SHOOTING FOR THE STARS
WE’RE IN MIAMI, TO WITNESS LEXUS’S FRESH APPROACH TO INNOVATION AND WHY IT MEANS MUCH MORE THAN FOUR WHEELS.
It was last year that we first tasted the deeper meaning of Lexus’s updated global tagline, ‘experience amazing’. It came as part of an unsolicited email – announcing the arrival of a Lexus hoverboard and instantly fulfilling our Back to the Future dreams. Lexus had certainly delivered the ‘amazing’ – though you were going to need a solid stockpile of liquid nitrogen for fuel, and you could only hover in a specially-designed Lexus hover park. Sadly, everyday footpaths and streets aren’t lined with magnets required to repel a board above ground. The accompanying content series was equally cool, moving the brand beyond the lavish aerial views of cars taking on tight coastal bends and putting it under the feet of millennial skaters. It also displayed massive investment from the brand – in recent years shifting, successfully, into the arena of sporting performance and aggressive design, even if it’s still burdened by a blandness of brand perception left over from formative years when it was considered an arguably boring, more prestigious offshoot of Toyota. Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation president, is acutely aware of this predicament – but also seems to be the right man to solve it. Sure, the hoverboard was a way of capturing viral attention, but communicating the power, design, innovation and luxury of Lexus, for him, needed something with much larger impact. Enter the Lexus Super Yacht, a stonkingly beautiful 42ft one-off concept styled by Lexus designers, engineered by the Toyota Marine Department and built by Marquis Yachts of Pulaski. It has a little more grunt than the hoverboard, too, with twin V8 petrol engines (similar to those that drive the aforementioned Lexus LC 500 coupé) that can push the vessel to a speed of 79kph. The hull’s made entirely from carbon-fibre reinforced plastic and its design is inspired by the marque’s LFA supercar. All up, it’s an incredible statement – and you have to think if that doesn’t show the world that Lexus means business, what would? A Lexus spacecraft perhaps? Well, Lexus has done that, too. At the same time as unveiling the super yacht, the Lexus Skyjet was introduced to the world. The Skyjet is obviously not a working concept, but rather, imagines individual travel craft 700 years in the future for filmmaker Luc Besson’s ( The Fifth Element, The Big Blue) July outing, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. A full-scale model of the Skyjet was revealed to GQ Australia, and a flock of motoring journalists, earlier this year in Miami, Florida. Replete with the now famous Lexus grill design and badge, the Skyjet looked incredibly realistic, as if it would be coming soon to dealerships. We can but hope. lexus.com.au