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Old 08-27-2011, 09:31 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Lexus LFA: 2011 Motor Trend Best Driver's





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BOUT BEST DRIVER'S CAR
What makes a great driver's car? Is it brute performance? Or gut-wrenching grip? What about balance and finesse, and the quality of the interaction between man and machine? We argue that a great driver's car has a chassis and powertrain and brakes and steering that enable the enthusiast driver to confidently explore the limits of its performance envelope, as well as his own. On top of all that, the best one also contains an X factor, a little something extra that elevates the breed.

Best Driver's Car is not a race. Numbers aren't everything. To get the fullest picture possible for each competing vehicle, we perform our normal battery of performance testing and real-world driving as well as racetrack performance. Yet, while on-track performance is just one piece of a larger puzzle, it's without question the most fun. Join us each day as we introduce the contenders, with track results and impressions by master driver Randy Pobst, all leading up to the crowning of the 2011 Motor Trend Best Driver's Car.


2012 LEXUS LFA
The culmination of a decade of development, the Lexus LFA is the brand's performance halo car, designed to elevate its status to the ranks of the world's elite. The hand-built, F1-inspired V-10 engine revs to its 9000-rpm limit so fast that only a digital tachometer could keep up. The LFA features a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic tub and bodywork to minimize weight, parts of which are woven together using proprietary methods developed from Toyota's textile operations. Features include one throttle body per cylinder, a rear-mounted single-clutch automated manual transmission, and a rear wing that deploys automatically at speed.

2012 Lexus LFA
BASE PRICE $379,575

PRICE AS TESTED $381,100

VEHICLE LAYOUT Front engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door coupe

ENGINE 4.8L/552-hp/354-lb-ft DOHC 40-valve V-10

TRANSMISSION 6-speed auto-clutch manual

CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3559 lb (50/50%)

WHEELBASE 102.6 in

LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 177.1 x 74.6 x 48.0 in

EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON 12/19 mpg

TIRES, F;R 265/35ZR20 95Y; 305/30ZR20 99Y Bridgestone Potenza S001


RANDY'S IMPRESSIONS
On handling... "Well, that's quite a machine. That's really obvious. It's on a pretty fine edge the whole time you're driving. I have a good sense of control, but it also keeps me from throwing care to the wind and just flying, you know. When I think a car is really handling the way I want it to, when I go the fastest on a racetrack, I don't have to think about driving it. I go down to the corner, crank the wheel, carry the speed in there, and it just lays in there and does its thing. The Lexus is almost there. A little bit more finicky, though. A little bit more finicky."

On the transmission... "Transmission, in full manual mode, is not shifting very fast. In fact, it feels like forever compared to some of the better transmissions. I'm really amazed. It just seems like it's a long time you're not accelerating."

On the brakes... "Braking was real strong, but holy crap, get your braking done before you get light 'cause the pedal gets hard and the car just doesn't wanna stop. On top of the Corkscrew, 'cause you go up that Corkscrew and the braking felt really good on the first couple of brake zones and I was pretty aggressive with it. I braked a little bit up on the uphill and hard pedaled at crest and the car just did not want to stop. Missed the apex pretty bad on my outlap, so I was braking earlier on purpose the next couple laps, maybe a bit too conservative there, but I don't think so."

On the steering... "Steering is fabulous. The car does have a really nice feel of being balanced, but it snaps loose easier than I prefer. I felt a little bit of mid-corner push sometimes, not bad. I actually like the car better at higher speeds than at lower speeds. The turn 4 sweeper, I just felt more confident about the car there than I did here in the hairpin or around turn 1."

On the engine... "The engine is amazingly smooth. The exhaust note, the engine sound, way better outside the car than inside. Inside, I didn't really like it that much. It's kind of a lower coarse sound. It's kind of an unusual sound. Boy, I'd love to hear that scream. That would be very satisfying."
Overall... "It was like work. You know, it's kinda like when you have a beautiful girlfriend who's kinda high-maintenance. The Lexus was a little bit like that. It is on kind of a fine line. It's not a good-time car in a relaxed, casual way. It's a good-time car in a serious work way. You know, I think this is a little bit like flying an airplane. You know, in flying an airplane you can get killed real easy, so you gotta be really on it. And that's how driving the Lexus is. You've gotta be really on it, right on your game, all the time. And for me, that's less enjoyable than something I can just haul ass in."



TURN NOTES
Turn 3: "Strong brake, immediate action. Accepted throttle well, but applied power with care. Exhaust/engine note much better outside than inside. Coarse inside. Outside: million-dollar sound."
Turn 6: "Stuck well mid-corner, accepted big bump there well. Needs more torque up the hill."

Turn 8: "Danger - ABS takes brakes away over the crest. Very quick into tight corner, no understeer. Quick transfer of weight in transition [during mid-corner]."

