• 2018 Lexus LC Structural Blue Edition

    2018 Lexus LC Structural Blue
  • The paint has 40 layers with 15 micrometer layers in between
  • This hue took 15 years to develop
  • It was inspired by this guy: The Morpho butterfly
  • Interior gets fine leather in Breezy Blue
  • Orange trim is thrown in for some contrast
  • It's quite beautiful, don't you think?
  • It's not for the U.S. market.......yet

This Lexus LC is arguably the most unique special edition model you’ll see in quite some time

To what extent does a paint job become more important than the car itself? It’s a fascinating question if you frame it the right way and, in the case of the Lexus LC Structural Blue Edition, the paint job is the defining feature. Now, we’ve seen some automakers make bold claims about the lengths they go to in the name of exclusivity, but what Lexus went through to successfully create what it calls the “Structural Blue” paint finish is over and above everything we’ve seen in the industry in quite some time.

The patience and commitment that took place in Lexus to really perfect this specific shade of blue is why a lot of people are talking about it more than the actual special edition car itself. There’s a good reason for that because the process involved in creating this shade not only takes a ridiculous amount of time but also involves processes and exact specification requirements that are hard to believe. But hey, the price of all that research and development is something that no other automaker can boast. Lexus’ Structural Blue paint finish, which first made headlines at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, is now a real thing, and it’s arrived in the form of a special edition Lexus LC that fittingly bears its name.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Lexus LC Structural Blue Edition

Official video

What makes the Lexus LC Structural Blue Edition special?

2018 Lexus LC Structural Blue Edition Wallpaper quality Exterior
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The paint has 40 layers with 15 micrometer layers in between
The Structural Blue paint finish features a special kind of pigment that has no less than 40 separate layers, including a 15-micrometer layer between the primer and clear coats

The unique paint color of the Lexus LC Structural Blue Edition stands head and shoulders above every other feature the special edition coupe has. That shouldn’t be a surprise considering how long it took Lexus to successfully create the specific shade of blue it was going for. Just in case it’s not clear, the Japanese automaker took 15 years to finish the project of creating this exact hue. In all that time, it even had help from their Tec Centers in both the USA and Japan, not to mention from VIAVI Solutions Inc.

So, why exactly is the Structural Blue paint finish special? For starters, Lexus says it took inspiration for the color from a most unusual source: the shimmering wings of a Morpho butterfly, a species of butterfly that’s famous for its metallic-looking colors.

2018 Lexus LC Structural Blue Edition
- image 737613
It was inspired by this guy: The Morpho butterfly
Lexus says it took inspiration for the color from a most unusual source: the shimmering wings of a Morpho butterfly, a species of butterfly that’s famous for its metallic-looking colors

For its part, the Structural Blue paint finish features a special kind of pigment that has no less than 40 separate layers, including a 15-micrometer layer between the primer and clear coats. The exact specifications are incredible, as are the components that help make it unique in the eyes of everyone. Consider this: the Structural Blue paint also has nanostructures in the paint that help generate iridescence, a unique characteristic that creates the impression of the blue paint finish changing shades depending on the amount of light it’s subjected to. All told, the Structural Blue paint finish is capable of reflecting 100 percent of the light that comes in contact with it, a staggering number, given the fact that most conventional pigment paints can only reflect less than 50 percent of incoming light.

2018 Lexus LC Structural Blue Edition Wallpaper quality Exterior
- image 737617
This hue took 15 years to develop
The special edition coupe also features carbon fiber scuff plates and a set of 21-inch forged allow wheels in the exterior

The characteristics of the Structural Blue paint finish is impressive enough in its own right. But, it’s far from being its only notable element. The process involved in actually creating the color is just as daunting. Lexus says that all in all, it takes eight months to simply create the paint, and in that span, it includes 12 production steps and more than 20 quality inspections, with 300 billion nano-structure pigment flakes applied to every special LC. Once the paint is created, Lexus still can’t expedite the production process because of the sophistication of it all. In fact, in a given day, the Japanese automaker can only create two models of the LC Structural Blue Edition.

Speaking of the actual car, it’s important to mention the other features of the LC Structural Blue Edition since Lexus isn’t selling the paint by itself; it’s selling a car dressed up in that specific paint. And so, the special edition coupe also features carbon fiber scuff plates and a set of 21-inch forged allow wheels in the exterior. Likewise, the interior of the coupe is dominated by what the automaker describes as a Breezy Blue color combination made up of fine leather upholstery and contrasting mid-blue semi-aniline leather. Orange trim was also thrown in to get a nice break in color while on the tech side, the special edition LC gets as standard notable features like Premium Navigation, Climate Concierge, Lexus Safety System+, and a Pioneer sound system.

