SA’s first Lexus LFA breaks cover


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.'

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The Lexus LFA's wishbone front/multilink rear suspension set-up was track-tuned at the Nurburgring.The cabin is hand-built, with driver-focused ergonomics, and finished in high-quality leather and carbon fibre.

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.

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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