Ever wonder what the 2012 Lexus LFA's 9000-rpm V10 sounds like at full song as you're standing right next to it? Wonder no more.
Today we caned the Lexus supercar over and over again on a Dynojet chassis dyno just to drink in that stupefying sound. Right, dyno charts are part of the bargain, too. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.
We've spent many an hour dyno-testing cars here at MD Automotive in Westminster, CA. High horsepower cars, muscle cars, modified cars, you name it. However, none of them are like this 552-horsepower, 354 lb-ft LFA.
This car is special, and it clues you in the moment you thumb the steering wheel-mounted 'Engine Start' button. There's a very rapid starter whine vreeee like a race car rather than the usual chunter chunter. Then the engine explodes to life with a whomp before instantly settling into a slightly busy idle, the timbre of which telegraphs that this is no ordinary 9000-rpm V10.
There's practically no inertia -- or so it seems -- to the LFA's 4.8-liter power plant. You touch the throttle, the revs soar instantly. You lift, they die. Instantly. Normal cars aren't like this. Normal cars have soft engine mounts, sluggish tip-in, obvious electronic throttle manipulation, delayed engine braking, lots of suck. Not this one. Again, special.
At 2000 rpm, there's not much going on. This thing would get walked by a Camry down here, and that's only a slight exaggeration.
Good thing there are seven thousand revs remaining with which to do something.
By the time the LFA hits 5000 rpm the hairs on your neck are standing at attention and the short-stroke ten-pot is just hitting its stride. The intake and exhaust notes commingle and cavort, producing a texture that is somehow more than simply an aural phenomenon. It's no longer making a sound, it is orchestrating a mechanical symphony.
The tach needle brushes past seven -- where most engines have long since checked out for the evening -- and the LFA is now reaching its torque peak of 346 lb-ft (as measured at the wheels). Its sound hardens, taking on a shriek.
Two thousand revs left. It's still charging towards the redline with barely-restrained enthusiasm. Still plenty more gravy in the decanter. At 8000 revs you wonder how it is possible that this is a street-legal production car engine.
9000 rpm. The engine has ceased being a mechanical device and is now an organism, absolutely shredding the air around it with its howl. Here it has just passed its power peak of 514 horsepower. Bam! The LFA hits the rev limiter like a wall. You have tunnel vision and your jaw is slightly agape. Your brain is the consistency of oatmeal.
This engine is gobsmacking. There are engines with more power, more torque, sure. But there is nothing on the planet like this engine. Its output as measured at the wheels -- which is slighly ahead of expectations -- is secondary to the experience it delivers. Raise a glass and wish it well, dear readers, as the 171 examples of the LFA that will be sold stateside will house the only known examples of this scintillating V10. Shame that something so good is limited to so few.