The Lexus LFA: How the Japanese Supercar Became a Collector Favourite—10 Years After It Was Discontinued

The last LFA rolled off the line in 2012, but it has only gained stature in the years since. Here’s everything to know about the now legendary model.

By Bryan Hood 13/10/2022

Production of the Lexus LFA may have ceased a decade ago, but its stature has only risen in the years since.

That’s because Lexus’s racing-derived supercar is a true rarity. It’s not just that only 500 examples were built in the two years it was in production (2010–2012) but because it is a singular model in the Japanese luxury marque’s 33-year history. There was nothing like it before it rolled off the line, and there’s been nothing like it since.

That’s why collectors can go a little crazy on the infrequent occasion that an LFA goes up for grabs. Just look what happened when an Ohio-based dealer listed a barely driven LFA that once belonged to hotel heiress and socialite Paris Hilton a couple of years back. The asking price: $715,362, or 20 percent more than the vehicle cost brand new. The thing is, that was actually a bargain—other examples have sold for significantly more in the interim.

Whether it’s the model’s rarity, its naturally aspirated V-10 or those elegant, understated lines, the LFA remains an object of increasing fascination for both collectors and enthusiasts. Below, everything we know about one of the most intriguing supercars of the 21st century.

Paris Hilton in her Lexus LFA.

Engine, Specs and Performance

The LFA was first dreamt up by Akio Toyoda, the CEO of Lexus’s parent company, Toyota, during the early aughts. The exec desperately wanted to build a car that would rival the best sports cars coming out of Italy and Germany and put an onus on two things: performance and drivability. Three prototypes were unveiled during the near-decade that the car was in development—the LFA was part of the Lexus Future (LF) line of concepts, with the A in its name standing for “Apex”—but by the time it was ready for production, Akio’s vision had been realised.

The coupé is powered by a front-mid-mounted, naturally aspirated 4.8-litre DOHC V-10 derived from Tokyo Racing’s race car mill and developed in conjunction with Yamaha. The powerhouse is mated to a rear-mounted Aisin six-speed automated manual gearbox that sends 553 horses and 480 Nm of twist to the rear axle (the Nürburgring Package variant has a specially tuned engine that delivers 562 hp). No less impressively, the 10-cylinder engine could rev up 9,000 rpm in just a half second. Because of this, the car had to be equipped with a digital tachometre to display engine speed, since an analog version couldn’t keep up.

The LFA’s naturally aspirated 4.8-litre DOHC V-10

Thanks to all that power, the LFA can zip from zero-to-100 mph in 3.6 seconds, hit 400 kms in 11.5 seconds and has a top speed of 332 km/h. Traveling at that kind of speed is a thrill, a sensation only heightened by the sound of the LFA’s racing-inspired mill. As one Toyota engineer reportedly put it, the supercar’s engine emits the “roar of an angel.”

A Carbon-Fibre Exterior

From the outset, the LFA was designed to be a high-performance beast. Sports and supercars need to look cool, of course, but Kengo Matsumoto and the rest of the team at Lexus Design were more focused on function than style. If an element essential to the vehicle’s aesthetic had to be sacrificed to improve aerodynamic performance, then so be it. It’s because of this that the LFA is one of the more understated supercars of the last decade.

2012 Lexus LFA in Steel Gray

The LFA is a sleek coupé that rides low to the ground. The carbon-fibre exterior has a long nose, tall haunch and sharp edges, all of which combine to create as much downforce as possible. There are also a variety of scoops and vents, most notably just behind the side windows and above the rear fenders, designed to help cool the engine and brakes. The cherry on top, though, is the speed-sensitive rear wing that rises when you eclipse 80 km/h. All of these elements combine to give the car a decidedly athletic look, especially compared to other Lexus models. The marque also offered up plenty of colour options to help buyers make their LFA their own. Customers could choose from 28 body colours, along with three wheel colours. Special order hues were also available.

