BBC Autos

The Roundabout Blog

How to fix a $400,000 Lexus LFA? Carefully

About the author

Deputy editor of BBC Autos, Jonathan was formerly the editor of The New York Times' Wheels blog. His automotive writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Details, Surface, Intersection and Design Observer. He has an affinity for the Citroën DS and Toyota pickup trucks of the early 1990s.

Lexus LFA Centre of Excellence

(Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK, via Newspress)

Befitting a car wearing a body woven from carbon fibre, there’s more to servicing a Lexus LFA than a wrench and a forklift.

Repairing and maintaining the 38 LFAs in Europe falls to Toyota Motorsport, the Japanese carmaker’s racing development base on the continent, located in Cologne, Germany. Lexus, Toyota’s luxury subsidiary, built 500 LFAs during the model’s run, with prices beginning at roughly $400,000 in North America. Even at that price point, Toyota lost money on every model produced. A carbon fibre loom, purpose-built for the LFA, was said to cost $1bn alone.

At the so-called LFA Centre of Excellence in Cologne, the cars are given treatment befitting an endurance racer, where body panels are removed, lugs tightened and ceramic brakes checked for the slightest nick.

“The servicing principles are the same as for a normal Lexus road car, but it’s much more complicated to do certain things and access certain parts, which makes the LFA closer to a racing car in terms of how we take care of it,” said Peter Dresden, the shop manager, in a statement.

The LFA, which Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson memorably called the best car he had ever driven, contains a free-revving 4.8-litre V10 engine producing 552 horsepower. Lexus ceased official production in 2012, though there have been racing versions produced since then, including the Code X endurance machine. And LFAs have been fixtures of the Nürburgring 24 Hours race in Germany since 2008.

Pricing for Centre of Excellence servicing is not publicly disclosed, but as with most things related to the LFA, there are surely some pulse-quickening numbers involved.