LFA: A SAMURAI DESTINED TO FAILURE?
Why did the Lexus LFA flop? Or did it?
In 2011, the LFA rolled out of Lexus' production line with huge anticipation and expectations from cars enthusiast around the globe. After a 10-year waiting period full of teases and updates about Lexus's first-ever supercar, everyone was star struck by the looks, the stance and the sound of the LFA.
LFA which is short for Lexus Fuji international speedway Apex was developed with no surprise on Fuji International Speedway and it took 10 years of development to be ready for the public. Wait I'm sorry, I meant the chosen public. Only 500 were made and not everyone submitted an order for an LFA was chosen. So, yeah.
The LFA has an F1 descendant 4.8L V10 engine that makes 553 HP at 8700RPM with 480N-M torques at 6800RPM, 0-60 MPH in 3.7 seconds and top speed 202 MPH. The car is almost entirely built from Carbon Fiber. Not only that, but the engine was also developed with YAMAHA so it can produce the best engine sound ears could ever ask for. Believe me its addictive. But forget the numbers, the bells, and whistles, it was going to be a quick car with a supercar noise. The question is why did it flop?
Here is why:
The Japanese are known for their immaculate attention to details, and that's what Lexus's engineers followed. The LFA had features no other competitor had a decade ago, features like a digital speedometer, inflatable seat belts, engineered engine sound, different lightweight and tough material used for the engine components, active rear spoiler, sleek & aerodynamic design...etc. Lexus paid too much detail for simple stuff and forgot one important feature. Drivability. To have all the amazing specs, the immense power, and addictive sound but being driven with a single clutch gearbox!!! that's horrifying. The gear shifts for this type of car are considerably slow, this car needed a dual-clutch gearbox.
Besides, the LFA took way too long to debut, giving its competitors a long time to drop great supercars to compete with the upcoming LFA. Lexus changed the initial design of the car midway through development, it was initially built from Aluminum then they noticed that it would be heavy so they switched to carbon fiber and went back to square one. All these delays made their closest rival, Nissan, to drop the GTR which gained everyone's attention in the market with its 0-60 time and acceleration. In addition to the GTR's drivability and features.
Lastly, the biggest reason why this supercar failed is because of its price tag. in 2011 the LFA hit the market with a $400,000 sticker on its windscreen. it was almost double the price of a Ferrari 599, again a Ferrari 599. Also, this price tag was almost six times more than the GTR, it's closest competitor as mentioned previously. It just didn't make sense! All these reasons destined this samurai to fail and fall. Leaving a shell that can be appreciated when looking at it or when hearing it passing by if you were lucky to see or hear one in person.
OR DID IT?
The purpose of the LFA was beyond just creating a supercar for the first time, it was all about laying a foundation for the following sports cars that came out of Lexus's factory. The LFA was that is known as a Halo car, a car that creates suspense and grabs the attention of an untapped market, the sporty portion. Lexus was and still known for being a luxury brand more than sporty. However, this has changed indeed with the LFA.
After all, the LFA has fulfilled its purpose and blessed us with an amazing sporty line up from Japan's finest.
What do you think about the LFA? If you get the chance, would you get an LFA or some other less expensive supercar? I know what I would do.