the air then gets passed on to 10 individual throttle bodies before screaming out of rhe dual-stage titanium mufflers and inside the intake system is a surge tank which further helps to give the Lexus LFA it’s sweet induction sound. But the icing on the cause of this lovely sound comes from YAMAHA, Infact, the whole engine was co-developed by YAMAHA and YAMAHA started originally as a piano and organ company, they know how to make instruments sound really good and the Lexus LFA was treated by YAMAHA as just another instrument to them and in true Lexus fashion it was designed to enhance the driving experience of LFA with sounds piped directly into the cabin.

The engine of a Lexus LFA

In the interior of the Lexus LFA, all the sounds from the sweet and melodious V10 naturally aspirated engine is channeled into the interior of the car through 3 channels of sound pipes, the first sound is from the intake pipes which gets channeled into the dashboard area below the main deck panel. The other 2 sound chambers are in the upper cowel opening and the rear reflector. The upper cowel in the interior of the Lexus LFA brings in mid to high range tones while the lower reflector pulls in resonant engine sounds, and all these 3 sound channels combine to create a 3D surround sound concept. It is pure engone sound acoustics that you can’t get in any other car. The Lexus LFA comes with very comfy and sporty bucket seats with 8 way power adjustable controls to keep you locked into your seat when you decide to take your special Lexus LFA to the track to have fun with it.

The interior of the Lexus LFA

So why did the Lexus LFA Fail?

By the time the Lexus LFA came into the exotic sports car marker in 2012, after over a decade of it’s initial concept car, these guys; the Nissan GTR, the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, the Lamborghini Murcielago

Nissan GTR
Chevrolet Corvette ZR1
Lamborghini Murcielago

and plenty of other fast sports cars had already hit the market effectively stealing the spotlight that Lexus had hoped to achieve with the Lexus LFA.

It’s Japanese rival; the Nissan GTR in particular stole the Lexus LFA spotlight, a sports car that was 5 times cheaper than the Lexus LFA and arguably a better performing sports car. In summary, the Lexus LFA’s greatest rival ended up being it’s greatest enemy which is TIME. And because it took so long for Lexus to come out with the Lexus LFA, there were certain things that they couldn’t go back to the drawing board and change; things like the 6 speed single clutch transmission that came with the Lexus LFA when it should have coke with a dual-clutch transmission coupled with the fact that Lexus wouldn’t even allow you to buy a Lexus LFA outright but rather they woukd lease it to you only through a Lexus dealership and even with only 500 examples of the Lexus LFA made, dealerships didn’t sell out and to compound everything, the Lexus LFA wasn’t even marketed well at all.

But what the Lexus LFA did do right is the fact that the newer models of Lexus vehicles like the Lexus LC500 and Lexus RCF got their styling cues and designs from the Lexus LFA coupled with it’s carbon fiber frames and light weight materials. The Lexus LC 500 has Lexus LFA secret sauce written all over it.

Lexus LC 500

Photo credits: Google Images

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Lexus LFA Engine Sound

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One Response

  1. Eugene Litterer March 24, 2020

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