Legendary classic “supercars” such as Lamborghini and Ferrari now have another competitor to fear, and from an unlikely source-Lexus.
On October 20th, Lexus introduced its first attempt at a supercar ever, the Lexus LFA-at the Tokyo Motor Show. The same evening, Imagine Lifestyles was invited to the exclusive North American introduction for the LFA, held in South Beach. There were fewer than 15 press members invited to the North American introduction for the 2011 Lexus LFA, and Imagine Lifestyles is honored to have been among them.
The Lexus LFA supercar at Homestead track
Back to the Lexus threat to the supercar realm. The LFA is the first supercar ever to reach production from the elite luxury company. This makes it intoxicatingly newsworthy but also gives it a tough act to follow, including predecessor supercar brands such as Lamborghini and Ferrari.
Intensely elite brands such as Lamborghini have the advantage of decades of experience, perfecting the components and aesthetics of their supercars. Imagine my surprise when I found that Lexus has not only managed to pull this off, but to blow my mind in the process. According to Lexus,
“The LFA marks a watershed point for Lexus and its global debut marks the spectacular arrival of a new flagship for the F portfolio of Lexus performance models. In an ever-increasing market place it is, unsurprisingly, unique-a Lexus that single-handedly creates new boundaries to redesign the supercar for the 21st century.”
Toyota master driver Hiromu Naruse and Kristy Sullivan of Imagine Lifestyles enjoying the LFA on the track
It is named the LFA because it is among the F sport series, honoring the famous Formula One track in Fuji, Japan. This supercar struts some serious specs, including a breathtaking and all-new 4.8-liter V10 powerplant rich in motorsport technology. This V10 is a high revving engine producing 552 horsepower, front-mounted with rear wheel drive, and did I mention that the LFA rockets from the 0-60 mark in 3.6 seconds with a top speed of about 202 miles per hour?
Having felt the G-force personally as I test drove it at the Homestead Speedway in Miami, I can assure you, it is the ride of your life, and the car feels like it is cradling you in the process.
“What we needed-and what we have created-is a car that moves the driver in more ways than one,” explained Haruhiko Tanahashi, chief engineer of the LFA’s development program, “The LFA is a car that stirs all the senses.”
Needless to say, the amazing people at Lexus are on the right track (couldn’t stop myself)-the LFA is an astonishing supercar, which is no easy task on a first attempt.
Tuesday night, I arrived at the Mondrian Hotel in South Beach, where I joined the heads of Lexus for a stellar introduction dinner. The dinner was a South Florida style infusion of Cuban and Asian–and the Mondrian Hotel is among the best luxury hotels in the region.
During dinner I was seated with Project Manager Sunao Ichihara, Master Driver and Engineer Hiromu Naruse, their translator Erik Jorgensen, and Master Driver Scott Pruett. Throughout dinner they delighted me by teaching me key Japanese words and phrases, while describing the new supercar and what was in store for me the following day.
A handful of us had the exclusive opportunity to drive the Lexus LFA on the Homestead Speedway on Wednesday as envious members of the Lexus corporate team looked on. Wednesday morning we were transported to the track, where the real fun began- our introduction to the fabulous LFA.
After a catered lunch and informative meeting covering every detail of the LFA, we hit the track. The initial lap was a ride-along with one of the two master drivers, Hiromu Naruse and Scott Pruett. After the initial lap, we were each given the opportunity to drive the LFA ourselves for 3 laps! After the 3 laps, we had the option to either ride with a master driver again, or drive 3 additional laps.
I personally had the pleasure of riding along with both Master Driver Hiromu Naruse and Scott Pruett. Riding along with these skilled master drivers as they negotiated the road course set up within the track that included part of the straightaways, was incredible, and after I took the wheel myself for 3 laps, gravity could not have brought me down-though it did pin me to the back of the posh seats.
When asked what inspired Lexus to develop a supercar, their response was shockingly simple,
“From the very beginning of automobile history, supercars have represented dreams, hopes and aspirations,” explained Tanahashi. “For Lexus, a brand that aims to provide customers enlightened moments and memorable experiences, the development of a world-class supercar was an indispensable next step.”
After things began to wind down, Hiromu Naruse’s translator surprised me by telling me that Hiromu wished to take me for a special lap around the track with him, this time on a course including the sharp turns of the embankment. This was a huge honor, because I was the only one to experience the force of the embankment with such a revered master driver, as the embankment was closed off for the regular driving course. It was an amazing way to end the already incredible day at the Homestead Racetrack.
My opinion of the LFA is that it is a supreme supercar, sexy and sensational, delivering uncompromising luxury to the 500 lucky owners when the deliveries begin in a year. This car has been in the development process for approximately ten years, and the attention to detail and standards of luxury are more than apparent. More to come on this pulse-racing new crush of mine.
Want to see more of the Lexus LFA? Imagine Lifestyles Flicker Pictures
Post by Imagine Lifestyles Luxury Rentals