Lexus has turned to an Amazonian butterfly for inspiration in the development of its new colour option
We are fascinated by technological developments made by manufacturers, whether they are for the betterment of performance and handling or not. Having said that, the development of a new car paint colour doesn’t often blip our radar but Lexus’ development of an advanced new paint technology being applied to a special edition LC coupe could be the exception to the rule.
Named ‘Structural Blue’, an early version of the medium blue colour was used on the LC500h shown off at the Geneva motor show earlier in the year. Inspired by the blue colour on the wings of the Morpho butterfly, the paint was the result of a technique called biomimicry that was intended to reverse-engineer a similar shimmer into the paintwork of LC. The team at Lexus spent the following 8 months developing the original finish into a production viable process, although Lexus will still only be able to paint two cars per day at its Motomachi factory.
The reason for the labour intensive nature of the finish is not the hue itself, but the pigment that creates the colour. On the original pre-production car, the paintwork was created with over 40 layers of paint featuring nano-structures, or metallic flakes so fine that they are nearly invisible to the human eye.
Reduced down to just seven layers, the production version of the paint is difficult to make sense of in pictures, but whereas a standard metallic paint finish would reflect and refract around 40 per cent of the light that hits it, the Structural Blue finish instead reflects close to 100 per cent – giving it that deep, lustrous quality.
As well as the special paint, Lexus will offer an exclusive specification on the LC Structural Blue models. They feature standard 21-inch wheels, carbonfibre sills and a bespoke interior colour combination of blue and white leathers offset with highly contrasting orange Alcantara inserts on the doors and centre console.
Lexus has not released any pricing details, but the cars are available to order now in both LC 500 and LC 500h powertrain options.