Lexus is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Starting from the original LS to the 4.8 litre V10 LFA supercar, here are 25 things that you may not have known about the brand.
1. Toyota had an F1 project a lot earlier than you might think – The original codename for the development of the first LS was ‘F1’ (‘Flagship One’).
2. During the development of the original LS, one team member was assigned to ensure the feel of each and every button and switch was perfect. He carried around three sets of fake nails to ensure buttons were suitable for all types of customer.
3. Lexus has launched in many countries around the world, but didn’t actually go on sale in Japan until 2005.
4. Lexus was the first manufacturer to enter a production hybrid vehicle at the Nurburgring 24 hours race (an RX 400h).
5. The leather used to upholster Lexus seats is made from the hides of cows that are kept without the use of barbed wire, to ensure perfect quality.
6. The latest LS can be specified with a wooden steering wheel using a shimamoku technique that involves 67 manufacturing steps and takes 31 days to complete.
7. The latest LS features alloys with hollow spokes to minimise intrusion of road noise into the cabin.
8. The engine block of a Lexus GS is vacuum cast to ensure no imperfections.
9. Lexus called on Toyota Group’s 100 year expertise in fabric weaving to develop a special carbon fibre loom for the production of the LFA.
10. The 4.8-litre V10 used by LFA weighs less than Lexus’s 3.5-litre V6 – but creates twice the horsepower.
11. The tachometer of LFA had to be digital, as analogue units could not keep pace with the engine.
12. Lexus called in Yamaha to acoustically tune the engine note of the original LS.
13. A few famous Lexus drivers, past and present:
- Hollywood actress, Sienna Miller (RX 450h)
- UK artist, David Hockney (LS 460)
- Ex-chairman of Ford Motor Company, Alan Mulally (LS 400)
- Albert II, Crown Prince of Monaco (One-off LS 600hL Landaulet)
14. Lexus sells more hybrid vehicles than any other premium manufacturer. In UK, 95 per cent of all Lexus sold are specified with a hybrid powertrain.
15. Lexus paint inspectors are required to pass an examination of their skills four times a year to continue working on the line.
16. Only the best manufacturing professionals in the Toyota Group can apply to work for Lexus. If successful, they are designated as a Takumi (artisan).
17. Lexus has come a long way with its designs. The design of the 1st generation GS was derived from an Italdesign concept completed for Jaguar called ‘The Kensington’. 19 years on, the LF-LC coupe wowed crowds at the 2012 Detroit Motor Show, and was awarded the EyesOn Design prize.
18. There were no animal-derived products used during the construction of Paul McCartney’s personal LS 600h.
19. In 2004, hot rod manufacturer Larry Wood was commissioned to build a one-off car using a Lexus 4.0-litre V8, outputting 400 horsepower.
20. The SC430 is a multiple winner of the Japanese Super GT racing series. It has taken the drivers and constructors crown three times.
21. The latest generations of GS and LS are specified with the ‘nano-e’ air conditioning system, designed to moisturise skin and hair, and deodorise the cabin.
22. Geordie songsmith Chris Rea used the Mark Levinson sound system in his LS to listen back to early versions of songs for his latest album on drives home.
23. The 4th generation LS is all about relaxation for passengers. The right hand rear seat can be fitted with an ottoman reclining feature and shiatsu massage function.
24. The top of the sunglasses holder in the NX has a special feature, a small vanity mirror, perfect for the passenger to touch up their make up on the move.
25. Back in the ‘90s, Lexus was the 660th most popular girls name in the United States.