2018 Lexus LC Structural Blue Edition Interior
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Orange trim is thrown in for some contrast
2018 Lexus LC Structural Blue Edition Interior
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Interior gets fine leather in Breezy Blue
The interior of the coupe is dominated by what the automaker describes as a Breezy Blue color combination made up of fine leather upholstery and contrasting mid-blue semi-aniline leather

The Lexus LC Structural Blue Edition is already available now, though it’s not clear if it’s going to be made available in the US market. Lexus spokesperson Nancy Hubbell did tell Motor1 that the company is looking into that possibility, but offered little in the way of confirming anything. “We don’t have any announcements at this time," she said.

In the meantime, the special edition sports coupe is scheduled to make its public debut at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show.

References

Lexus LC

2018 Lexus LC 500 High Resolution Exterior
- image 710874

Read our full reading on the 2018 Lexus LC 500.

2017 Lexus LC 500h High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 665596

Read our full reading on the 2018 Lexus LC 500h.

2018 Toyota Century Exterior
- image 736631

Read more 2017 Tokyo Motor Show news.

Press release

“When a butterfly in America flaps its wings…”

The traditional result, according to “Butterfly Theory”, is a tornado on the other side of the world; but for Lexus it is a car which stands out from anything else on the road.

It’s called Structural Blue and it’s much more than simply a new choice on a colour chart. The result of Lexus’s painstaking advanced technology research is a finish that is deeper, more lustrous and more “blue” than anything seen before.

First presented on Lexus’s acclaimed LC grand tourer in the spotlight of the Geneva motor show, it created an instant sensation. Now it has been developed for production, adding extra elements of exclusivity and hand-finished quality to Lexus’ sensuously designed coupe.

The striking new colour is being made available for the first time on a new, special version of the LC, the LC Structural Blue Edition. Offered in strictly limited numbers, these cars will be the choice of those who recognise and value the interaction of science and the highest standards of Lexus Takumi craftsmanship.

Inspired by nature and the Morpho butterfly

The 15 year quest to develop Structural Blue saw a collaboration between the company’s Tec Centres in both Ann Arbor, MI, USA and in Japan, together with VIAVI Solutions Inc, a leading provider of thin film optical coatings and pigments based in CA, USA.

In their intensive search to create the new colour, the team drew inspiration from the Morpho butterfly. Native to North and South America, this insect is renowned for the deep, shimmering blue of its wings. But, in fact, the wings are colourless. The blue seen by the human eye is created by light interference on the microscopic lattice surface structure of the Morpho butterfly’s wings.

Replicating this effect led the team to combine an entirely new kind of multi-layered pigment with experiments with the basic principles of the way light interacts with our eyes.

At first it seemed the challenge was simply too great: the desired quality could only be secured using a pigment with no less than 40 separate layers. But the team persevered, constantly improving the process until the effect could be created with just a seven-layer structure. This made it practical for use in the production of cars, albeit highly exclusive ones like the Structural Blue LC500 and 500h.

The pigment is used to produce a new paint in a production process taking eight months, including 12 production steps and 20 quality inspections. The paint is applied to the LC’s bodywork in a 15-micrometre layer between the primer and clear coats. Nano-structures – super-small flakes – in the paint generate iridescence, giving the impression of the colour constantly changing with the light. Conventional pigment paints reflect less than 50 per cent of incoming light as a visible blue colour, but with Structural Blue the level is nearly 100 per cent. In total, 300g of pigment with 300 billion pigment flakes is used for every one of the special LCs.

Such is the fine quality of the process, only two Structural Blue cars can be produced in a working day at Lexus’ Motomachi factory in Japan, the high-technology home of the LC.

Given the effect, like that of the butterfly wings which inspired it, is designed to work on the eye rather than on a camera lens, it is only when the Structural Blue paint is seen ‘in the flesh’ that the amazing effect becomes clear.

LC Structural Blue Edition

The exquisite quality of the paintwork is matched by a superior equipment specification for the new LC Structural Blue Edition.

Available in both V8-powered LC 500 and full self-charging hybrid LC 500h versions, it is equipped with 21-inch forged alloy wheels to perfectly complement the sensuous styling of the coupe bodywork. The exclusivity is also reflected in the fitting of carbon fibre scuff plates.

The cabin is presented in the LC’s Breezy Blue colour combination, with a mid-blue semi-aniline leather for the upper door trims, steering wheel, instrument panel and centre armrest with contrasting white fine leather seat upholstery and vivid orange for the shift lever surround and the draped Alcantara door panels. The headlining is also finished in Alcantara.

Other key features include Lexus’ Climate Concierge to maintain perfect cabin temperature and air quality, Lexus Premium Navigation, Lexus Safety System + and 12-speaker Pioneer sound system.

The LC Structural Blue Edition is available to order now.

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