Written by Eric Becker
Debate over the greatest album, record or singer is an age-old tradition. It’s all but guaranteed that the top spots will feature several entrees from all-time greats like Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Aretha Franklin. The discussion goes on. But in the supercar world, things are a bit different. The collective motoring press has come to a consensus on who built the best-sounding car. The top 10 spots are of course filled with a bevy of entrees from the usual suspects: Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Ford, and Mercedes. Fairly typical, all are builders of some of the finest-performing automobiles around, but none of them take the top spot. That honor goes to Lexus, and their spectacular LFA supercar.
The LFA sounds like nothing else on the road, an intoxicating soprano in a world of baritones and falsettos. Open the taps on the 4.8-liter V10 and you’ll be transported back to a duel between Schumacher and Häkkinen during Formula 1’s V10 era. Keep the go-pedal floored, and all 10 throttle bodies will serenade you as air floods in and they rush to a redline of 9,000 rpm; your limbic system left scintillating. The engine is a mechanical marvel. Lexus’ engineers went to painstaking lengths to keep the engine’s reciprocating mass low. The 72-degree V10 uses a flat-plane crankshaft, forged titanium connecting rods, solid titanium valves and forged aluminum pistons. The result is a rev-happy 553hp V10 that can spin from idle to redline in six-tenths of a second – so fast that Lexus had to develop a digital tachometer, as traditional analog gauges couldn’t keep pace.
Then there’s the technical stuff – as if a periodic table’s worth of engine internals wasn’t enough. Lexus partnered with Yamaha’s Center for Advanced Sound Technologies to hone-in on and tune the induction noise like a musical instrument. The LFA’s dual intake system feeds into a horizontally split and ribbed surge tank that gives the V10 its F1-like timbre. The harmonic resonance of the surge tank is then piped into the cabin via three acoustically optimized sound channels. Think of the LFA’s quad-cam V10 as being a musical instrument, with the right foot as the conductor and the automobile serving as the medium.
The ultimate in the hierarchy of Lexus models, the LFA is no stranger to the Barrett-Jackson block. In the past we’ve seen the technology-laden examples shatter records and excite the crowd. For the 2020 Fall Auction this October at WestWorld in Scottsdale, the LFA is ready to do it all again. Offered with No Reserve, this original-owner 2012 Lexus LFA has under 1,100 miles on the odometer and is one of just 178 allocated and sold in the U.S. market. Of the 500 cars built worldwide, this car is #425 and is finished in Obsidian Pearl over a stunning black interior accented with Camel Yellow leather and stitching.
But what places the LFA at the top is more than its acoustic triumph or its flagship status. There is an astonishing level of meticulous detail in every aspect of the car’s construction; no shortcuts were entertained. Development for the LFA took nearly a decade. Its first body was crafted from aluminum, but, four years into testing, the aluminum construction was deemed too heavy. The engineers felt more was possible, demanding that the car be lighter, and opted to start from scratch and build the body from carbon fiber. Keeping excellence and function foremost, Lexus took things a step further, pioneering its own carbon-fiber weaving technology. Body done, the engine’s center of gravity was optimized and mounted so low that the top of the valve covers sits beneath the top of the tires. The inside edges of the side mirrors channel air into the rear-mounted radiators, and the entirety of the car’s mass is kept within the wheelbase, leading to a 48/52 percent front-to-rear weight distribution.
The space-grade engine is connected to a 6-speed single clutch automated manual transaxle. The Aisin-built gearbox can shift in as little as 0.2 of a second, using a Torsen limited-slip differential. For stopping power, the LFA comes equipped with 15.4-inch rotors up front gripped by 6-piston monobloc calipers, and 14.2-inch rotors with 4-piston calipers in the rear. The Brembo carbon-ceramic brakes are hidden behind a set of forged aluminum 20-inch BBS wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza tires.
On the road or on the track the LFA is a most remarkable car, and arguably a permanent piece of automotive history. The symphonic wonder that is that V10 is perfectly matched by the car’s dynamism. Friend of Barrett-Jackson and racing world champion Justin Bell praised the LFA’s character, labeling it as one of the top five cars he had ever driven; a true driver’s car. Come October, this LFA is ready to thrill and delight anyone who sits behind the wheel and ignites the mechanical symphony.
To register to bid on this vehicle and many more at the 2020 Fall Auction, click HERE.