The LFA’s body is no less impressive. Even by supercar standards, it is lightweight—tipping the scales at a relatively paltry 1614 kg. Lexus found ways to minimise heft throughout the vehicle’s construction, but this is especially true of its body. It’s not unusual to see a car outfitted with elements designed to reduce curb weight, but the LFA’s body leaned heavily into carbon fibre-reinforced polymer. In fact, 65 percent of the car’s body is made from the feather-light material.

A Bespoke Interior

RM Sotheby’s

Performance isn’t necessarily the first thing people think of when the name Lexus comes to mind. Luxury is, though. And sure enough, the LFA offers the kind of plush interior for which the marque has come to be known.

The cabin features a two-tone colourway, and everything, including the two bucket seats, is covered in luxe materials such as fine leather and alcantara, which are tastefully accented with carbon fibre and metal. The driver’s cockpit features a digital TFT display changes colour to warn you if you’re approaching the redline. The steering wheel includes alloy paddle shifters and a right-mounted ignition button (you’ll still have to insert the key, though). The LFA predates the infotainment system trend of the last few years, but it does have a rear-view camera, and a 12-speaker Mark Levinson sound system. In an interesting twist, it originally came with a set of custom-made Tumi suitcases that matched the cabin’s colour scheme.

The LFA’s interior has a sporty feel that makes clear you are sitting in a high-performance vehicle. Adding to this dynamic is the fact that Lexus channelled two octaves of engine noise into the cabin. You won’t just feel the engine’s roar when you accelerate; you’ll hear it loud and clear.

The LFA’s steering wheel and driver’s cockpit

Why It Was Only in Production for Two Years

Lexus built just 500 examples of the LFA—436 “regular” models and 64 Nurburgring Package variants—between 2010 and 2012, 190 of which were for the US market. The decision to keep the production run so low appears to have been intentional. The company was selective about choosing the LFA’s buyers, opening up pre-orders in 2009, but only deciding who’d be a lucky recipient in 2010. The car was initially also going to be sold via a two-year lease program, to stop owners from quickly flipping it for profit, but the marque decided instead to offer it to a select group of buyers. Lexus only hand-built 20 examples per month, with each coming with a numbered plaque signed by the specialist who’d assembled the vehicle.

Still, it’s easy to wonder how much demand there really was for the car in its early years. Although production of the supercar finished in 2012, the supercar lingered on lots until the end of the decade. At least 43 brand-new LFAs were sold in North America after 2013, with three of those sales coming in 2020. It’s unclear how much dealers were charging for those last zombie LFAs, but it’s safe to say that few would’ve predicted the car would command double its retail value a decade later.

2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring Package in black over black

Reviews for the LFA were strong upon its release, but when you look at the publicly available sales numbers, it’s easy to wonder if the vehicle was ahead of its time. Regardless, it would seem that car lovers have finally caught up.

Could the LFA Make a Comeback?

December 14 of this year will mark the 10th anniversary of the final LFA—a white Nurburgring Package variant—rolling off the line. In the time since production ceased, the marque gave no indication that it would revive the nameplate, even as the reverence for the supercar has grown. That could change in the near future, though.

Earlier this year, Lexus shared the first images of an all-electric supercar concept the company has been working on in secret. The battery-powered speed machine currently has no name, but it’s been reported by multiple outlets that it’s viewed in-house as a spiritual successor to the LFA. With the EV not due until 2025, there’s still plenty of work to be done, but it will sport a sleek and aerodynamic body made primarily from carbon composite and an all-electric powertrain that should please even the snobbiest of enthusiasts. The word out of Japan is that the car will be able to accelerate from zero-to-100 km/h in less than two seconds and travel over 644 kms on a single charge.

2012 Lexus LFA in Pearl Red

Only time will tell if it can meet the lofty standards set by the LFA, but it’s nice to know the company hasn’t given up on boundary-pushing performance vehicles just yet.

How Much Does the LFA Sell for Now?

