In its mission to extend the superior quality that has long been a hallmark of its vehicles, Lexus has again recruited the skills of Yamaha specialists experienced in piano manufacturing. As a result, craftsmanship skills admired in the world’s greatest concert halls are now being displayed in the more intimate surroundings of the new Lexus RX.
A laser-etching process used in the creation of some of the world’s most exclusive musical instruments is amplifying the fine contemporary quality of the real wood veneers featured in the luxury SUV’s cabin.
Applied to trim sections on the centre console and doors, the process makes precision cuts through the wood to expose a layer of aluminium beneath, creating a striking line design that draws on the sharp contrast between the rich qualities of the wood and the cool appearance of the metal. The effect is heightened by the application of a protective top coat that is polished to a high shine.
The technique is applied to the RX’s sapele wood option, a material with a distinctive ribbon grain that is also used in the manufacture of grand pianos and guitars. As the wood is delicate and vulnerable to damage, the work can only be done by skilled craftsmen. The quality of the results can be compared to a pinstripe woven into the material of a tailor-made suit, or a light-capturing design engraved on the surface of a piece of fine crystal.
This advanced process demonstrates how the new RX follows the pattern set by its successful predecessors in embracing innovative technologies, materials and designs that can reshape people’s perceptions of the kind of luxury a prestige SUV can deliver.
With the benefit of 100 years’ experience in creating products that please the eye and the ear, Yamaha has been working with Lexus since the launch of the premium automotive brand 25 years ago, providing high-end and exclusive ornamentation elements for the LS limousine and other models.
Demonstrating omotenashi – Japanese tradition of hospitality
The Yamaha laser cut wood inserts are one example among many features in the RX which are inspired by the best traditions of omotenashi, the Japanese concept of welcoming hospitality.
The principles of omotenashi have strongly influenced the way Lexus has designed the RX to be a vehicle in which people feel secure, comfortable and totally at their ease, with all their needs taken care of.
Omotenashi is valued by Lexus as a means of ensuring its vehicles exceed customer expectations. It involves close attention to detail and a personalised approach that understands that every customer is different. The aim is to create a warm and relaxed, yet refined interior environment.
Its influence can be seen many features of the new RX, from the limousine-like comfort provided for rear seat passengers to a power tailgate that can be opened with just the wave of a hand.
Limousine-like rear seat accommodation
Special attention has been paid to ensure everyone on board the new RX enjoys the highest levels of comfort, not least the rear passengers.
An increase in the vehicle’s wheelbase compared to the previous model has helped secure even more generous leg, head and shoulder room for the three rear seats. These feature integrated heaters and are power adjustable, with increased angles of recline and cushion slide adjustment (in a 60:40-split configuration).
The result is space and comfort that bear comparison with Lexus’ LS flagship limousine. The cabin ambience can be further enhanced by specifying a panoramic roof, which introduces more light and an even greater sense of spaciousness.
Smart power tailgate
The new RX is the first Lexus to offer the convenience of a smart power tailgate. If you are carrying bags or luggage, there’s no need to fumble for your key fob or reach for the tailgate release button to open up the trunk. Instead, you can just move your hand over the Lexus emblem on the tailgate to operate the mechanism – you don’t even have to touch it.
A sensor recognises the key fob in your pocket or bag and the trigger motion to open the tailgate. The system will work even if you are wearing gloves, and with an elbow motion if both your hands are full. The result is an extra level of convenience and luxury that perfectly expresses the hospitality principles enshrined in omotenashi.
World-first height-adjustable cup/bottle holder
Cupholders are provided in almost every car on the market, but none has yet achieved the neat versatility of the kind provided in the new Lexus RX.
Lexus has produced a simple but effective system which adapts the depth of the holder in the centre console according to whether you are using a cup or can, or a taller drinks bottle. The base of the unit is fitted with a sliding height adjustment mechanism: simply press down with your bottle to gain the maximum depth, or press the release button to bring the base up to the level appropriate for a cup or can. The adjustment range is 70 to 110mm.