Last Friday marked the final day of production for the Lexus LFA supercar, as a white Nürburgring Edition rolled off the assembly line for the last time at the top-secret LFA Works guarded within Toyota’s Motomachi plant. With a powerful V10 engine delivering an amped 562bhp, a pure snow-white paint job, and several other tweaks like a silver-colored oil filter (internal aesthetics are important!), the buyer of the final LFA is certainly a lucky one. And a wealthy one too… The circuit-tuned LFA is the most expensive Japanese road car to ever actually see production with a hefty $445,000 price tag.
Production of the Lexus LFA began on December 15 of 2010, exactly 2 years ago. Lexus only produced 500 of the high-performance supercars; due to the complexity of the production process, only one car could be built per day, and always to the buyer’s custom specifications. Even after rolling off the assembly line, each and every vehicle goes through a week of rigorous testing to ensure that it meets Lexus’ standards for its first supercar.
What makes the LFA so unique and so complex to manufacture is the fact that Lexus produced their own carbon fiber reinforced polymer, or CFRP, in-house. In fact, LFA Works possesses one of only two circular looms on the planet, which weaves together the extremely strong, but extremely light CFRP for the car’s A-pillar. It is a testament to the LFA’s intricacy that even with a team of 170 hand-picked workers, only one vehicle could be produced per day.
Even though the last LFA has been produced, don’t expect this to be the end of Lexus’ dabbling in high-performance vehicles. According to a press release, “this marks the end of a key chapter for Lexus, one in which people’s perceptions and understanding of the brand have been challenged, and perhaps changed forever.” In other words, this focus on luxury performance over plush extravagance will continue beyond the Lexus LFA, “it will be fondly remembered for being the car that marked the start of significant change for the Lexus brand.”
There is no doubt that the Lexus LFA has been deemed a success for the Toyota-owned luxury manufacturer. The LFA is the culmination of nearly 10 years of development. The LFA’s Chief Engineer, Haruhuko Tanahashi, says “I’ve lived and breathed supercars for the past decade, specifically one supercar – the LFA. Very few people have had the opportunity we had: to create a world-class supercar from a blank sheet of paper.”
Unsurprisingly, the LFA been extremely well received by consumers, and because of its limited production you can expect to see this car remain highly sought after for years to come – despite the fact that many lesser supercars can easily outrun it. However, it could still be said that the development and production of the LFA was more of a learning experience than anything else. According to Toyota, “CFRP production took place in-house in order to gain valuable know-how to be used in future products.” In other words, you can expect to see the lessons learned from the LFA applied to vehicles from both Lexus and Toyota in the future… I, for one, can’t wait to see how!