There’s something slightly weird about this scene. We are about to drive the daunting 12.9-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife track in Germany. In a Lexus. Okay, it’s the exotic LFA, a Ferrari-fighting supercar that will cost about $350,000. But the company built its reputation on smooth, refined, and perfectly nerve-calming cars, so why does the LFA exist? In what parallel universe is this thing remotely Lexus-like?
Lexus claims multiple justifications for the LFA program. The car, it says, casts a halo over the Lexus F line of performance machines. It’s also a way for Toyota to explore new technologies, particularly carbon-fiber construction. And since Lexus says it will be selective about whom it will sell to—car collectors and high-profile individuals who use the car rather than park it—the LFA should raise the cachet of the brand as a whole.
In order to keep the LFA light on its feet, Toyota relied heavily on lightweight materials for nearly every aspect of the supercar. Aluminum was originally planned for the LFA's construction, but engineers ultimately decided to use Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic for the car's chassis and body as it offered even greater weight savings than did aluminum.
Designed in-house after years of painstaking research and development, CFRP is four times stronger than aluminum yet netted a 100kg weight savings according to Toyota.
The LFA also features Carbon Ceramic Material brakes, which are both lighter than steel and more fade-resistant. In total, the LFA weighs in at 3,263 lbs.