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2011 Lexus LFA Preview

2011 Lexus LFA Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2010
2011 Lexus LFACritical Knowledge:
  • Lexus' first supercar
  • Flagship of the "F model" range
  • Mid-mounted, 552-hp, 4.8-liter V-10 engine
  • 6-speed automated sequential gearbox transmission
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • Top speed of 202 mph
  • Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) construction
  • Carbon ceramic brake discs
  • Limited to just 500 hand-assembled units
  • Lease-only policy in the United States
  • Production begins in December 2010
Introduction
Lexus introduced the IS F, a high-performance variant of its compact IS-series sedan, in early 2009 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The enthusiast-oriented vehicle featured a 416-hp engine mated to an 8-speed transmission. Oversized brakes, re-tuned suspension, and an upgraded interior completed the package. The IS F was the first of the new "Lexus F" models-a new high-performance division for the automaker (the "F" marque, conceived years ago, originally referred to "flagship").

The automaker is following the IS F with its first supercar, the "LFA." After years of speculation, the all-new model debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show in late 2009 and will go on sale early in 2011. The innovative two-seater is constructed of lightweight alloys and carbon fiber. A race-inspired V-10 engine sits mid-mounted within its chassis. Limited to a production run of just 500 units, and only available as a lease during its first couple of years to keep speculators at bay, the Lexus LFA promises the innovation and performance to compete with the top exotics around the globe.

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2011 Lexus LFADesign
Lexus is currently planning the LFA only as a coupe, but an open-top convertible model is expected to debut in the near future. Futuristically sculpted with an interesting mix of convex and concave styling traits, the Lexus LFA features a long wheelbase with short overhangs. The cabin is low-slung, emphasizing the mid-engine layout. The carbon-fiber construction and styling is unique-but purposeful. Lexus says the dramatic curves, shapes and sharp edges lend themselves to the vehicle's sophisticated aerodynamics.

The LFA features a cockpit fitted with the finest materials, according to the automaker. With a driver-centric design, the cabin is intimate. According to Lexus, all aspects of the passenger compartment-ergonomics, acoustics, materials, comfort, versatility and visibility-have been painstakingly engineered to put the driver at the center of the driving experience.

Hardware
Mid-mounted in the chassis of the LFA supercar is an all-new, 4.8-liter V-10 engine. Manufactured from lightweight alloys, the compact engine is rated at 552 horsepower and it develops 354 lb.-ft. of torque (90 percent of the torque is delivered between 3700 rpm and 9000 rpm). The engine is bolted to a 6-speed Automated Sequential Gearbox (ASG) with paddle-activated shifting for optimal driver control. Putting the power to the ground is a standard Torsen limited-slip differential. In a unique manner, the exhaust exits out three center-mounted pipes.With dry sump lubrication (the oil is stored in a secondary external reservoir) the engine is mounted low in the chassis to reduce the center of gravity. The overall weight distribution is 48/52 (front/rear), minimizing weight transfer during cornering, improving performance and increasing stability. The suspension is double-wishbone up front, and multi-link in the rear. The 6-piston front brakes and 4-piston rears are manufactured with high-performance carbon-ceramic rotor compounds for heat and wear resistance, and the standard wheels are 20-inch alloys. According to Lexus, the top speed of the rear-wheel-drive LFA is 202 mph. Special aerodynamic aids, including a flat underbody, diffuser, and a speed-controlled rear wing help with stability at high velocities.

2011 Lexus LFATechnology
Lexus developed an all-new V-10 engine for the LFA. Constructed of aluminum, magnesium and titanium alloys, the engine is very lightweight and compact for its 4.8 liters of displacement (the automaker says it is smaller than most V-8 engines). The powerplant features 10 electronically controlled individual throttle bodies for precise fuel delivery and quick throttle response-half the response time of a normal single throttle body, says Lexus. In addition, titanium valves and ultra-lightweight rocker arms allow the engine to spin to a high 9000 rpm redline. The 6-speed transmission features heavy-duty synchronizer rings and a newly developed gearshift actuator for better shift feel. The driver is able to choose between four shift stages with the fastest mode delivering a gear upshift in as little as two tenths of a second, the automaker claims. According to Lexus, the intake and exhaust sounds have been coordinated to create a unique, exciting and inspired soundtrack.

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