The LFA – A New GREED of Lexus?
So a long time friend of mine and I were having a discussion the other day while he was graciously helping me with a front end alignment on my Maxima. Side note: I have this issue with paying for anything I know I can do myself. Problem is, doing a quality front end alignment with today’s wheel and tire specs would require special, expensive equipment. Hence, I have my good friend graciously help! But I digress…
Our discussion steered onto the path of the Lexus LFA. I had mentioned the recent marketing machine Lexus has unleashed on mainstream media, most notably television and online. You all have seen the commercial; the LFA sits on a dyno inside of what appears to be a clean room designed by someone from TLC. Harmonics from the admittedly gorgeous sounding engine decimate a champagne flute which has been oddly placed in front of a microphone relaying the mechanical tune.
Much less obvious is the subliminal marketing message that is actually being sent; You can’t afford this, but you might be able to afford one of our IS F’s or LS’s. Come in and see… The focal point of our conversation was the lofty price tag of the LFA, which I could not believe was $375,000. That’s right… nearly 400,000 one dollar bills. This number alone flooded my mind with countless question after question. What type of F1 tech did Toyota (Lexus’ parent) incorporate? What secret skunk works laboratory developed this thing? And of course, how fast could this car go? I was a little surprised at what I found.
Lets look at a few numbers and facts about the LFA in order to present its case: Specs? Just a 4.8 Liter V10 rated at 552 HP redlining at 9,000 RPM, rolling on 60% carbon fiber construction. Performance? Only 0-60 in 3.7 seconds with a top speed of 202 MPH. Okay, not too shabby; not too shabby at all. And certainly don’t forget about the huge ceramic brakes and the one of a kind LCD instrument screen to add to the wow factor. What’s not to like?
Getting back to the point at hand, I thought it only fair to compare my findings to other vehicles carrying similar bloodlines. The car that kept turning up was the Nissan GT-R, of the Japanese Skyline legacy. The Nissan GT-R was released for sale in the US in 2009, and despite rumors of market saturation and expensive dealer requirements, is none the less a performance power to be reckoned with. So how does the GT-R stack up against the incumbent LFA? Lets first take a look at the tale of the tape with the Nissan numbers. Specs include a 3.8 liter twin turbocharged 24 valve V6 rated at 485 HP spinning up to a respectable 7,000 RPM. Performance measures up too; 0-60 in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 193 MPH. Not a whole lot left to be desired here either. Not to mention all four of the 20″ ultra-lightweight forged alloy wheels get power. You are correct sir, the GT-R is all wheel drive.
Interestingly there was one enormous feature I did not find on the Nissan GT-R in my comparison to the Lexus LFA: the price tag. While the performance and technical specifications of the LFA and GT-R stack up very closely, the cost of the vehicles differ drastically. The new 2011 model year GT-R is listed at $84,060, less than one fourth the cost of the upcoming 2012 Lexus supercar. So while you may be light years from affording the newest addition to the Lexus lineup, you can take heart knowing that you are much closer to owning a worthy adversary. In fact, you are closer to owning a fleet of them.