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SA’s first Lexus LFA breaks cover

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IOL mot pic may13 LFA 1

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The Lexus LFA's wishbone front/multilink rear suspension set-up was track-tuned at the Nurburgring.

The first Lexus LFA in South Africa was unveiled in Midrand on Thursday night. One of only 500 to be built and just three destined for the South African market the Lexus LFA brings new meeting to the term “exclusive” - especially at about R5.1 million each, the exact price depending the specification of individual cars and the exchange rate on the day it lands!

Toyota SA president, Dr Johan Van Zyl, said: “The LFA is a thoroughbred supercar, engineered to deliver a supreme driving experience. It's a true collector's item for the most passionate and discerning of motoring enthusiasts and we're very fortunate to have three of these rare vehicles coming to South Africa.'

This one, chassis number 64, has been sold to a Johannesburg businessman; the remaining two LFA's booked for South Africa will follow in the coming 18 months and yes, Cyril, they're both sold.

The LFA has a specially-developed, high-revving, 412kW 4.8-litre naturally aspirated V10 engine driving the rear wheels through a rear-mounted six-speed, paddle-shift sequential automatic transmission. It revs to a wailing 9000rpm red-line, with 480Nm of torque at 7 000rpm, 90 percent of which is available from 3700rpm all the way to the bloodline.

Claimed performance is 0-100km/h in 3.7sec - that's almost 1G of lateral acceleration, meaning your body will be pushed back into the sports bucket seat with a force equal to its own weight when you mash the loud pedal off the line. Top speed is quoted at 325km/h.

And we do mean “loud pedal” - the LFA's acoustics, induction system and exhaust notes have been specially tuned to deliver an awe-inspiring soundtrack both inside and outside. The acoustic design team (yes, there was one) called it “octave harmony”; it's inspired by the sound of a Formula One engine with different harmonic qualities as the revs climb towards the 9 000rpm redline.

IOL mot pic may13 LFA 2

The cabin is hand-built, with driver-focused ergonomics, and finished in high-quality leather and carbon fibre.

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The monocoque and body panels are made of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic to keep the car's weight to a minimum, and are made in-house rather than by a third-party supplier, using special looms also developed by Toyota and a laser monitoring system to guarantee quality.

The wishbone front/multilink rear suspension set-up was track-tuned at the Nurburgring to give the best possible balance between control and comfort.

The compact, hooded instrument panel has an liquid-crystal display with an electronic rev counter, simply because the needle of a traditional analogue “tach” wouldn't be able to keep up with the speed at which this engine's revs rise and fall.

When the revs go above 9000 the display turns red to warn the driver to shift up. It can also be programmed to turn yellow or green when the revs reach a user-selected range. The dial also houses a digital speedometer and gear indicator, transmission mode, vehicle control data and trip information displays.

The Lexus LFA is hand-assembled at the Motomachi plant in Toyota City and a maximum of 20 are built each month. Each V10 engine is assembled by a single technician and bears his signature.


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Anonymous, wrote

IOL Comments
02:17pm on 16 May 2011
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This car is a masterpiece of engineering. If it was just a Toyota, all 500 would not have been sold. If I had the money, I would have bought one. Why be like everyone else?

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Gerrit, wrote

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02:16pm on 16 May 2011
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There was a red one parked in Melrose Arch on the weekend. The 458 just looks a lot better

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Anonymous, wrote

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07:59am on 16 May 2011
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at 20 percent of the price, the gtr offers better value and performance

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Faithloss, wrote

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07:42am on 16 May 2011
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So toyota can bring in this exclusive car but cant get a proper hot hatch or sedan. Every model in our current line up has a 'hot' version overseas, from the supercharged runxauriscorolla all the way down to the yarisaygo. Not to mention all the accessories available overseas for our models, none of which are available here. Its a shame that toyota would rather make a massive 3 people get the car they like as opposed to the minor thousands of enthusiasts here.

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Fanatic, wrote

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10:44pm on 15 May 2011
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Talk abt exclusitivity how many 458's have you seen so far, its not like there are hundreds of them running around, R5 mil is just ridiculous esp for a Lexus.....

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bn, wrote

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08:14pm on 15 May 2011
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I suppose catching alight,as some Ferraris have ,is what you will call Italian pedigree!

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Anonymous, wrote

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07:11pm on 15 May 2011
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AK, you obviously don't understand the difference between driving a true race bred Ferrari versus driving a glorified Toyota. Despite any brilliance this car undoubtedly has, at the end of the day it will always be a Lexus.

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AK, wrote

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12:07pm on 15 May 2011
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you obviously dont understand the term exclusive. you can buy a 458 any day of the week, but this car, this is impossible to buy anymore, all have been sold.

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AK, wrote

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12:06pm on 15 May 2011
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you obviously dont understand the term exclusive. you can buy a 458 any day of the week, but this car, this is impossible to buy anymore, all have been sold.

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Anonymous, wrote

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09:21am on 15 May 2011
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What's the price of a Ferrari 458 Italia? At R5.1m I'll rather go for an Italian supercar with pedigree.

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