In 2021, Lexus sparked a brand evolution intended to meet the global needs of its guests and society. At the heart of that transformation? A shift to electrification, intuitive technology, performance and design.
Since 2005, with the launch of the RX400h, Lexus has pioneered electrification in the luxury automobile market. And, when the “Lexus Electrified” vision was announced in 2019, it became clear that the brand’s position in the segment would only continue to evolve behind a suite of new and improved electrified luxury vehicles.
Now, Lexus is accelerating its goal to help achieve a carbon-neutral society.
On Dec. 14, 2021, Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), announced Lexus will offer a full lineup of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) by 2030, which is projected to account for 100% of vehicle sales in North America, Europe and China. It’s a move intended to anticipate the needs of Lexus guests today and tomorrow, giving them access to a wide range of vehicles dedicated to battery electric vehicles with world-class safety features and Lexus craftsmanship.
Lexus’ mission to balance superior performance with environmental consciousness is catalyzed as it plans to introduce 20 models by 2025, 10 of which will be BEVs, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) or hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).
For this next chapter, Lexus will continue to innovate for the benefit of society at large and strive to transform itself into a brand that exceeds customer expectations.
Take a tour of some of Lexus’ achievements in 2021 and its plans for the coming years.
Ushering in the Next Era of Technology
At the heart of Lexus’ evolution are multiple advancements in technology with a positive experience at every stage of the customer journey, starting before arriving at the dealership.
In February 2021, Lexus unveiled Monogram, a new digital retail tool that integrates the online and in-store experience in one space, providing guests with real-time pricing and the flexibility to shop how, when and where they want. By integrating inventory, customer relationship management (CRM) and financing, Lexus achieved greater transparency for guests while giving dealers the tools they need to anticipate those guests’ needs.
Just a couple of weeks later, Lexus unveiled the Gamers’ IS, a modified 2021 Lexus IS 350 F Sport designed by and for the Twitch community as a gaming space on wheels, featuring a custom-built gaming PC in the trunk, a retractable keyboard and mouse, and programmable RGB LED lights. More than half a million viewers voted on some of their favorite features as they watched Twitch streamer, Fuslie, offer options for custom vinyl wraps, interior design themes and even monitor shape.
As part of the effort to seamlessly integrate technology into future vehicles, the introduction of Lexus Interface, which allows drivers to easily access their favorite music, navigate with a crisp and clear map, and utilize Google Point-of-Interest searches to find their preferred destinations easily. Certain features include a trial period at no extra cost upon original date of new vehicle purchase or lease. After the trial period ends, a paid subscription is required.
Cutting-edge tech is exemplified in models including the 2022 Lexus NX and 2022 Lexus LX, which both feature the new Lexus Interface, an available Digital Key that locks and unlocks the car with a smartphone, and an available digital electronic rear-view mirror courtesy of an HD camera that is designed to expand the driver’s field of view for maximum visibility behind the vehicle.
In August 2021, Lexus also launched the available mobile Collision Assistance service, a just-in-time support offering accessible moments after a collision. By providing drivers with guidance through accident documentation and access to claims and management services, Collision Assistance helps drivers in their moment of need during those critical minutes after an accident occurs.
The Vehicle of the Future Is Electrified
To set the stage for the “Lexus Electrified” vision, the Lexus LF-Z Electrified concept was revealed in March. As a statement on the brands’ vision for performance, style and technology of the future, concept features a new “DIRECT4” four-wheel drive technology. This uses the instant responsiveness of an electric motor’s driving force to freely control a vehicle’s four wheels for superior and highly flexible driving performance that helps set it apart from conventional vehicles.
The available advanced features are plentiful, like a voice-recognizing AI that is designed to provide driver support, an E-Latch system that helps make door opening and closing smooth and safe, and an available electrochromic panoramic roof that can dim or illuminate on command, to name just a few.
While the LF-Z is still a few years away, TMC announced that Lexus achieved 2 million electrified vehicles sold globally at the end of April 2021.
