Chief engineer of the Lexus LFA program Haruhiko Tanahashi has told of his sadness about the demise of high-revving naturally-aspirated supercar engines, admitting that future supercars will either be turbocharged or hybrids.
“I have completed LFA as natural aspiration,” Tanahashi begins. “It realise the pure gasoline-using engine car, I would say it is the ultimate gasoline engine car.
“I think going forward that it would be difficult for the supercar only using gasoline engine [and] because … I anticipated that, we purely pursued the V10 engine for the LFA because I thought this could be the last car using the engine only.
“Personally I am sad.”
The $750,000 Lexus LFA – of which only 10 of a 500-unit production run were imported to Australia – utilised a 4.8-litre V10 engine that produced 412kW of power at 8700rpm and 480Nm of torque at 7000rpm, and revved to 9500rpm.
While Tanahashi-san has closed the door on utilising high-revving naturally-aspirated engines in future supercars, he hasn’t ruled out Toyota or Lexus doing another LFA-style project.
“If you’re talking about hybrid supercar, maybe,” the chief engineer said. “You know Ferrari has already used hybrid, or Porsche 918…
“The trend in the market is to make engines that are turbocharged, supercharged or hybrid motor, so there is a high possibility that that kind of car can be made in the future.”
Yet Tanahashi-san was also quick to point out potential differences between a Ferrari and Porsche-style hybrid system and the ones being used by Toyota and Lexus.
“They are using that motor, but their motor is sort of small scale motor, it’s not like something used by Lexus hybrid [which is] using a full fledged motor…” he explains.
There are suggestions, however, that Toyota and Lexus will aim to fill the sizeable gap between the current high-performance IS F sedan and the now-defunct LFA supercar with a semi-affordable sports model.
“Maybe under the brand of Lexus, maybe under the brand of Toyota, another sports car could be launched,” Tanahashi-san suggests.
“I hope another sports car could be launched in the future”.
Asked whether the future sports car may be engineered in conjunction with BMW, the LFA chief engineer said “I think that kind of talking [with BMW] are going on in the company, that’s what I have heard…”