Watch the video to find out how fast the Lexus LFA went around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Check back tomorrow for the next Motor Trend Best Driver's Car contender, then come back to MotorTrend.com on Monday, September 12, for the full story and a special video.



ALL ABOUT RANDY
Randy Pobst is one of the most accomplished American race car drivers on the road today. His career includes two overall wins at the 24 Hours of Daytona, four World Challenge GT Class championships, five Sports Car Challenge championships, and nine SCCA national championships. He currently drives for KPAX Racing in the World Challenge series.
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Old 08-27-2011, 12:47 PM   #2
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$380k.

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Old 08-27-2011, 02:28 PM   #3
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i hope it drives well for that price. ill take a zr1 and a new house for the same price.
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Old 08-27-2011, 02:33 PM   #4
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$380k.

nice mug shot.. LOL that's a good one
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Old 08-29-2011, 03:31 PM   #5
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Old 08-29-2011, 03:46 PM   #6
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Ahh....F1 inspired V-10, which came out after V-10 and Toyota left F1.

And when was the last time an F1 car red-lined at 9k? Nascar outdoes that these days.

Now don't get me wrong, its a terrific car. But not 380k worth of car. It seems like a car that's built to a race spec that doesn't exist, like the BMW M1. I know which one I would want in 30 years.
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:01 PM   #7
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And when was the last time an F1 car red-lined at 9k? Nascar outdoes that these days.
And nascar engines are only expected to last a single race before a rebuild. Seems that a street car built to that degree would be somewhat impractical with the shipping it back to Japan several times a year.
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:04 PM   #8
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ibfullcfmonocoque
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:26 PM   #9
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Looking forward to the Best Driver's comparo - don't care about the LFA though - even less after reading the commentary
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:40 PM   #10
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Holy carpe' the sound of that engine gives me goosebumps. Otherwise what a complete pile of meh. 400k and all carbonfiber, yet 3550 lbs?

Sometimes cars are more than the sum of their parts. This case seems to be the reverse.
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:57 PM   #11
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I would so, SO much pick an MP4-12C over this.

CF-monocoque - check.
Tons of power - check.
Best handling... in the world [/jeremy clarkson voice] - quite likely.
Better mid-engined balance than LF-A - check.
simpler, cleaner interior space. - check.
lighter weight - BIG CHECK.
better suspension - hydro-pneumatic without the need for anti-roll-bars-check.

Better looks. yup. people call it bland, but at least it is cleaner looking than LF-A's mess of a front end.

MUCH cooler doors. Absolutely.

Better fit and finish... take a look at the tail panels. MP4-12C doesn't have exposed fasteners above the tail lights... and the tail lights are much cooler and more integrated, too.

With enough money, one can buy and OWN the McLaren. CHECK-ITY CHECK CHECK. Can only lease the LF-A for now.

And costs a heck of a lot less. CHECK!!

Since the MT example LF-A is black... I'll just post these here.



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Old 08-29-2011, 08:04 PM   #12
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You'd be an idiot to get an LFA over the McLaren.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:48 PM   #13
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Honestly, I can't get past the curb weight. All that carbon fiber and the thing weighs that much?

Fun fact: one LF-A weighs more than 2 series 1 Elises.

What the hell, Toyota?
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spenk View Post
$380k.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 424wrx View Post
i hope it drives well for that price. ill take a zr1 and a new house for the same price.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hites View Post
You'd be an idiot to get an LFA over the McLaren.
Ahh, the great introverted view of pricing.

If you are capable of dropping the money on an LFA, you don't care that you can get a zr1 + house, or you can get a McLaren over the LFA (hell you probably have your MP12-4C on order already, or you don't care for the car or want it).


Is it overpriced for what you get? Perhaps, but that doesn't seem to be an issue with moving units. So therefore, is it really overpriced?
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:18 PM   #15
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Low volume with an up marketed sense of limited edition Pokemon. A garage filler for the garage filler.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:20 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by dcsti View Post
Honestly, I can't get past the curb weight. All that carbon fiber and the thing weighs that much?

Fun fact: one LF-A weighs more than 2 series 1 Elises.

What the hell, Toyota?
There is an article in Automobile mag about the history of that. They switched from aluminum to carbon when the project was changed to be branded as a Lexus, because they needed a lighter chassis to counter all the Lexus comfort crap. But I haven't anything about what all that comfort stuff is. Does it have 16-way power seats and a 20 speaker stereo?

It could probably do much better stripped, but as it is right now it is heavier than my old Mk3 Supra (some weight reduction, but it has an iron block L6 ferchristsake...).
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Old 08-29-2011, 11:23 PM   #17
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If you make enough money to buy cars in this range, you buy what you want. more than likely, an LFA owner probably has a Ferrari or two lying around.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:39 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcsti View Post
Honestly, I can't get past the curb weight. All that carbon fiber and the thing weighs that much?

