Lexus F

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Emblem of the Lexus F-performance division.

The Lexus F marque represents the high-performance division of cars produced by Lexus. The F marque refers to Flagship[1] and Fuji Speedway, the site of Lexus performance vehicle development in Oyama, Suntō District, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan.[2] The first vehicle in the Lexus F marque lineup, the Lexus IS F, was announced in 2006, and an F marque coupe concept, the Lexus LF-A, followed in 2007. All Lexus F performance vehicles are denoted by namesake badging on the front fenders. A related line of performance accessories, Lexus F-Sport, was launched for 2007. The "F" designation was originally used at Lexus' launch in 1989, as an internal code for the development of its first flagship vehicle.[1]

History

F marque V8 engine.

In late 2006, Lexus filed trademark applications for an "F" emblem, leading to speculation that the luxury marque was about to launch a performance brand.[3] At the time it was suggested that "F" stood for "Fast" or "Flagship." Later reports surmised that "F" referred to the Fuji Speedway in Japan, whose first corner, 27R, was said to have inspired the shape of the "F" emblem.[2] Interviews with company executives in prior years had included mentions of Lexus possibly starting a performance brand to compete with the likes of Mercedes' AMG, Audi's S/RS, Cadillac's V-series, and BMW's M division, among others. An earlier in-house tuning effort, the TRD-based L-Tuned, had offered performance packages on the IS 300 and GS 400 sedans in the early 2000s.

In December 2006, Lexus announced that the first vehicle in the F marque lineup, the Lexus IS F sedan, previously known in the press as the IS 500,[4] would premiere at the North American International Auto Show in January 2007. The vehicle subsequently premiered at Detroit along with a redesigned version of the concept LF-A sports car. At its press debut, Lexus revealed that a separate "skunk works" team designed the IS F in a manner distinct from typical Lexus engineering efforts. The chief designer of the IS F, Yukihiko Yaguchi, previously worked on the Toyota Supra. Media reports suggested that the IS F sedan would be followed by a GS F sedan[5] and Lexus IS F coupe.[3]

F marque models

Lexus IS F

The first Lexus F model, the IS F.
Further information: Lexus IS F

The Lexus IS F debuted to the public at the North American International Auto Show on January 8, 2007. The vehicle features a 5.0 L direct-injected V8 producing 416 SAE hp (423 PS, 311 kW) at 6,600 rpm, while peak torque is 371 ft·lbf (503 N·m) at 5,200 rpm.[6] The engine also features a two-stage intake system, engine oil and automatic transmission fluid coolers and an oil pump designed for high-speed cornering. Compared to the 2GR-FSE V6, 306 hp (228 kW) IS 350, the IS F features a 2UR-GSE V8 engine and over 400 hp (300 kW). The IS F was scheduled to be in dealerships by early 2008.

The IS F made its European premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2007, and premiered in Japan at the Fuji Speedway in October 2007. The vehicle went on sale for late 2007 in Japan, in early 2008 in the United States,[7] and in Europe in 2008.

Lexus LF-A

Further information: Lexus LF-A
The F marque Lexus LF-A coupe.

The Lexus LF-A F marque concept is a 2-seat coupe which was unveiled at the 2007 NAIAS. The LF-A's 4.8 liter V10 engine produces an estimated 552 horsepower (411 kW), propelling it to a top speed of approximately 210 miles per hour (336 km/h).[8] Some automotive media reports indicate that the LF-A concept car has been approved for production.[9] Prototypes of the LF-A had been spotted being tested at the Nürburgring, the famous motorsport race track in Nürburg, Germany. [10] On 10 May 2008, a LF-A prototype was entered on the Nürburgring 4 hour VLN endurance race where it surprisingly won the SP8 class.[11] The vehicle was also entered in the 24 Hours Nürburgring[12] where it qualified 27th[13] among 223 cars, and finished 7th in the SP8 class.

An F marque roadster version of the LF-A concept car (designated LF-A Roadster or LF-AR) was shown at the 2008 North American International Auto Show on January 13, 2008. Initial specifications for the roadster are a V10 engine under 5.0 L with over 500 hp and a top speed of over 200 mph.[14] The LF-A Roadster has a retractable rear spoiler for improved handling at speed.

Future models

Further information: Lexus GS F
The LF-A Roadster at NAIAS.

Expansion of the Lexus F lineup reportedly involves several new models. In addition to the existing LF-A concept coupe and roadster, initial reports indicated that the Lexus GS would be the next vehicle in the Lexus lineup to be developed into an F marque model. However, the GS F was reportedly delayed due to the economic downturn through 2008.[15] Further development of the LF-A concept was also subject to conflicting reports as to whether the vehicle would be used solely as a racing test platform, discontinue production, or emerge when more favorable economic circumstances arrive.[15] Interviews with company executives indicated that year-ehd sales of the IS F in 2008 were comparatively strong, and that an LS F model would likely follow if the GS F enters production.[15] Outfitting the Lexus flagship sedan would likely involve the use of the V10 engine developed for the LF-A.[15]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Lexus F series adds flash to brand". Reuters. 2007-10-11. http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4234145a30.html. Retrieved on 2009-01-02. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Pettendy, Marton; Martin, Terry (2007-06-21). "IS-F, TRD power-plays". GoAuto. http://www.goauto.com.au/mellor/mellor.nsf/story/EE775C71EC94A9A5CA257300001FC985?OpenDocument&Highlight=2,Lexus. Retrieved on 2007-08-27. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Toyota's Lexus readies performance division-report". Reuters. 2006-12-04. http://today.reuters.com/news/articleinvesting.aspx?view=CN&storyID=2006-12-04T083958Z_01_T233498_RTRIDST_0_LEXUS-PERFORMANCE.XML&rpc=66&type=qcna. Retrieved on 2006-12-05. 
  4. "Lexus High Performance - Brought to You by the Letter “F”". Automoblog. 2006-12-08. http://www.automoblog.net/2006/12/08/lexus-high-performance-brought-to-you-by-the-letter-f/. Retrieved on 2007-10-01. 
  5. "Lexus GS-F Artist Impression". paultan.org. 2007-04-03. http://paultan.org/archives/2007/04/03/lexus-gs-f-artists-impression/. Retrieved on 2007-05-17. 
  6. TOYOTA: News Releases
  7. Winding Road - Lexus IS-F Sales Start
  8. Lexus LF-A Concept Overview
  9. Lexus LF-A Greenlighted for Production
  10. 2011 Lexus LF-A
  11. http://www.ts-vln.com/valuation/2008-4-classes.html
  12. 24 Hours Nürburgring listing
  13. ADAC Zürich 24h Rennen
  14. Lexus Future Models - LF-AR
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Lavrinc, Damon (2008-12-04). "Lexus F range could expand to include LS F". Autoblog. http://www.autoblog.com/2008/12/04/lexus-f-range-could-expand-to-include-ls-f/. Retrieved on 2009-01-02. 

See also

External links