Why the Lexus LFA Failed…Or Did It? | Bumper 2 Bumper
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Why the Lexus LFA Failed…Or Did It? | Bumper 2 Bumper


(car revving) – When the luxury arm of the world’s second
largest car manufacturer goes off to build their first super car, what do you get? Well, you get this. A Japanese engineering masterpiece, 10 years in the making. With only 500 of them rolling
off the assembly line. An exotic from the East, with arguably the best sounding engine to come out of a production car. A halo car that everyone wanted to like, but no one bought. So, why didn’t it work? Well friends, get ready
to laugh and learn. ‘Cause we’re going bumper
to bumper on the Lexus LFA. Jeremy Clarkson’s favorite car. He may or may not be my dad. (upbeat music) big thanks to our sponsor
this week, Raycon Earbuds. You know your boy loves
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get an additional 15% off your order of Raycon earbuds. They’re named E50, which is
also a model of BBS Wheel, that look very good. That I might put on that car. That’s how you can remember it. (upbeat music) First, let’s talk about
the concept of a halo car. No, not the Warthog you fricken nerds. A halo car is a reminder. It’s a car built by a brand to remind people what they’re all about. You build a halo car to create hype, and to bring in some new customers. A good example of a successful halo car would be the Audi R8. The LFA was Lexus’ halo car. Made not only to bring
some non-traditional eyes to other Lexus models, but also changed the way the company did things moving forward. (upbeat music) Before we can get into
the LFA, and I promise, we will get into it, I’ve
heard it’s hard to get into. We gotta talk about Lexus,
the luxury division of Toyota. Now back in the 80s, Toyota initiated the
Flagship One, or F1 project. Not to be confused with
Formula One racing. With no budget or time constraints, the F1 team went to work
on what would be the LS400. The LS laid the foundation for
the brand for years to come. Build a well engineered car, that wasn’t rushed into the showroom. Take your time, do it
right, it will pay off. So why am I bringing up the LS400? Well, the story of the
LFA parallels the story of the brand’s first luxury sedan. The process of building a super car would create a special sauce
that would trickle down the rest of the Toyota lineup. (wet squishy sound) The first car was
completed in June of 2003, but it wasn’t until 2005 that Lexus revealed the
first two concept cars. Two years later, the second
concept car showed up, and finally, in 2009, this
purdy thang you see before me was present by Akio Toyoda himself. The LFA. L for Lexus, F for Fugi Speedway, the racetrack that Lexus owned, that they developed the car on, and A for Apex, the tippy
top of the food chain. So what makes this car so special? And why didn’t it work? (upbeat music) The chassis of the LFA is carbon fiber, the body panels, you
guess it, carbon fiber. The hood? Well, that’s only made
out of carbon fiber. The steering wheel is
fricken carbon fiber, for goshdurn’s sake. I’m the carbon fiber Oprah over here. You get carbon fiber,
you get carbon fiber, you get carbon fiber,
everybody gets carbon fiber. But in the early 2000s, only a handful of sports cars were made with the space grade material. In fact, the chassis of the
LFA started off aluminum, but after a ton of testing, they decided to switch to carbon fiber. That’s four years of
development, and they were like, “Actually, you know what? “We should probably make the model car “out of carbon fiber now, it’s better.” Remember when I said that this
thing took 10 years to make? This is why. But remember, this is Lexus. Avoid compromises at all costs. Take your time. In true super car fashion, the car gets its array of scoops and vents to cool things down. The edges of the door mirrors
are even shaped to send air into these rear scoops, which then makes its way into
the rear mounted radiators. – Radiators. – [James] Out back, you get a wing, with a gurney flap that pops up when you hit 50 miles per hour. (car revving) I tried– ♪ Pop pop pop pop ♪ ♪ Pop up up and down gurney flaps ♪ It just doesn’t sound as good. (upbeat music) Remember that yummy trickle down sauce Lexus wanted from before? Well the RCF got some. We talked about these breaks
when we did a bumper to bumper on the RCF track edition. If you wanna geek out
with the sauce and myself, go check out that video after this one, I’ll out the link in
the description below. For now, let’s talk about the wheels. We can’t pull off these
20 inch BBS Wheels, to reveal the sweet suspension
goodies tucked underneath. Mounted up front is a
double wishbone set up and a multi link arrangement in the rear. (upbeat music) While Lexus is spending years on all this carbon fiber making and loom development, they’re also working on the
other piece of the LFA puzzle. The engine. Hey, I’m over here now. A V10, the size of a V8,
that weighs less than a V6, makes 553 horsepower, 354
pound feet of torques. The 4.8 liter naturally aspirated motor, vrooms the LFA from zero
to 60 in 3.6 seconds, and tops out at 202 miles per. With a 9000 rpm redline,
and a 9500 rpm fuel shutoff, just to keep things safe? Um, let’s just say it sounds pretty sick. (car revving) How does it rev that high? Well, it’s got forged
titanium connecting rods, aluminum pistons, solid titanium valves and magnesium alloy cylinder head covers. That’s a lot of very expensive,
very light weight metal. It’s an engine with an F1 pedigree. This car is capable of over
two lateral G’s in the corners. All while pressurized oil is making sure things get lubed up inside. If there’s one thing I know,
is that lube is important. (wet squishy sound) These grooves are brand new, and they’re in dire need of some lube. That’s from our new show, HiLow. We built two Z’s, and compared
