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.

GQ (Australia) - - CARS -

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

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