One of the newest electrified models to hit the road in the U.S. was Lexus’ new plug-in vehicle, the 2022 NX 450h+. With the capacity to run on just battery power or just internal combustion at any time, the NX 450h+ sports the best of both worlds. The result is a vehicle with the fastest 0-to-60 miles per hour times of any NX model and an impressive EPA-estimated 84 MPGe combined.
A Smooth and Seamless Driving Signature
At Lexus, luxury is defined in large part by the Lexus Driving Signature, which persisted across every new release in 2021.
In the spirit of performance, Lexus unveiled the 2022 Lexus IS 500, a first in the F SPORT Performance line. With a quad exhaust system and naturally aspirated V8 engine, the IS 500 matches the RC F’s impressive 472 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque. And, as the Dynamic Handling Package comes standard in all IS models, drivers can enjoy Adaptive Variable Suspension and Torsen® Limited Slip Differential, delivering comfort and performance on any IS 500 they take home.
With the summer reveal of the 2022 Lexus ES, it was evident from the new all-wheel-drive functionality that Lexus planned to continue iterating even on its most-loved vehicles. And as the summer gave way to fall, the new 2022 NX 350 introduced drivers to the performance of a turbo engine in a luxury crossover. The electronically controlled AWD system lifts an already sporty SUV driving experience to new heights. When paired with bold available F SPORT grille front and rear bumpers, the NX 350 and NX 450h+ models receive additional handling control.
For the sports car aficionado, the 2022 RC F and the limited, 50-unit RC F Fuji Speedway edition came racing into view in early September 2021. The RC F boasts 472 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque.
But, while the power of the RC F and IS 500 F SPORT Performance are a critical offering for some, the Lexus Driving Signature can just as easily be embodied by the comfort and elegance of a full-size SUV like the all-new 2022 LX 600. Built on a new GA-F platform, this sport-utility flagship from Lexus was reimagined from base to ceiling. With a 441-pound weight reduction, V6 twin-turbo charged engine, and new available F SPORT and Ultra Luxury grades, the LX 600 sets the bar for ultra-luxury sporting vehicles and a new level of sophistication.
Design Amplified for the New Age of Luxury
Luxury is often defined by good design, and Lexus proved that was top of mind in 2021. With each reveal, the hand of some of the world’s top automotive designers could be felt, starting with the 2022 IS 500 F SPORT Performance in Spring 2021. The new IS 500 will be sold exclusively in Incognito, an all-new color for the Lexus lineup, and offer an available Black & Gray Ultrasuede® trimmed seats and door accents. Riding on standard 19-inch Matte Black BBS® wheels, the IS 500 looks and feels as sporty as the F SPORT Performance badge on its leather-wrapped steering wheel.
In August 2021, Lexus also participated in the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where a number of its vehicles graced the show. The 2021 LC 500 convertible showed guests how a car can embody the freedom of a top-down summer’s drive. And the Vasser Sullivan No. 12 RC F GT3 put Lexus’ stunningly fast race car (and second-place winner of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech® SportsCar Championship) on display. The electrified LF-Z concept and 2022 NX also made an appearance, the latter of which got to show off how Lexus is already offering cars designed for the future.
At the LF-Z concept announcement, Lexus also snuck in a change to its badge, rolling out with the 2022 NX. From the traditional “L” logo on the rear light bar, Lexus is moving to the full Lexus name–in block letters–for a cleaner, more modern look. It’s just another in the series of subtle shifts toward the new look of luxury.
Ever Forward with Ever-Better Cars
Behind the four new Lexus brand pillars — Advanced Technology, Lexus Electrified, Lexus Driving Signature and Lexus Design — luxury automotive took a big step forward in 2022.
With achievements on a large scale (like 2 million electrified vehicles sold globally) and some of the details were small (like a change in badge design), every move was guided with a human-centered approach. Lexus leaned into its DNA and rewrote the near future with keeping guests in mind.
When the next great challenge unfolds and our global relationship with energy is transformed, Lexus will lead the way.
Originally published January 12, 2021