2012 Lexus LFA: A wet first drive — CNET

17 Апр 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »
Lexus LFA

2012 Lexus LFA: A wet drive

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With a fiber body and a high-revving engine, the Lexus LFA is one of the most street cars to ever out of Japan. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

As I out of the rain-slicked Turn 2 of Infineon I could feel the rear end of the LFA begin to slip and spin. crap, I thought, how am I going to be to pay for this $375,000 Lexus?

my moment of terror was, the slippery conditions, both and isolated. But before I get into let’s discuss how I came to myself on a wet racetrack behind the exotic vehicle to ever out of Japan.

The day at Infineon Raceway with an introductory session in the IS F sport sedan. Antuan

Lexus LFA performance driving

The day’s instruction didn’t behind the wheel of the LFA. we participants were first the keys to

Lexus’ IS F sport

, a 416 horsepower

Mercedes-Benz C63


challenger the LFA school instructor referred to as capable. which should you an idea of the level of performance to be from Lexus’ first

From the driver’s seat of the IS F, we vehicle balance and weight on a slalom course before a drill the instructors called the of the Curve (ToC) during we took turns rounding Turn 11 until the flow of turn in, apex, and acceleration hammered into our brains.

a helmet fitting and quick in track etiquette and proper position was a lead and follow during which the driving participants chased the instructors in IS Fs) around the long track (as opposed to the NASCAR configuration I drove during the Audi R8 event) to learn the proper line and become accustomed to at speed. Tucked in the center was a radio from which I hear my instructor, who was amazingly a radio in one hand, watching me his rear view mirror, and piloting the course simultaneously.

I was also impressed by the stock IS on-track manners. Power was and the torque delivery was linear and when its automatic transmission was shifted. The handling was also good for the pace at which we the course. Given the choice it and the BMW M3 for a track day, I’d choose the Bimmer, but I don’t I’d be disappointed by either.

The exotic Japanese car ever

it was time to meet the LFA. already extensively discussed the when the supercar debuted in 2009, so I won’t bore you the details. I’ll just you the high points: A 4.8-liter engine screams to  a racy redline, making 553 horsepower and 354 of torque along the way. economy doesn’t really into play when talking about $375,000 but the EPA puts it at about 12 mpg combined.

You may be Big deal, my


makes much power and gets fuel economy to boot! there’s more to the story of a car the LFA than the numbers tell.

For power from the engine is down what Lexus a torque-tube carbon fiber to an automatic transaxle mounted at the of the vehicle where torque is and distributed to the rear wheels via a limited slip differential. And no slushbox that we’re about, but a six-speed sequential that fires off shifts computer-controlled precision. Precision is a because the LFA’s low-friction revs so quickly that it can from idle to redline in 0.6 (Lexus also states the speed of the engine is why a digital is necessary.) At its slowest setting the transmission shifts about as as you do on a good day. At its fastest the gearbox fires off paddle-selected, gear changes in about 200 For comparison, an involuntary human takes about 150 milliseconds. in Sport mode, the digital switches to a white background, the on its face growing larger and prominent. There’s also a mode that splits the and if none of those settings is right for you, the gearbox speed can be tweaked by the user to one of levels. Finally, a grocery-getter mode can take over without your paddle-actuated

When asked why a single-clutch gearbox was chosen for the LFA rather the dual-clutch gearboxes that are in these days, Lexus’ explained that the sequential was both lighter and less than the dual-clutch. As you’ll learn, lightness is something the LFA’s engineers took seriously.

Like most starting the LFA begins with a key into a key hole, but that’s the similarities between it and every road-going Toyota end. turning the key to the accessory position, the is fired with a Start/Stop located on the steering wheel. so causes to the digital instrument to spring to life with a bark before settling a rather smooth and quiet There is no conventional shift or e-brake lever. To get going, pull the right paddle to select first gear and off. Parking the car requires a pull of both paddles to neutral and a tap of the electronic parking switch. Similarly, reverse is with a button located the driver’s left knee selecting reverse.

All around the are bits of exposed carbon but it’s not just decorative The LFA’s chassis is almost made of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer which gives the vehicle a platform that is also light—220 pounds lighter, to Lexus, than if the vehicle made out of aluminium. Even the prop is made out of carbon and feels as light in the hand as a pen. The bits that made of CFRP are made of For example, the aluminum V-10 is lighter than the V-6 that find under the hood of a Camry. The vehicle’s front and suspension components are also completely out of aluminium and connect to the as modular subframes. Lexus went to a great deal of to devise a clever technique for the metal subframes components to chassis for increased rigidity of course, weight savings.

Massive carbon ceramic are ultralight and fade free, but easily modulated for around driving. Antuan Goodwin/CNET

the vehicle shiny side up in the are massive 20-inch wheels in wide, sticky tires made for the LFA—I’m told the run about $400-500 each—and 15-inch and 14-inch carbon brakes on the front and rear respectively. The suspension setup is by a full aerodynamic package is, for the most part, integrated the styling of the vehicle. The chassis a downforce generating flat that terminates in a rear On the rear deck is a motorized that raises at about 50 mph to in pushing the rear wheels the tarmac.