cheap versus expensive parts. You can only watch it on that
other social media network, but it’ll be here pretty soon. The motor gets its oxygen supply through a dual stage
variable intake manifold. It then gets passed into 10
individual throttle bodies. Ah, no wonder it sounds so good before screaming out the
dual stage titanium muffler. Inside the intake system,
there’s a surge tank which further helps to give the LFA its sweet, sweet induction sound. The people tuning the sound? Engineers from Yamaha. In fact, the entire engine package itself, was co-developed by Yamaha. Now you might know Yamaha as the company that sells
God’s greatest gift to man, the Wave Runner. But, they started out as a
piano and reed organ company. They know how to make
instruments sound good. Mmk? And this engine was treated as just another instrument to them. And in true Lexus fashion, it was designed to enhance
the driving experience with sounds piped directly into the cabin. Let’s go see what the
cabin sounds like inside. I think it’s gonna be a
really nice audio experience. I’ll see you guys in there. (laughs) All of that air rushing in,
and the space grade metal, rotating around, puts out a sound that brings a tear to my eye. I’m not joking. It may be the best sounding car ever. Low liter, high cylinder
motors sound amazing, but this engine sounds especially unique. You get three channels of
sound coming into the cabin. The first is the main intake noise that comes from that tuned surge take that I mentioned before. It gets sent somewhere around here, right below the main dash panel. The other two channels are
in the upper cowl opening and the rear reflector. The upper cowl brings in
mid to high range tones. And the lower reflector pulls
in resonant engine sounds. All three of these channels combine to create a 3D surround sound concept. It’s the most analog thing
on the inside of this car. It’s not electronic. You can’t turn this sound
off or lower the volume. It’s pure, raw engine acoustics, and no other car sounds like it. Exhausts sounds you get
changes depending on the rpm. Below 3000, a dual stage exhaust valve remains closed to keep things quiet and upscale neighborhood friendly. But above this speed, a valve opens and the exhaust flows into a single resonator
out the tri-tip exhaust. (car revving) Shall we? (car starting) (car revving) (laughs) Good job Yamaha. Okay, let’s finish the video. The LFA is comfy, and you get bucket seats with eight way power adjustments. They’re sporty, and
they keep you locked in if you decide to take your
Japanese super car to the track. The seat belts have airbags
that inflate during a crash and spread the force of the impact across a wider portion of your chest. If the LFA had an earlier release, these might have been more of a big deal but in 2011, you can get
a Ford Explorer with ’em. Not trying to take anything
away from the Ford Explorer but, I’m guessing Lexus would’ve
liked to be the ones to debut such technology. The controls are simple but classy. The instrument cluster is really cool. Because the motor can
go from idle to redline in .6 seconds, they
couldn’t use an analog tech, it wouldn’t have been accurate, it couldn’t keep up with the engine. So, they designed their own digital one. Again, if the LFA were
released just a bit earlier, it would’ve been the craziest
(beep) to hit the market. This tech alone was a big deal, but today, again, it’s
seemingly commonplace. The steering wheel itself is
squared off at the bottom. I guess Lexus were thinking
about big boys like me, so I wouldn’t hit my knees. The paddle shifters don’t
move with the wheel. Some people like that, some people don’t, which is a nice segue into
how people really feel about the entire LFA package. It’s a mixed bag. (upbeat music) By the time the LFA finally
came to market in 2012, over a decade after its initial concept, the GTR, the ZR1, the Murciélago, and plenty of other fancy, fast cars had already been released. Effectively, stealing the
spotlight that Lexus hoped the LFA would bring to the company. The GTR, in particular,
really stole its thunder. It was a Japanese made sports car that was five times cheaper, and arguably, a better performing car. In the end, the LFA’s greatest ally ended up being its greatest enemy. Time. (sigh) whoa. And because it took so long, there were some things that
Lexus couldn’t go back on. Like the transmission, for example. It’s a six speed single clutch. It really needs a dual clutch. Things like that, coupled
with the fact that Lexus wouldn’t even allow you to
buy one outright at first, you could only lease them through Lexus. And even with only 500 of them made, dealerships didn’t sell out. It was bizarre. To top it off, the car wasn’t
even marketed all that well. I mean, unless you’re a car person, you probably don’t even remember the LFA, which totally defeats the
purpose of a halo car. One thing though, that
the LFA did do right, and like the LS before it, was change the way the brand
built cars moving forward. This is the car that
started the manta ray look that so many Lexus’ have today. Look at the LC500. It’s clear that that car has
LFA secret sauce all over it. Soon enough, you’ll start
seeing production cars with carbon fiber frames,
inflatable seat belts, and, fingers crossed, more
V10’s rolling out of Japan by the thousands. And we’ll thank the LFA for that. And we’ll thank our buddy, Brian, for bringing his LFA down
to shoot with us today. Follow him on Instagram, @briangoldphd, follow us @donutmedia,
follow @ovcmustangs. They hosted us again in their sick garage. They’re building some
really really cool stuff. You can also check them
out at ovcmustangs.com. I love you. (upbeat music)

