Lexus LF-A: supercar making its debut

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After four years of waiting, the official debut of the Japanese ultra sports car will take place at the Tokyo Motor Show

After four years of waiting, the official debut of the Japanese ultra sports car will take place at the Tokyo Motor Show

One wonders if Lexus technicians take into consideration that the LF-A, the 325 km / h supercar that will make its debut in a few days at the Tokyo Motor Show, must truly be a product of image and substance, capable of “seriously” creating a reputation for competitor in effect for Ferrari, Lamborghini is Audi R8. In short, the gotha of the world supersport scene, which sees the European berlinettas with hundreds of horses produced in Italy in first place in preferences.

This is to say that i four years of waiting which served as a prelude to the final presentation of the LF-A (which, according to plans, will be produced from the beginning of 2010 to the first months of 2012, and will also leave room for a version designed for use on the track) must have been well spent, and must allow the super coupe produced by the luxury brand of the Toyota group to secure a solid market niche.

Only 500 units for the 325 km / h supercoupé

Meanwhile, here’s a first piece of news: the Lexus LF-A will be “for some”, and not necessarily “rich and that’s it”: even if it will cost 300 thousand euros and pre – orders begin in these days (concurrently, therefore, with première at the Tokyo Motor Show), will be produced in 500 specimens, and will be delivered – starting from the end of 2010 – to a small circle of selected customers.

With this car, the Japanese manufacturer wanted to give one decisive steering to your own image. Top-of-the-range cars, indeed exclusive, but with a sporty character that oozes power from every millimeter of the body. In fact, the intent desired by the Lexus engineers and designers is to break into the “supersport” panorama dominated by the Italian brands (Ferrari and Lamborghini in the lead).

The basic characteristics confirm this will: the engine – as already leaked in recent days – is the 4.8 liter V10 made with extensive use of light metals (aluminum, magnesium and titanium alloy) and credited with a power of 560 hp at 8700 rpm which can be maintained over a wide range of revolutions, from 3700 to 9000, as well as a value of truck torque: 480 Nm.

Thus “equipped” the Lexus LF-A is able to reach, according to the first data provided by the House, 325 km / h and to be projected from 0 to 100 km / h in 3.7 seconds. As if to say: prestige aside, the basic performance is equivalent to that provided by the Ferrari 458 Italia which offers 570 HP at 9000 rpm, has a torque of 540 Nm at 6000 rpm, reaches 325 km / h and 100 km / h with standing start in 3.4 seconds).

A racing car

Looking at the structure of the LF-A, it seems that the plates are there by accident. There car body it is made of plastic reinforced with carbon fiber elements; the group engine – transmission (Six-speed “sequential automatic” ASG gearbox with driver-adjustable gearshift speed choosing from four different modes: Auto, Sport, Normal and Wet), the heaviest element of the car, has been placed within the wheelbase, with the gearbox and petrol tank positioned in front of the rear to ensure a center of gravity as low and central as possible.

Equally central is the driving position which allows the driver to be halfway between the front and rear axles and between the left and right side of the LF-A.

All these features, combined with the arrangement of the pedal unit integral with the steering column, and in a rather elevated position (just like in racing cars), they seem to make the Lexus LF-A a … Sport Prototype adapted to road use.

On the other hand, as racing tradition dictates, the LF-A is equipped with the sole rear-wheel Drive, the brakes are in carbon-ceramic material “hidden” by 20 “alloy wheels that mount asymmetrical Bridgestone tires from 265/35 ZR 20 at the front and from 305/30 ZR 20 at the rear and, to pass to an aesthetic – aerodynamic nod , L’rear wing is “active”: that is, it rises as speed increases, while the downforce of the air ensures the Japanese supercar a Cx of 0.31.

Four years of development

As if to say: the Lexus technicians wanted to “exaggerate”. On the other hand, the gestation of this car was long, very long: four years, during which several specimens, more and less camouflaged, have ringed hours and hours of rehearsal sessions that were mostly carried out on the historic route of the Nordschleife at the Nurburgring: what’s better than trying the development of a car through over 22 km of curves and counter-curves of the German track?

From 2005 Detroit Auto Show, when it was presented, at the Tokyo Motor Show 2009 (where the definitive version will be seen), the LF-A received, in order: a 5-liter V10, a “hybrid” V8 (according to a well-known technical tradition of the ), which appeared in 2007 and which would film at the Nurburgring in 7 minutes and 24 seconds (16 ″ faster than rival Porsche 997 Turbo), a body type roadster (in 2008), so … just to confuse the fans who, from moment to moment, awaited an “official” version, up to the current model, prefigured this year at the 24 Hours of Nurburgring (now a “home track” ”For Lexus) in which an LF-A was brought to the race by Akio Toyoda, in everyday life President of Toyota.

Now, the Lexus LF-A is presented in Tokyo. One wonders if he will manage to undermine the world domination of Ferrari and Lamborghini.

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