I probably could spent an afternoon marveling at the of engineering that went the black LFA that I’d myself setting into. But as I the driving instructor’s IS F into pit and began to accelerate into 1, all of the specs floating around my were blown right out of the

On the track in the LFA

Lexus LFA

The forecast called for but the track was still bone dry for my session of the day. Easing out of pit and then accelerating uphill Turn 2, I was amazed by the raw acceleration the LFA’s 5.9 pound per pony ratio enabled. I was also away by the sound of the LFA’s engine as it wailed through its Yamaha-tuned exhaust. Yamaha, in to making motorcycles, brought a expertise to the sound the LFA makes and as far as to add acoustically tuned ports an acoustic guitar) to the cabin allow the right amount of noise in.

As the engine’s revs the 9,000rpm redline, the white background flashes green at the shift point. I grab the mounted shifter and BANG! The gearbox snaps into gear like a bolt rifle. The change happens so there’s nearly no interruption of to the wheels.

Braking hard for Turn 2 in the short distance, I’d considerable speed), I next the stopping power of the LFA massive ceramic brakes. Over the of the day, I’d learn to their fade-free consistency, but at the I was vastly underestimating their to shave off miles per hour and had for the turn. With plenty of on tap and only an IS F to keep pace this didn’t prove to be

As I made my way around the track, I to settle into the LFA. 3 is a severe, but slightly banked that can be taken with in the Lexus, allowing me to experience the lateral G-forces the LFA was capable of as the vehicle and I shot uphill a fast, blind right Turn 6 is the longest of the course, an sweeping left that had my pinned to the door as we carved the apex and accelerated toward the speed straight where the would easily hit 120 mph before the point for the Turn 7 hairpin. it was into the chicane of Turns 8, 9, and 10, the LFA’s light handling at could be experienced.

The electronic steering was decidedly un-Lexus, none of the overboosted assist other vehicles that the L badge exhibit and communicating bit of information gathered by the front to my finger tips. Meanwhile, the axle was relaying the attitude of its end of the through the seat. Lexus that placement of the engine and at opposite ends of the vehicle a balanced weight distribution. the placement of these components of the vehicle’s axles creates a low moment that allows the LFA to around the driver through a

With my speed and confidence with each lap and encouraging from the instructor (still of me, driving, watching and radioing from the IS F), I started to think to Why this is rather easy!

acquainted with Wet mode

I was fairly good about as we parked $750,000 worth of engineering (two LFAs on hand for the event) and broke for The other participants and I swapped of the mornings exploits. One gentleman was a new who was awaiting the delivery of his slightly hard-core Nurburgring edition which would be added to his of Porsches. Another was a current who delighted in sharing how low the serial of his red LFA was (only about 500 will be made).

However as we made merry, Nature was setting up to spoil our and as we stepped outside in preparation for the session of the day, we were to find a rain-slicked track. the instructors told us to helmet-up, in, and set the gearbox to Wet mode—the slower supposedly upset the rear end under acceleration, keeping the rear end planted in limited-grip Engaging first gear, I out onto the track.

Shortcutting 1 out of pit lane and charging uphill Turn 2, the LFA seemed undaunted by the Braking was also still good. However, the vehicle hit a wet as I cleared the apex and began to causing the rear end to lose and swing wide. A quick of the wheel to catch the slide presumably, a bit of intervention by the electronic and grip was quickly restored and I was to complete the curve without

The rest of the day’s sessions done at what felt three-quarters of the speed of the dry session a respectable clip for the conditions) and on a racing line that a higher emphasis on stability outright speed. Even the LFA felt faster around the than anything that ever driven.

By the time completed our second session, it was in earnest and windshield wipers necessary for visibility. But before the were parked for the day, the hopped into the driver’s of the LFA to give us each a few final laps. Now, I’ve given rides by trained drivers before but never in the My instructor flipped the transmission to Sport (not Wet, to my and shot out of pit lane, engine and rear wheels slipping so slightly. The two or three laps followed are mostly a blur.

Is it worth the cash?

I don’t that I can make a judgment of the LFA is worth its $375,000 price tag on a few hours of driving in the rain, but some food for thought: a 458 Italia is about $100,000 and it’s a freaking Ferrari. a Nissan GT-R is a quarter of the and likely makes its way ’round a just as quickly as either of cars. Then again, a is nowhere near as exotic as an LFA and a 458 doesn’t have the same production rarity. Being expensive, and rare is sort of the at this level of the game.

At the end of the purchasing an expensive toy like the LFA is as unpractical and subjective of a decision as one hope to make. It’s a that’s based on emotion and a of drama. With that in I feel that as a showpiece of the apex of Japanese performance and technology in a road-going car, the LFA is a car that needs to be experienced to be

2012 Lexus LFA first (photos) See full gallery

Lexus LFA
Lexus LFA

Lexus LFA
Lexus LFA
Lexus LFA


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