Known for its 0–60 mph time of 3.6 seconds or less, the Lexus LFA is any supercar fan’s dream. This is the LFA Nürburgring Edition in Sunset Orange, a 2-seat supercar. It is one of only 50 LFA Nürburgring cars ever built. It has been on display in the Balise Lexus showroom since July 2012. Only driven by dealership personnel, it has 1,603 actual miles. Development on the original LFA concept began in the early 2000s, and the final car, equipped with Nürburgring Package, was completed in 2012. This edition is known to have more horsepower and a transmission with faster shifts. The vehicle was hand-assembled and built using a loom that weaves carbon-fiber strands in 3D. The V10 revs from 0 to 9,000 rpm in 0.6 seconds. It was necessary to develop a special tachometer with a digital needle for this car; it was the only way to accurately keep up with the V10 revving from idle at such a high rpm. With the driver sitting so close to the center of the vehicle, they are able to feel and control the vehicle like never before. During testing of the LFA Nürburgring Package, this exact vehicle, with test driver Akira Iida at the wheel, set the lap record for a production car on non-competition tires: 7:14.64. It is powered by a 4.8-liter, 562-hp V10 backed by a 6-speed sequential transmission.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring
Years Produced:2011–12
Number Produced:50
Original List Price:$445,000
SCM Valuation:$368,500
Tune Up Cost:Ultra expensive, as Lexus has to fly in a special mechanic
Chassis Number Location:Driver’s side firewall
Engine Number Location:Front of engine, left cylinder bank
Club Info:Lexus Owners Club
Alternatives:2015–18 Audi R8 V10, 2016–18 Ferrari 488, 2011–16 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot 724, sold for $770,000, including buyer’s premium, at Barrett-Jackson’s Palm Beach, FL, auction on April 14, 2018.

2018 is an exciting year because it looks like the Lexus LFA might finally be released to the public. That may sound funny because all 500 examples of the LFA were made back in 2011 and 2012, but, because of Lexus’ strange method of distribution, many of those cars were not actually sold for several years.

Some have remained in dealer showrooms, serving as impressive lobby sculptures.

There’s no doubt that the LFA is an impressive car. It’s a front-mid-engine, rear-transaxle, rear-drive supercar, with a normally aspirated 4.8-liter V10 powerplant good for 552 horsepower in base form, or 562 horsepower in the Nürburgring edition.

The chassis is made of dry carbon fiber woven on a special loom that cost Lexus a billion dollars to build. The complex carbon-fiber components are bonded together with a special polymer, and the monocoque structure supports front and rear aluminum sub frames for the driveline.

The LFA features a 6-speed sequential gearbox, brake-by-wire, carbon ceramic rotors, launch control, custom carbon-fiber luggage, and a fancy Mark Levinson stereo. The original MSRP for a basic LFA was $375,000 — or $445,000 for one of the 50 examples of the track-ready Nürburgring edition with upgraded aero, suspension, wheels and shifting.

Of course, actually getting your hands on one was a challenge.

The world’s fastest wallflowers

Lexus allocated 150 LFAs to North American dealers, and initially offered the car only on a two-year lease to prevent a speculative resale bubble. The company later modified the distribution plan into a sale contract giving right of first refusal back to the original dealer for a period of two years.

However, the speculators never got their hands on the LFA because many dealers just sat on their single allocation. The LFA mostly served as a gee-whiz halo car to impress the daily run of SUV-buying suburbanites. As of August 2017, 12 never-sold LFAs were still known to be sitting at American dealerships. The subject car is one of those old maids, having been “on display” at Balise Lexus in West Springfield, MA, for the past six years.

The ice is breaking

To further chill the LFA market, the people who leased/bought one when the cars were new didn’t generally part with them. Very few LFAs have ever been advertised for sale or run across an auction stage. But now that the model has a few years on it, the ice on the market is starting to break up, and things are moving.

We analyzed an LFA sale in these pages back in September of 2015, and at that time a still-new car sold for just $335,000 (Lot 3418, Russo and Steele, Newport Beach, CA, June 2015). That was $40,000 under the original MSRP. Ouch.

The LFA might now be ripe for the market. In addition to the subject sale, there have been three more LFA sales recorded in the SCM Platinum Auction Database during the past year. Of those, only one went for less than the original MSRP (SCM# 6846342) with a sale price of $357,500. Another dealer-virgin Nürburgring edition sold in January 2018 for $825,000 (SCM# 6856499). The remaining sale (SCM# 6850437) is a European-market car that went for $402,907, which is about what you’d expect for a good exotic.

The market seems to be reaching that magic moment when prices are high enough that LFA owners will be tempted to cash out. Right now there are five LFAs advertised for sale at dealerships from Georgia to California, with asking prices ranging from $390,800 to $530,000. The most-driven one has 1,739 miles on the odometer.

Is this the top of the market?

There’s one more factor that could boost the LFA market: This car might become more affordable over the next few years.

The reason for that conjecture is that the LFA’s performance was great in 2011, but in 2018, 552 horsepower (or 562 for the Nürburgring model) just ain’t what it used to be. Today, any Lexus dealer will sell you a new LC500 with 471 horses for $92,000. While the LFA is still more rakish and exotic, the LC500 looks remarkably like its older cousin, albeit smoother, with fewer vents and no wing. The LC will do 0–60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, compared to the LFA at 3.6 seconds. If we dare to compare the LFA with a new Corvette ZR1, $130,000 will get you from 0 to 60 mph in 2.85 seconds, and that includes a track-ready package. Unofficially, the new ZR1 beat the Lexus around the Nürburgring by about two seconds.

The point is, time has marched on quite a bit since the LFA was the new hotness. With no great brand mystique like Ferrari or McLaren to fall back on, will the LFA continue to command top dollar? Only time will tell.

The subject LFA for this story is a perfectly representative example of the breed. It has very low miles, with some actually put on at the Nürburgring by a professional driver who set a record. But the car was never sold to an individual until now.

So let’s have a round of applause for Balise Lexus, who sold this LFA at what may well be the top of the market. The rest of us should keep a weather eye on LFA prices as these uniquely sheltered exotics make their way out into the world. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of Barrett-Jackson.)

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