Lexus LFA rev counter - Art of Speed

The Lexus LFA's rev counter is one shaped directly by its engine, and it's a magnificent piece of design

Lexus had a clear choice when it came to deciding what sort of dials and gauges the drivers of its LFA supercar should see beneath the arc of its exquisite carbonfibre steering-wheel rim: functional or fancy. Fortunately, being a Japanese company that had allotted a more or less open-ended budget and nine years of development time to the realisation of its £350,000 statement two-seater, it could choose both. And the result, for some, was as mesmerising as the sound of the LFA’s extraordinary naturally aspirated 4.8-litre V10 closing in on its 9000rpm red line.

Not even Ferrari had a road car with quite such a scintillating 9.0k soundtrack, so making it the focus of the driver’s attention was a natural starting point for chief engineer Haruhiko Tanahashi and his team. The LFA’s race car-like appetite for revs, and their rapid-fire disposal, in part informed what sort of display was needed – no conventional rev counter would be able to live with the unloaded V10’s ability to go from idle to 9000rpm in 0.6sec. The LFA’s would, and it would be at the centre of a moving stage.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

> Lexus LFA: history, review and specs of an icon

Thin Film Transistor (TFT) representations of analogue dials were already commonplace in the latest generation of passenger jets, but rare in the automotive industry. Lexus could have bundled together a number of TFT screens, made them look pretty, and left it there. But the team had ambition far beyond that. With design and programming help from Gran Turismo video game wizards Polyphony Digital, it set about creating a thing of fascinating beauty, with a number of kinetic elements that looked more like cinema CGI special effects.

From start-up, the display appears to consist of one large rev counter with a glowing, 3D luminescence and a digital speedo and gear indicator at its centre. This is flanked by two wings of ‘virtual’ auxiliary gauges. It is a living, all-but breathing, thing. Switch through the LFA’s driving modes – from Auto, via Normal to Sport – and the display’s numbers, by stages, become bigger and bolder until, in Sport, the dial face changes from black to white and the red line moves to the top of the dial calibration. As the LCD digital needle approaches, the whole dial gets bathed in red (or yellow or green if you prefer).

Amazing enough. But cooler still is the way the big dial smoothly, electrically eases across the display area when you call up the main menu. Until someone invents a holographic head-up display, nothing beats that.

Most Popular

Honda Civic Type-R hatchback

Honda Civic Type R GT 2020 review – still king of the hot hatch crop?

Subtle tweaks have made the Type R an even more formidable hot hatch, but we’re keen to try one again soon to understand fully the changes to the susp…
22 Sep 2020

All-new BMW M4 Competition revealed – next generation super coupe debuts

The new BMW M4 Competition applies its war paint, but there’s no manual coming to the UK
23 Sep 2020
BMW M3 saloon

All-new BMW M3 Competition revealed – an icon reborn

This is the all-new BMW M3 Competition saloon which will join the M4 Competition coupe in BMW M’s new M3/4 family
23 Sep 2020
Ford Fiesta hatchback

Five fast Ford Fiestas – celebrating small, hot Fords

Not only is the Ford Fiesta one of Britain’s most popular cars, it’s also one of the most accessible ways into a real driver’s car. We look at five of…
22 Sep 2020