Top Gear’s Richard Hammond Reviews the Lexus LFA

Top Gear's Richard Hammond Reviews the Lexus LFA

In addition to his test drive of the Lexus LFA on Top Gear, Richard Hammond also recently wrote a review of the supercar for the British daily, the Mirror. It reads much like his on-air segment, singing praises of the LFA’s bespoke construction and exotic performance, while again resorting to hang-ups over the price and brand image.  First, some quotes about the LFA itself, using a sci-fi starship as an analogy:

I genuinely reached up to flip down the visor on my space helmet before driving it. It perhaps goes some way to soothing the itch caused by the constant nagging presence of a 300 grand price tag to know that the designers went so far as to come up with their own, brand-new composite for the tub of the LFA. It’s always nice to know that people have been thorough, and inventing new materials to make a car kind of covers thorough.

The V10 howls and shrieks and there is an enormous amount of shove from the moment you hit the throttle and wait for the stars to blur either side as you leave the mothership.

The stars didn’t actually blur but it felt like they might – 552bhp is a lot of power and the 9,000rpm redline is always within reach, the engine spinning up with a tempting willingness. It wants to play and no mistake.

As in other reviews, the LFA definitely sounds like an E-ticket experience, with a thrilling ride that words seem unable to capture. Despite this, for all the praiseworthy talk of out-of-this world performance and exotic materials, when it comes to price, Hammond is staunchly down-to-earth:

It does feel special, make no bones about it. The width, the futuristic interior, the digital clocks, the howling V10 and the exotic materials all put this car somewhere beyond the norm.

But at over 300 grand, is it ever going to be far enough beyond the rest of the pack? A Ferrari 458 costs £175k, a last of the line Lamborghini Murcielago LP-670, £275k. And those two have Ferrari and Lamborghini badges. This has a Lexus badge.

It’s funny that the “value” argument comes up with such a high frequency for certain LFA reviewers, simply because this is a Lexus.  It goes to show that some people place more emphasis on the badge than others. Moreover, as Evo‘s Chris Harris recently pointed out, value comparisons with supercars are by definition an oxymoron (also noting that a Bugatti Veyron isn’t twelve times the performance of a GT-R). At this level of car purchasing, value considerations go out the window—it’s too bad that Hammond has a “thanks, but no thanks” approach due to cost.

(The comparison to a “70s sci-fi movie” also makes one wonder what film would best fit that comparison—probably not the original Star Wars with its lived-in, sharp-angled spaceships.  The LFA’s smooth, unblemished curves and contrasting surfaces seem almost organic to this observer. Perhaps a comparison to other films, say from the late 90’s or early 00’s, would be more apt?)

[Source: The Daily Mirror]