How Much for a Kidney: Lexus LF-A

Where to begin with such an unobtainable machine. The previous instalment of this How Much for a Kidney featured the relatively affordable BMW 1M that can be purchased through Autotrader right now for $62,900 Canadian loonies. This is not a small sum, but when compared to the price of the LF-A it’s nothing.

1 - Lexus LF-A Front

Another search on Autotrader shows that there are currently no LF-As for sale in are beautiful Northern home. This is not surprising given that only 500 examples were ever made. I do know that at least one car came to Canada back in 2011 as I distinctively remember hounding my local Lexus dealer to let me have a look at it. They said no. I didn’t have the $413,000 required to purchase it, so suffice to say they didn’t appreciate my interest. If you are looking to peruse the classifieds for Lexus’s flagship you must search farther afield than any local listing. The international high-end used car website (that also sells used yachts and private jets to your average bazillionaire) have a bright red LF-A for $431,800 (US) selling out of California. Just like the 1M, the LF-A has increased in price since ceasing production.

2 - Lexus LF-A Back

Yes it looks pretty in pictures, but it’s very expensive, so why would I give up my hard-grown organs for one? Because of the noise. Go to YouTube. Go now. Search LF-A launch. Do not turn your volume up to max or your speakers and ears will die.

Back now? That was a naturally aspirated V10 at 9,000rpm. Very few cars have engines that rev to that stratospheric level. This is more the land of motorcycles and might explain the fact that Yamaha co-developed the engine with Lexus. Let us also not forget that Toyota (Lexus’s parent company) had a team in F1 from 2002-09, so they know a thing or two about developing screamingly loud engines. This beast can go from idle to redline in 0.6 seconds, making an analog tachometer obsolete as only a digital version can accurately monitor this type of engine speed. The exact figures are 553bhp and 354 torques. Now, that peak power figure is reached at 8,700rpm, so revving to the limit is not just fun but necessary for max power. Or at least that’s what I would tell myself to make me feel like less of a hoonigan (it’s a car word, to hoon, look it up).

3 - Lexus LFA Tachometer

The rest of the car is just as high tech as the engine. Similar to both F1 and road specific Mclarens the LF-A comes with a carbon-fibre monocoque. In laymen’s terms this means that the cockpit of the car is surrounded by an incredibly strong “shell” that protects any occupants and also improves the overall stiffness of the vehicle. Carbon fibre is a lot more expensive to manufacture when compared to steel or aluminium, and is generally reserved for cars in the higher echelons of the automotive world.

4 - Lexus LF-A Carbon Fibre Monocoque

The gestation period for the LF-A was a long one, but clearly worth the wait. Initial development for the project began in February 2000 with the goal of showcasing the might of Toyota. The first prototype was completed in 2003 and over the next eight years numerous development test vehicles were spotted at the Nurburgring along with three continually improved concept cars at the worlds premiere auto shows. The actual production vehicle didn’t reach customer’s driveways until 2011. This decade long gestation period wasn’t initially planned, but Toyota says it was required to ensure the desired result.

Each example was hand made be a dedicated production team, and each engine received the signature of the individual who assembled it. Lexus’s more mainstreamed models are made on the same production line as each other, meaning the IS and ES are made side-by-side, whereas the LF-A received it’s own production line. All 500 models were made from December 2010 to December 2012, with an average of 20 per month.

5 - Lexus LF-A Production Line

The LF-A wasn’t exactly an easy car to acquire. North America was allotted 150 units and unlike in most car purchases, where you simple walk-in a buy the car, Lexus NA only allowed you to order an LF-A if you signed an agreement allowing the company first refusal to buy back the car if you decided to sell it within the initial two years of ownership. This was to ensure that very few examples of the LF-A made it to the used car market within the first few years of the car’s launch. In Europe you could only purchase an LF-A (outright this time) from a single dealership in London. These particular selling methods only heightened the car’s “specialness”.

Before the first examples of the LF-A even reached the greedy hands of their owners there had already been talk of a high-performance variant emerging after the initial launch. The LF-A Nurburgring Package was created to mimic the LF-A race car from the 24 hour Nurburgring race, and brought an additional 10bhp, faster shift-times, and a host of aerodynamic enhancements, all for the low, low price of $490,000. Doesn’t seem like you got that much more for such a big hike over the base car’s asking price, but you were really paying for exclusivity as the Nurburgring Package was limited to only 50 units of the 500 car run.

6 - Lexus LF-A Nurburgring Package

Rumours also initially suggested that Lexus would release on LF-A Roadster a few months after the 500 coupes had finished rolling off the production line, but it now looks like that won’t be happening due to a struggling Japanese economy. This is a pity for auto enthusiasts like us, but great news for current LF-A owners as it means their residual values won’t be watered down by any additional production runs.

7 - Lexus LF-A Roadster Concept

The LF-A represented a dynamic shift in design language for Lexus, and also showed that Toyota still had the ability to create a dynamic drivers car.


~ by ubercar on January 21, 2014.

One Response to “How Much for a Kidney: Lexus LF-A”

  1. Woah! I went to youtube and how cool is the Aussie chrome LFA! Great read, thanks man

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