Lexus LFA: The High Price of Quality

The Lexus LFA is a bit of an oddball as supercars go. On one hand it’s a shining achievement in supercar building. On the other it’s extremely expensive when compared to other similarly capable cars. Its engine makes 553 horsepower and it has a top speed of 202 mph. Considering that a Nissan GT-R, which costs much, much less than the LFA, will go very nearly as fast, what the hell were Lexus playing at selling LFAs for $375,000 each? 50 of the limited run of 500 cars got the special Nurburgring package which pushed the price to $445,000. It’s one of the most expensive Japanese road cars ever built.

Exclusivity aside, there are a few areas in which the LFA is really rather special. It’s the result of over a decade of development from some of the finest car builders in the world; of insane attention to detail and driving dynamics. At its heart sits an aluminium and titanium V10 which, so say Lexus, can rev from idle to redline in 0.6 seconds. They actually had to fit the car with a digital rev counter because an analogue one couldn’t keep up. The engineers liken the engine’s sound to “the roar of angels” and while all those angels are roaring outside the car its occupants are treated to sound delivered by two ducts which connect to the firewall and contain specially shaped ribs like a guitar. This system was tuned by Yamaha’s musical instrument people and provides an engine note in two distinct octaves.

The LFA is by no means pretty, but that’s because it was designed with the idea that form follows function. Its carbon fibre and polymer bodywork produces a lot of downforce, because this is a car for driving. Ask anyone who’s had a go in one and the LFA gets a big thumbs up. It seems that this is a car built by engineering magicians to be the best that a car that doesn’t obsess over being at the cutting edge of the cutting edge can be. It inspires confidence because it’s familiar and it excites because it’s very fast. It’s in the same family as the cars that people learn to drive in, only it’s a much finer product. It’s incredibly advanced and painstakingly designed and built, but it’s not trying to reinvent the wheel with unproven and experimental technology. It has mechanical suspension, not some super-reactive computer controlled business, just really, really good mechanical suspension. It’s a supercar for the well-heeled driver, not the flashy poseur, and for that reason it deserves respect.
Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday November 9th 2016.

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Lexus LFA: The High Price of Quality

Meet the Ferrari Engined GT 4586

Oh to be a pro drifter, with sponsors who have deep, deep pockets. Ryan Tuerck, pro drifter and engine swapper extraordinaire, is at it again. Tuerck, along with what I’d imagine to be a massive, huge, gigantic amount of Gumout’s money and engineering magic from Huddy Motorsports present this: the GT 4586. V8 swaps in agile sports cars are nothing new, but they’ve never been done like this before.

The Ferrari V8 (F136, nerds) shoehorned into this GT 86 was used in the F430, California, and 458. It would have been easier to use one from a California because of its location in that car, but they wouldn’t have been able to call it GT 4586, would they? Out went the 2.0 litre Subaru boxer, and in moved the 4.5 litre V8 turned around 180 degrees from its home in a 458. The bottom of the windscreen frame was cut out to accommodate the engine’s throttle bodies and a very clever intake system fabricated which goes down through the dash and firewall, drawing air from outside the front quarter panels. Custom headers were fabricated to fit behind the front bumper and exit ahead of the front wheels. Opinions vary on whether the engine sounds as good here as it does in its natural habitat.

The radiator is moved to the trunk and fed cool air by a Le Mans style cowl mounted on the GT 4586’s roof. Hot air exits through vents in the deck lid. The V8 is mated to a 5 speed sequential racing transmission with a limited slip diff between the rear wheels. In the 458 this engine produces 570 horsepower. While the altered intake/exhaust paths may change this, the GT 4586 still has plenty of go, especially with all those bespoke racing goodies. The car will neither compete in Formula D nor see public roads (legally at least) so it’s been made extra strong at the expense of lightness with braces welded from the strut towers to the firewall and a full roll cage.

Oh to be a pro drifter.

Photos by Larry Chen, Speedhunters

Posted @Whippstagram on Instagram, Wednesday November 2nd 2016.

Meet the Ferrari Engined GT 4586