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Lexus LFA

This first Lexus to be launched without a stated passenger-to-golf-bag quotient has been 10 years in gestation and overtaken by technology and events. The LFA has an unprecedentedly low center of gravity of 17 3/4″ — located directly beneath the steering wheel’s rim. So far a conventional attribute executed perfectly, but how that CoG got there is way more complicated. First, the engine is located way back in the engine bay and mounts to a 6-speed rear-mounted transaxle through a carbon torque tube. The oil coolers are in the front fenders, while the radiators are at the rear to aid weight distribution, they’re fed by the shoulder scoops. That creates a 48% front, 52% rear distribution for the 3263 Lb curb weight. That accounts for the CoG’s position front-to-rear, but not vertically. That was achieved by using a world’s first counter gear to raise the relative height of the torque tube, allowing the engine to be mounted incredibly low in the car, accounting for the CoG’s height.

With only a 202 MPH top speed, a 3.7-second 0-60 MPH time and a 7:30 ‘Ring time, the LFA isn’t going to be a bench racer’s dream. But we actually admire Toyota for eschewing the conventional, numbers-based approach to supercar success. The LFA’s 500 lucky customers aren’t buying bragging rights, they’re buying the most comprehensively complete supercar package ever made. As a statement of technological ability and performance intent, the LFA firmly establishes Toyota firmly within the upper echelons of sports car manufacturers. The real payoff to us enthusiasts isn’t going to be the the incredibly rare LFA, but the trickle down reaching forthcoming Toyota FT-86 sports car and other future Toyota performance models. If the FT-86 can be 1/20th the car the LFA is, us everyday enthusiasts are in for a real treat.

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