Lexus has taken the wraps off of something a bit different for the luxury car brand – a Sport Yacht Concept. Making its debut at Di Lido Island on Biscayne Bay, Miami Beach, Florida, the seagoing Lexus is a one-of-a-kind proof-of-concept that uses similar design language to the marque's land-lubber vehicles and is powered by two Lexus V8 engines.
The new concept was inspired by a visit by Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda to the company's Marine Department, which prompted him to meld the power of Toyota's Ponam Marine range's turbodiesel powertrains and advanced hull designs to Lexus's premium styling as a way of expanding the luxury brand.
The Lexus Design Center was tasked with developing a one-off, not-for-market open sports yacht with twin high-performance Lexus V8s and advanced styling and handling intended for carrying six to eight guests on recreational day-touring trips. According to Lexus, the design has been through several iterations since 2015 as the Marine Department dealt with the problems of construction and developing the onboard marine systems.
Built by the Marquis-Carver Yacht Group of Pulaski, Wisconsin, the concept is one of those yachts that takes a cliche, embraces it and redefines it. Saying that a high-powered luxury day yacht is like a "knife" was old by the time the first one ever hit the water, but the 42-ft (12.7-m) long, 13-ft (3.86-m) abeam Lexus Sports Yacht Concept is not only knife-like, it looks like a giant version of a high-end skinning knife that means business.
And it isn't just a matter of styling. Inside the streamlined, stepped-planing hull are twin marine version five-liter V8 gasoline engines derived from the 2UR-GSE used in the Lexus RC F coupe, the GS F sport sedan, and the LC 500 grand tourer. Together, they punch 885 bhp (660 kW) that allows the concept to top out at 43 kts (49 mph, 79 km/h). For in-harbor maneuvering, there's also a joystick-controlled bow thruster.
Lexus likes to emphasize the Sport Yacht Concept's construction, which is based on a deck unit and hull made of a hand-laid composite of two-part polyurethane epoxy resin reinforced with hand-laid woven carbon fiber cloth bonded together into a single structure around the inner frame. According to the company, this Carbon-Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) is the same used in race cars and supercars like the Lexus LFA, as well as high-performance military and civilian aircraft. By using this composite, the designers were able to trim a cool 2,200 lb (1,000 kg) off the weight when compared to glass fiber hulls.
In the cockpit, the Lexus Sport Yacht Concept boasts a helm with a color touchscreen panel to display digital charts, GPS, radar, sonar, and control the lighting and entertainment systems. The captain's seat is even power adjustable with armrests that fold out to become jump seats.
Meanwhile, the interior decor boasts lots of Lexus leather, wood and glass trim, a sofa seating six with a table, air conditioning, a full galley complete with undercounter refrigerator, and a head with shower. In addition, when wave hopping gets a bit dull there's a fully networked entertainment system with 4G, Wi-Fi & WAN, and a speaker system by Revolution Acoustics powered by a Mark Levinson Reference digital amplifier.
"This concept for a Lexus Sport Yacht allowed us to explore how Lexus design language could be applied to a maritime lifestyle," says Yoshihiro Sawa, executive vice president of Lexus International. "For the Lexus Design Center this project has been very exciting. The effort is valuable to us as it stirs our creative energies and pushes our imagination to design and lifestyle possibilities outside of the automotive realm we know well."