The base price of the LFA was about $600,000, but with loads of options that could easily push the price closer to $640,000. The performance-oriented variant with the Nürburgring Package was even more expensive, coming in at $709,000, making it one of the most expensive Japanese road vehicles ever built.

Lexus

Prices—as often happens when a car is rare and revered—have climbed significantly in the decade since production of the supercar ceased. Hilton’s LFA, which had just 3,990 miles on it at the time of sale, sold for nearly $120,000 more than it cost originally. Pricing for the supercar has grown exponentially in the two years since. Hagerty puts a “good condition” LFA’s value at $1,160,000 and the Nurburgring Package variant’s at $2.23 million as of press time. And over the last year, RM Sotheby’s has seen examples of both models sell for even more than that. With only 500 LFAs in existence, if you see one for lower than either of those prices, you might want to grab it quick.

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How To Make the Ultimate Hangover Cure

Is this the ultimate cocktail to know by heart?

By Belinda Aucott-christie 29/05/2024

The Savoy in London, a beacon of luxury and opulence, holds a significant place in British history as the nation’s first luxury hotel. It was a haven where the affluent sought to experience a taste of royalty. Interestingly, it was within these grand walls that the alleged liquid remedy for hangovers, The Corpse Reviver, was born.

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Due to its medicinal qualities, this cocktail has passed into drinking folklore, making its recipe a right of passage for any lush.

The Corpse Reviver is aptly named for its life-affirming qualities and claimed ability to knock a hangover on the head.

It’s reassuring to know that the dreaded hangover was such a cause of social consternation in the late 1940s, that it demanded a creative response from Savoy’s hotel bar staff. We’ll drink to that.

Adding to the Corpse Reviver’s allure is the mystery surrounding its creation. Was it the ingenious work of Savoy bartender Johnny Johnson or the creative genius of Joe Gilmore? The exact timeline of its inception between 1948 and 1954 remains a tantalising enigma. 

It’s a zesty, slightly sour hangover cure with a cheeky touch of absinthe shining through. If your hangover is very bad, add a little more syrup to the mix.

To make, take a cocktail shaker and add equal parts dry gin, triple sec, lemon juice, and Lillet Blanc (3/4 of a shot each). 

Add a tiny dash of sugar syrup and absinthe, shake all ingredients with ice until very cold, strain and pour into a chilled coupe.

Garnish with a chic lemon twist and say cheerio to your hangover. 

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ThirdHome Arrives Down Under

The global home-swap club targeting Australia’s millionaires.

By Belinda Aucott 24/05/2024

Wayne Shealy made his name developing resorts from New England to the Caribbean, and shifting more than $3 billion in luxury real estate. In 2010 he started ThirdHome to let luxury homeowners leverage the empty parts of properties in their portfolio to enjoy better holidays. Billed as an exclusive community of ‘neighbours’, ThirdHome now facilitates swapping second and third homes for the super-wealthy.

Wade Shealy, CEO and Founder of ThirdHome, a luxury home-swapping membership program. THIRDHOME

While the glamorous international portfolio spans illustrious private residences, including castles, ranches and chalets, it has been extended to private islands, pieds-à-terre, safari camps, wineries, boutique hotels and yachts.

Turin Castle in Forfar, Scotland. THIRDHOME

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“We’re super excited for the next chapter of our Australian journey,” Shealy says, from his horse farm outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee. 

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Château De Vézins in Loire Valley, France. THIRDHOME

The spirit of sharing drives the sservice, with ThirdHome members acquiring points in the system each time they open their doors to others. This makes it a self-regulating community backed by solid technology and vigilant management that keeps applicants A-grade.

“Our members are house proud and guest proud,” he adds. “They want the guests to have a great experience.”