100 thoughts on “Why the Lexus LFA Failed…Or Did It? | Bumper 2 Bumper

  1. People ar just DUMB. Bunch of retards will buy crappy BMW rather than far more better Lexus – because BMW is so FANCY…..

  2. When you like something so much, the cost isnt relevant if you have the money to pay it.

    This is a good car to remember people that some cars arent made to be used a disposable thing. This car is history and is exciting AF, at least for the ones who like it.

    I love Italian cars, but i have a soft spot for this Lexus. All the tech on it, its a lot of good things in just one machine.

  3. i just checked if there are any LFA's here in NZ. Welp, there is only one here in NZ that just arrived a few weeks ago and is on sale for a small sum of $995,000 NZD ($634,461.75 USD).What a bargain!

  4. It’s just Lexified. So tame and family car. A 20 year old Ferrari F430 still looks modern. This looks like any other IS or even the new LC. Ain’t no one buying a $500k car that looks like anything else in the current line up.

  5. It’s just Lexified. So tame and family car. A 20 year old Ferrari F430 still looks modern. This looks like any other IS or even the new LC. Ain’t no one buying a $500k car that looks like anything else in the current line up.

  6. It came out too soon… I saw one when I was like 14 and almost cried. They are gorgeous and the sound is remarkable. It's still the "ONE" car I want someday.

  7. Beautiful car. Love the sound. Hate that you're paying so much and it still has a key you need to turn in order to push the start button. What the crap?

  8. 13:50 Toyota: Duhhh I make supercar; Carbonfiber is better than aluminum? COMMON KNOWLEDGE; too lazy to google/wiki how many supercar manufacturers knew this in the early 90s(Ferrari/mc laren)

  9. Oh one more thing I actually had opportunity to drive LFA at Lexus Insider Event place New Jersey Motorsports Raceway Park with a pro-driver on the lightning racing track and nothing can describe the acceleration the noise of that V10 screaming down the back straight was nothing but incredible. And if you did your research you would have found the reason why Lexus would only allow you to lease a car for the first two years was to keep speculators from buying the cars and reselling them at exorbitant amounts of money. Since it was 500 limited production run car and they new there was strong possibility of this happening to LFA which has occurred to other limited production vehicles. This practice of Leasing for the minute production one vehicles first is now become commonplace by many manufacturers once again stops the speculators from turning this from a 375000 car 675000 car overnight and for other vehicles 500000 car to 1 million dollar car. A person recently paid 1 million for first Supra what moron.

