Lexus Creates New Blue Paint That’s More Blue Than Anything Seen Before

Inspired by a butterfly; available to buy on a stunning new special LC Structural Blue Edition model.

Lexus has spent 15 years trying to create a new paint finish for its cars that is “deeper, more lustrous and more 'blue' than anything seen before.” The result is the “Structural Blue” paint job it exhibited on the Lexus LC that graced the Geneva Motor Show in 2016, following the halo model’s reveal in Detroit that same year. In creating the new color, Lexus’ Tec Centers in the US and Japan teamed up with VIAVI Solutions, a provider of thin film optical coatings and pigments based out of California.

In developing Structural Blue, the team drew inspiration from the Morpho butterfly, native to North and South America and renowned for having deep, shimmering blue wings. The wings, are however, colorless. What we see is “is created by light interference on the microscopic lattice surface structure” of the wings. And it is this effect that resulted in a new multi-layered pigment being formed, created with a seven-layer structure. At one point, Lexus says the desired quality required the use of 40 separate layers, but having worked to bring this down to seven, the carmaker is able to use the color on its production cars.

Available on both the LC 500 and LC 500h, the new LC Structural Blue Edition will be the first model to wear the exquisite color. The new paint takes eight months, 12 production steps and 20 quality inspections to make, and as such only two Structural Blue cars can be produced each day. Where conventional pigment paint reflects less than 50 percent of incoming light as a visible blue color, the level is close to 100 percent with the new paint. Super-small flakes within the paint generate iridescence, creating a color-changing effect with the light. Each of the special LCs have 300 g of the special pigment with 300 billion pigment flakes. Pictures of the color don’t do it justice, as the effect is designed to work on the human eye not the camera lens.

As well as sporting the new color, the LC Structural Blue Edition models also get a set of 21-inch alloys and carbon-fiber scuff plates. Inside a Breezy Blue color combo sees blue semi-aniline leather upholstering the upper door trims, steering wheel, instrument panel and center armrest, as well as white fine leather seats, and vivid orange for the shift lever surround and draped Alcantara door panels. The headliner is also finished in Alcantara. Other mods include Lexus’ Climate Concierge, which helps maintain perfect air quality and cabin temperature, and a 12-speaker Pioneer sound system. The Lexus LC Structural Blue Edition is available to order now.

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