During the next decade, Lexus had become well-known for offering a great blend of luxury, comfort, and reliability, but high-performance was the last thing it was associated with.
To change that, its model lineup needed something special, but rather than beefing up an existing model, Toyota kicked off an ambitious project with no budget limit that would result in a breathtaking supercar.
Co-developed with Yamaha, the heart of the exquisite LFA was a ten-cylinder masterpiece condemned 1LR-GUE. In the years that followed, extensive tests and reviews performed by the motoring press from around the world highlighted the epicness of this high-tech powerplant, with many calling it one of the greatest engines to be fitted inside a series production vehicle.
A 4.8-liter, naturally-aspirated V10, it could produce 552 hp at 8,700 rpm and 354 lb-ft (480 Nm) torque at 6,800 rpm. This translated into a 0-60 mph (97 kph) acceleration of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 202 mph (325 kph). Yes, these figures didn’t propel the LFA to the top of the high-performance vehicle food chain, but that was never the point. Toyota’s goal was to offer drivers a near-flawless supercar that came with one of the lightest, best-sounding, and most advanced V10s that the world has ever seen.
In terms of size, engineers managed to design a package that was not only far more compact than other production V10s available at the time but smaller than previous Lexus V8s. Even more remarkable, the extensive use of lightweight, motorsport-derived materials made it as light as a conventional V6.
Inside the aluminum block, a fully integrated crankshaft was equipped with a set of titanium alloy conrods 40% lighter than conventional iron versions. These were connected to equally lightweight forged pistons fabricated to cope with the high 12:1 compression ratio.
Not impressed? Well, you will be when you find out that this amazing motor was able to rev up from idle to redline in just 0.6 seconds, setting a new world record for a production car in 2012. This physics-defying figure meant that Toyota couldn’t find an analog tachometer that could keep up, so they had to devise a digital alternative.
The engine featured a dry-sump lubrication system, which allowed engineers to position it deep within the chassis in a front-midship layout, lowering the LFA’s center of gravity and improving weight distribution. The use of this system also meant that the car could handle sustained high-speed cornering in excess of 2G.
The Lexus LFA and its fantastic, hand-assembled V10 were produced from December 2010 to December 2012 in a limited run of 500 units.
Light, compact, innovative, and mellifluous, the 1LR-GUE is an engineering work of art that deservedly earns a place among the greatest ten-cylinder engines ever built.
You can watch an awesome review of the LFA and hear its marvelous motor scream in the video below posted on YouTube by Throttle House.