Fancy cars beget fancy finishes, and Lexus has spent the past 15 years developing the latest, fanciest finish to hit the market, soon to be available on the LC coupe.
It’s a paint shade called Structural Blue, and Lexus says it was inspired by the wings of a butterfly, of all things.
The morpho butterfly, which is native to Mexico and Central and South America, has wings whose topsides appear a vibrant blue colour, but that’s not because of pigmentation, as it would be in most organisms.
Instead, the blue is the result of how microscopic scales in the morpho’s wings reflect light. It’s a phenomenon called “structural coloration,” and it’s also what Lexus says makes its new Structural Blue paint special.
According to the Japanese luxury car maker, a team of engineers, designers, and paint experts spent 15 years finding a way to “recreate the layers of nanostructures” that allowed them to combine miniscule flakes and patterns in a “first-of-its-kind paint that controls brightness and colour purity.”
The resulting shade takes the form of a super-iridescent 40-layer paint job able to reflect 100 percent of the light that comes in contact with it, where most car paints reflect less than 50 percent. The paint takes about eight months to manufacture, and the automaker can only spray two cars a day in the colour, due to the special application process.
Structural Blue won’t be available as an option, but will instead be made available only a special edition model, the LC Structural Blue Edition that just went on sale in the Japanese market. (The company’s still unsure if it’ll offer it Stateside.)
The LC makes a good muse to wrap some cool paint around: the $101,600 coupe is Lexus’ performance flagship, powered by a 5.0-litre V8 that cranks out 471 horsepower; or that can be equipped with a hybrid powertrain good for 354 hp.
The LC Structural Blue Edition specifically also gets special 21-inch wheels and carbon-fibre door sill scuffplates; plus a Breezy Blue leather interior with orange trim.
As impressive as the 15-year investment of time, effort and money into the paint is, we suspect if broken out as an option it’d still cost a lot less than Porsche’s Chromaflair paint shades, for which the German automaker charges a cool $128,000.