Looking like something straight out of a James Bond movie, Lexus unveiled its 42-ft Sport Yacht concept at Di Lido Island on Biscayne Bay, Miami Beach, FL, in mid-January.
Although the one-off project has no production-line intent, it was a great way to show off the high design of the Marine Business Department of Toyota Motor Corp. combined with the engineering and manufacturing capabilities of the Marquis-Carver Yacht Group (Pulaski, WI) and, specifically, their depth of skill in large, hand-laid composite structures. It also highlighted how Toyota/Lexus engineers can produce an impressive mash-up of car-boat-aero technologies and materials engineering while still making a nod to the broad Toyota design lexicon.
The project began a few years ago, when the Toyota Marine Department (founded in 1997 to develop premium yachts using advanced technology and quality-control methods perfected in making Lexus luxury cars) invited Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda to spend several days on the water driving their new Ponam range of premium yachts about to be launched in Japan.
As a master driver, Toyoda was inspired by the power of the turbodiesel powertrains and the handling and stability of the advanced hull designs. As the chief branding officer of Lexus International, he also appreciated the potential of a stylish premium performance yacht to complement the Lexus lifestyle.
Toyota Marine's Ponam line has had a lot of practice, including the production of fiberglass sport-fishing boats in 26- and 28-ft lengths and luxury cabin cruisers in 31-, 35-, 37-, and 45-ft lengths with durable and quiet hulls of fully welded A5083 aluminum alloy. Ponam models are powered by high-efficiency turbodiesel engines based on the Lexus GX 300d (3.0-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder) and LX 450d (twin-turbo diesel 4.5-liter V8) luxury utility vehicles. The Toyota Ponam line is the market leader in the premium yacht industry in Japan.
From 1998 to 2002, Toyota Marine also developed and produced the Epic line of fiberglass tournament ski boats and wakeboard boats, primarily for the U.S. market, all powered by the 4.0-liter 1UZ-FE DOHC gasoline V8 from the Lexus LS 400 luxury sedan.
The Toyoda/Ponam-driving visit inspired members of the Marine Department to envision how a premium performance yacht might expand the Lexus brand into new areas of lifestyle and recreation.
A brief for an open sport yacht for recreational day-touring with six to eight guests, powered by twin high-performance Lexus V8s and with advanced styling and handling, was given to the Lexus Design Center in Toyota City, Japan. In the summer of 2015, concepts from the design team were evaluated by Senior Managing Officer Tokuo Fukuichi, Chief Officer of Global Design and President of Lexus International; Senior Managing Officer Shigeki Tomoyama in charge of the Toyota Marine Department, and President Toyoda. The selected proposal continued to be refined throughout 2015 as the Marine Department engineered the construction and onboard marine systems.
The design of the Lexus Sport Yacht concept has the upper deck and outer hull seamlessly bonded around the inner structure, each piece a single massive hand-laid composite of two-part polyurethane epoxy resin reinforced with hand-laid woven carbon fiber cloth, a composite material called carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, or CFRP. CFRP is the technology used in the structure of racecars and supercars like the 202-mph, 553-hp Lexus LFA; high-performance military and civilian aircraft; competition skis and bicycles; and world-class racing sailboats.
According to its makers, the Lexus Sport Yacht concept's unique CFRP construction saves nearly 2,200 lb compared to a similar yacht in fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP). The underwater hull design is stepped to reduce resistance or drag and improve handling balance at high speeds.
2017 Lexus RC F coupe.
The concept is powered by twin 5.0-liter V8 gasoline engines based on the 2UR-GSE high-performance engine of the Lexus RC F coupe, the GS F sport sedan, and the new LC 500 grand tourer. Each engine produces 440 hp, driving the yacht at speeds up to 49 mph (43 knots) through a pair of hydraulically controlled inboard/outboard stern drives. A bow thruster with joystick control aids in docking.
The captain controls and monitors onboard systems from a color touchscreen panel at the helm; screens show GPS navigation, digital charts, surface radar, underwater sonar, lighting, and entertainment systems. The captain's seat is power adjustable, and the armrests fold out to become jump seats on each side for very special guests.
The forward passenger cabin is inviting in luxurious Lexus leather with wood and glass details. A standing-height table with sofa seating for six and air conditioning create a comfortable environment for intimate entertaining. The galley features a two-burner stove, sink, and under-counter refrigerator; a beautifully finished head includes a shower.
An integrated audio-video entertainment system is fully networked, with 4G WiFi and WAN. Sound reproduction is by Revolution Acoustics' surface-mounted drivers using the ceiling panel as a transducer, powered by a Mark Levinson Reference digital amplifier.
VIDEO: Up close and personal with the twin RC F 5.0 engines in the Lexus Sport Yacht Concept courtesy of Mike Forsythe, long-time car enthusiast and forum administrator for the "Lexus Enthusiast."