The appeal of these projects, which are for the most part not intended for production, is easy to see: designing a yacht allows designers to experiment with a freedom not found in the car industry: there are very few constraints, and at the same time luxury yachts are fascinating, almost unattainable iconic objects that can easily raise the public attention and give prestige to a brand.
Whether this is a sign of a possible crisis of the “automobile” object, is another matter.
In the case of the Lexus Sport Yacht Concept, the project was developed over a couple of years and was finally publicly unveiled on January 12 2017 at Di Lido Island on Biscayne Bay, Miami Beach FL.
Apart from the sleek styling, the yacht concept introduces a technical innovation: a unique CFRP construction where the upper deck and the outer hull are seamlessly bonded around the inner structure, which saves nearly 1,000 kg compared to a similar yacht in fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP).
The prototype was built by Marquis-Carver Yacht Group of Pulaski, Wisconsin, USA: an independent privately-owned company that designs, engineers and manufactures the brands of Marquis Yachts and Carver Yachts.
Below we report the design story and details from the official press release.
A few years ago, the Toyota Marine Department invited TMC President Akio Toyoda to spend several days on the water driving the new Ponam range of premium yachts soon to be launched in Japan.
As a master driver, Akio 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.
This led the Marine Department to envision how a premium performance yacht might expand the Lexus brand into new areas of lifestyle and recreation. On January 12, 2017, Lexus revealed the result of this project, a running proof-of-concept for a Lexus Sport Yacht, at Di Lido Island on Biscayne Bay, Miami Beach FL.
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 Centre 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 Co., Senior Managing Officer Shigeki Tomoyama in charge of the Toyota Marine Department, and President Toyoda.
“This concept for a Lexus Sport Yacht allowed us to explore how Lexus design language could be applied to a maritime idea,” said Yoshihiro Sawa, executive vice president of Lexus International. “For the Lexus Design Centre 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.”
The selected proposal continued to be refined throughout 2015 as the Marine Department engineered the construction and on-board marine systems.
As a concept, the Lexus Sport Yacht revealed at Miami is a bespoke one-off project with no production intent.
To produce this single example the Marine Department selected the Marquis-Carver Yacht Group of Pulaski, Wisconsin, USA, based on their in-house engineering and manufacturing capabilities and their skill in large hand laid composite structures.
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 fibre cloth, a composite material called carbon-fibre reinforced plastic, or CFRP. CFRP is the technology used in the structure of race cars and supercars like the Lexus LFA, high-performance aircrafts, competition skis and bicycles, and world-class racing sailboats.
The Lexus Sport Yacht concept’s unique CFRP construction saves nearly 1,000 kg 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.
The concept is powered by twin 5.0-litre 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 over 440 horsepower / 446 DIN hp / 328 kW, driving the yacht at speeds up to 49 miles per hour (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 on-board systems from a colour 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; 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, sofa seating for six with a table, 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 Wi-Fi & 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.
Technical specifications (preliminary values)
- Overall Length 12.7 m
- Beam (width) 3.86 m
- Payload 8 people
- Power, total 885 horsepower / 897 DIN hp / 660 kW
- Top Speed 43 KTS