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The Best Engine of the Last Decade Is Found Inside a Lexus

If you’ve been curious about the most unique, sensational, and powerful engine of the past decade, you’re in luck — YouTube channel Throttle House has released its list of the top 10 best engines from the last 10 years. Topping the list? The 1LR-GUE, which can be found in the Lexus LFA.

What makes the 1LR-GUE the decade’s best engine?

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What fans first notice about the 1LR-GUE might well be its sound. This naturally aspirated, 4.8-liter V10 engine puts forth a low growl that supercar fans everywhere are sure to fall in love with. In fact, once it gets past 3,000 rpm, the exhaust gases are routed around the deadening chambers; this is what gives the engine its iconic sound.

This engine gets a stunning 553 hp. It is composed of magnesium, titanium, and aluminum, which means that it is incredibly light even as it puts forth so much power. With its low mass and low friction internals, the 1LR-GUE is able to rev from idle to 9,000 rpm in just six-tenths of a second.

According to Throttle House, the chief design engineer of the Lexus LFA stated “What we needed, and what we created, was a car that moved the driver in more ways than one.” This impressive engine was always intended to rise to the top of any “best of” lists.

The unique history of the Lexus LFA

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Although you may not expect it, the decade’s best engine can be found in a Lexus. But the LFA isn’t your typical sedan. Car and Driver began reporting on this highly exclusive supercar in 2009, when, after almost a decade of releasing prototypes and concept cars, Lexus finally made a firm production announcement about the LFA.

This extravagant vehicle was exclusive right from the start. Lexus made just 500 of them, beginning production in December of 2010. And, surprisingly, the automaker claimed that it would be losing money on every vehicle sold. 

Although the LFA was initially priced at a lavish $350,000, it was actually fairly affordable when you consider the incredible engine contained within. In fact, the only vehicle with a similar amount of power and exclusivity — the Ferrari Enzo — was almost twice as expensive at $650,000.

Why the Lexus LFA stands out

A white Lexus LFA on display at an auto show
A white Lexus LFA on display | Martyn Lucy/Getty Images

Besides having the best engine of the past 10 years, the Lexus LFA has no shortage of impressive stats and features. Weighing in at just 3,263 pounds, this carbon fiber vehicle is designed with aerodynamics similar to the Mercedes SLR McLaren. 

The engineering team specifically chose to work with carbon fiber because the material enabled them to give the LFA incredibly sharp cutoffs and edges, helping it go even faster. The LFA’s drag coefficient is fairly low at 0.31, and it produces a significant amount of downforce. 

You can spot the careful design of the LFA even in the smallest details. The door mirrors have slightly curved inner edges, a shape which guides air over the LFA’s rear fenders to feed the radiators that are mounted at its rear.

The impressive design doesn’t stop once you sit down in the LFA. Its cabin, according to Car and Driver, is “restrained but tasteful.” Surprisingly roomy, the interior is full of leather, carbon fiber, Alcantara, and other high quality materials that create a truly luxurious feel.

Despite containing the decade’s best engine and offering a fairly unique driving experience, the LFA isn’t actually too intimidating when you get behind the wheel. In fact, Car and Driver notes that the controls are as intuitive as any that you’d find in a standard Lexus sedan.

Its incredibly impressive stats and exclusive nature absolutely set the 1LR-GUE apart as one of the best engines out there — and the unique history of the Lexus LFA only adds to this engine’s intrigue.