Learn more about membership and the rules of engagement here

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Art for Investment

A new private gallery in Sydney helps collectors enter the secondary market.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 24/05/2024

When Art Basel opens next month in Switzerland, it will do so with fresh power under its wings. In 2022 the global art market totalled $67.8 billion, showing 3 percent year-on-year growth*. This year, art topped Knight Frank’s Luxury Investment Index, with prices rising by 11 percent over 2023. According to most reports, art is now a positively appreciating asset class. By comparison, the values of rare whisky, classic cars, handbags, and furniture fell.

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De Deyne and Cornelissen opened in May with a presentation of rare works by Rover Thomas, the late East Kimberly artist who represented Australia at the 1990 Venice Biennale.

Rover Thomas, Desert Meeting Place, 1994 natural earth pigments on canvas.

De Deyne specialises in Indigenous Australian art and comes to Sydney with a background as a Director in an Aboriginal Arts Centre and working for a leading auction house. Cornelissen is a former contemporary art specialist from Sotheby’s in London and Hong Kong.

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Though A Secondary Eye was founded in 2020 in Brisbane, De Denye says the larger pool of collectors drew them down to Sydney. The new gallery’s private aspect seems to be a key selling point for the duo, who prize discretion and private sales. 

Rover Thomas, Lake Argyle, 1994 natural earth pigments on canvas

“Whereas auctions are publicly advertised, a private dealer can offer a work discreetly to a handful of clients without over-exposing it. And we can also present works in a more considered way through curated, high-quality exhibitions that tell the story of each work.”

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Follow A Secondary Eye here for future exhibitions. 

*According to the 2023 Art Market 2023, authored by Dr. Clare McAndrew, Founder of Arts Economics and published by Art Basel in partnership with UBS

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Watch of the Week: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph

Roger Dubuis unveils its innovative chronograph collection in Australia for the very first time.

By Josh Bozin 21/05/2024

When avant-garde Swiss watchmaker Roger Dubuis revealed its highly anticipated Chronograph Collection halfway through 2023, it was a testament to its haute horology department in creating such a technical marvel for everyday use. Long at the forefront of cutting-edge design and technological excellence, Roger Dubuis (pronounced Ro-ger Du-BWEE) is no stranger to such acclaim.

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Roger Dubuis

“Roger Dubuis proposes a unique blend of contemporary design and haute horlogerie and the Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph is the perfect illustration of this craft,” says Sadry Keiser, Chief Marketing Officer. “For its design, we took inspiration from the MonovortexTM Split-Seconds Chronograph, while we decided to power the timepiece with an iconic complication, the flyback chronograph, also marking its come back in the Maison’s collections.”

The Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph is bold and flashy—a chronograph made to be seen, especially at its 45mm size. But Roger Dubuis wouldn’t have it any other way. The supercar-inspired watch is certainly captivating in the flesh. Its multi-dimensional design reveals different layers of technical genius as you spend time with it: from its case crafted from lightweight carbon to its hyper-resistant ceramic bezel, black DLC titanium crown, open case back with sapphire crystal, and elegant rubber strap to tie the watch together, it’s a sporty yet incredibly refined timepiece.

The new RD780 chronograph calibre powers the chronograph, a movement fully integrated with two patents: one linked to the second hand of the chronograph and the other to the display of the minute counter. The chronograph also features a flyback function.

The complete set is now available at the Sydney Boutique for those wishing to see the Roger Dubuis Chronograph Collection firsthand.

Roger-Dubuis

 

Roger-Dubuis

Model: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph
Diameter: 45mm
Material: C-SMC Carbon case
Water resistance: 100m

Movement: RD780 calibre
Complication: Chronograph, date
Functions: hours, minutes, and central seconds
Power reserve: 72 hours

Bracelet: Black rubber strap

Availability: upon request
Price: $150,000


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Thanks to NETGEAR, the First Quad-Band WiFi 7 Mesh System Has Arrived

Elite WiFi performance for your whole home.

By Robb Report 30/05/2024

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The NETGEAR Orbi 970 series Quad Band WiFi 7 Mesh System retails for $4,299. To learn more, visit the website here.

 

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