Fun fact: one LF-A weighs more than 2 series 1 Elises.

What the hell, Toyota?
All-carbon cars actually don't wind up weighing all that less, on average.

They tend to be stiffer. But, generally, with modern crash requirements, the difference between a monocoque and a unibody is small, if anything.

Thus, they don't make "financial sense" from a performance/$$$ ratio. But they NEVER have. So I'm not sure why people sinlge this car out.

Again, to all those laughing at the price: Show my a cheaper full-monocoque...

Whatever the motiviation for it over a unibody, they are simply expensive to build. If nothing else, it's a step in the right direction.

No one laughed at the price of a CGT, etc. Yes, it doesn't make sense on a performance/$$$ scale. But just about all hypercars don't. Maybe it's the Lexus badge that has you guys singling this one out. Not sure.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:49 AM   #19
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I'm not laughing at the price based upon the CF construction.

I'm laughing at the fact that it's $380,000 for a Lexus.

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Old 08-30-2011, 09:37 AM   #20
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I'm not laughing at the price based upon the CF construction.

I'm laughing at the fact that it's $380,000 for a Lexus.
Yeah, I don't get that either. Toyota is an engineering powerhouse (or at least has the manpower/brains/cash).

Scoffing at the price of something because of the brand-name? That's weightless.

A Veyron is a multi-million dollar VW.
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:58 AM   #21
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Yeah, I don't get that either. Toyota is an engineering powerhouse (or at least has the manpower/brains/cash).

Scoffing at the price of something because of the brand-name? That's weightless.

A Veyron is a multi-million dollar VW.
...and is similarly ridiculous.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:02 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by REX8 View Post
All-carbon cars actually don't wind up weighing all that less, on average.

They tend to be stiffer. But, generally, with modern crash requirements, the difference between a monocoque and a unibody is small, if anything.

Thus, they don't make "financial sense" from a performance/$$$ ratio. But they NEVER have. So I'm not sure why people sinlge this car out.

Again, to all those laughing at the price: Show my a cheaper full-monocoque...

Whatever the motiviation for it over a unibody, they are simply expensive to build. If nothing else, it's a step in the right direction.

No one laughed at the price of a CGT, etc. Yes, it doesn't make sense on a performance/$$$ scale. But just about all hypercars don't. Maybe it's the Lexus badge that has you guys singling this one out. Not sure.
Is there another car with monocoque construction that weighs almost 3600 lbs. CGT was expensive, but at least the performance was on par with the current state of the art at the time. THe lexus is not competitive with current supercars. There are so many much cheaper cars that are faster.

The lexus badge isnt helping it, but even looking at it more objectively it is still a bit of a dud. If the car was identical but wore a ferarri, lambo, porsche, or even pagani badge........nobody would be singing its praises. I supose something like the MB/mcleran is a better comparison though. Again that was like 10 years ago though.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:03 AM   #23
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...and is similarly ridiculous.
You're normally level-headed.

Toyota is probably one of the MOST capable companies of designing and engineering at these levels. They have motorsports experience at all levels, including the highest, deep pockets, a huge engineering force, etc.

Contrary to your view, I find it ridiculous you put a badge, or a name, over resources and ability for determining who should build what.

It's ok for Zonda to do it, but not Toyota? That is patently absurd.

Again completely baseless. Try looking at important things, like technical ability, resources, etc. rather than a weightless stigma attached to a brand-name.

It matters not I guess. They've sold all they've built.

Just find it ridiculous you think it's more reasonable for guys starting in a shed to build low-volume monocoques, but not for huge corporations with vast resources to do so. Sweet logic.

Aren't we supposed to be fighting against stupid stereotypes, not supporting them?

Last edited by REX8; 08-30-2011 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:15 AM   #24
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Contrary to your view, I find it ridiculous you put a badge, or a name, over resources and ability for determining who should build what.


I'm not telling anyone not to build the LFA.

I'm suggesting that there are better cars that represent a superior "value" in the LFA's price category.

The LFA is like the NSX in that it offers brilliant engineering and what will undoubtedly be better reliability than comparable cars.

Unlike the NSX, however, the LFA doesn't offer similar or superior performance at a price that significantly undercuts its competition.

At the LFA's price point, it is disingenuous for you to state that "brand means nothing."

Last edited by Spenk; 08-30-2011 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:45 AM   #25
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Ahh, the great introverted view of pricing.

If you are capable of dropping the money on an LFA, you don't care that you can get a zr1 + house, or you can get a McLaren over the LFA (hell you probably have your MP12-4C on order already, or you don't care for the car or want it).


Is it overpriced for what you get? Perhaps, but that doesn't seem to be an issue with moving units. So therefore, is it really overpriced?
Thank you!

So many idiots on NASIOC trying to justify supercars from a performance per dollar point.
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