  10. The only thing failing is Donut Media for attacking PlastiDip using 5 year old products the WRONG WAY. Take Fonzi's challenge, go there, learn how to do it the right way, use the RIGHT PRODUCTS, and see how things turn out. Grow a set and do it the right way, or or make a retraction video admitting you screwed up.

  11. Cant just review the car without being so excited and annoying, thats beside the action music you play, too American 😁👌

  12. This guy is the annoying equivalent of Guy Fieri of the automotive world. EVERYTHING IS JUST SO OFF THE CHAIN OMG LETS STRESS EVERY OTHER WORD!!!

  13. 'No one bought', you say? They sold all 500 that they made. How exactly were they supposed to sell more than they made?

  14. The car not failed everyone or every owner of the car,,but YOU DONUT MEDIA purposely give a bad comment for the car because you see when you give bad comment even it is not true you can gain more view on your channel….but you forget you also create a bad reputation for your channel too……YOU DON'T DESERVE ANY SUPPORT FOR CHANNEL….

  15. Sounded great but had mediocre and downright dangerous handling, and a terrible transmission. That’s why it failed. Dangerous handling because it killed Toyota’s chief test driver. Not on a track, but on a normal road.

  16. The first time I saw one I wanted one but I was in high school and broke but one day hopefully I can drive one and hear that sexy sound coming out of the exhaust in irl

  17. It may have failed in sales but its still respected. Its like that fine made samurai sword you have on the wall that youre never going to use in the field, but you marvel at it.

  18. LFA was expensive and an under performer it was way slower than a mp4 12c considering how much better cars are now compared to then it so for me the cost to benefit ratio simply didn't justify sounds good but drives slower

  19. Man I remember reading about this car up until the release in 09 then seeing it get bashed by car magazines after it ran the Nurburgring then the car disappeared. Looking at an up close "Bumper2Bumper"… I want one lol.

  20. Titanium valves, aluminum pistons, magnesium valve covers? Big deal. Most Japanese and Ducati high-end sport bikes have been rocking this combination for the past 15 years. Auto guys have just gotten used to being overcharged and under delivered for. . . pretty much ever.

  21. That V10 needs to be made available as a crate engine. Now.

    70's celica with a modern V10 anyone? Boxy MR2 (if it can fit) with pop-up headlights and that high pitched hum?

    Jibbers, what if you crammed one of them into the new supra?

  22. very hard to make a car using the same tooling as a F1 machine shop , and produce 500 F1 motor powered supercars and still come out with a profit. I think this car is more of a statement to lexus than it was to make money. Its honestly a beautiful car. I wish I made enough to afford one . A true masterpiece….

  23. I have read in an article that Lexus would like to build a new Lexus LFA… So I don't think this one is a FAIL.

  24. Gotta give credit where it’s due. Lexus built a great super car for it’s time. Miles ahead of other brand’s halo cars. Bmw i8 complete joke, first gen audi R8 v8 was another joke.

  25. The concept of the lfa started back in the early 90’s the engine testing was the same as the 94 Supra that beat the zr1 corvette

  26. I would walk 1000 miles bare foot on used needles while juggling the hulks balls in my mouth just to drive one of these

  27. wait… this halo car still uses an old fashion key inserted to be able to start the motor??? umm… thats SO last century technology…. wth? i really like this car but the price is ridiculous… like id buy a Ferrari mclaren labo kinda price…

  28. Technically, it did fail, when we talk about finances, margins and all this stuff. But actually it didn't fail at all. Take a Veyron for example, it's just about the same story

  29. First 3 seconds was enough to give me the answer…….it definitely didn’t fail. It’s beautiful in every single way. Just look at it but that’s only a tiny part of what makes it special because imagine blasting through the hills or a tunnel with that perfectly pitched V10 howling behind you.The stuff dreams are made of right there. Soooooo time for me to win the lottery 😢🤤

  30. Nice review. Yea it is sad the LFA doesn't get the credit it deserves…….because it's too expensive at that price point…… And one more thing…….

    Your a Funny Guy!

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