Lexus Looks Back At Ten Years Of The Spindle Grille

Design / 11 Comments

It's grown progressively larger through the years.

If a car is de-badged and even non-gearheads can easily identify what it is, that's a sign of a well-established design language and powerful brand recognition. Even a dark, shadowy silhouette of a Porsche 911 can't easily be mistaken for anything else, and it explains why the Volkswagen Golf has changed so little through the decades.

Many automakers use large, powerful grille designs to establish brand identity - BMW's kidney grille and Alfa Romeo's Trefoil triangular grille are obvious examples, but Lexus has been trying to do the same with its spindle grille since it first appeared on a production model a decade ago. The reception to the spindle grille wasn't kind at first, but it is now found across the Lexus lineup. Lexus has taken a look back at this striking styling feature and explained how it will evolve.

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2012 Lexus GS First Car To Wear The Spindle

The spindle grille was first revealed on the LF-Gh concept car in 2011. The following year, the fourth-generation GS arrived with a similar design. Despite the dimensions growing larger through the years and the mesh patterns being different from one Lexus to the next, the spindle grille remains the primary styling feature that links all models from the brand, be it the compact UX crossover or the exotic LC Coupe.

"You should be able to identify a car as a Lexus immediately," said the then Head of Lexus, Kiyotake Ise, when the grille made its debut. "Instant visual recognition, for example, is the reason behind our spindle grille. It may look aggressive at first glance, that's intentional, but it also conveys its boldness with sophistication and elegance."

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From Spindle Grille To Spindle Body

Over the years, the spindle grille design has gone beyond the brand's cars. It found its way into the movie Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets as part of the Skyjet spacecraft, and is also a design motif in the Loft, the Lexus and Brussels Airlines lounge at Brussels Airport.

This year, the spindle grille has begun its transformation into the spindle body, as seen on the new Lexus RZ 450e electric crossover. While the grille was largely a separate component, the new spindle body is now integrated more convincingly into the overall design of the vehicle.


Spindle Evolution Set To Continue

The new spindle body is not only visually arresting but arises from a change in approach to the design of EVs, whereby a traditional grille isn't necessary due to an EV's reduced cooling needs.

The new Lexus RX also adopts the new spindle body as part of the Lexus Next Chapter design philosophy. Here, the grille flows seamlessly into the body but the lower section still has a mesh pattern.

With the rumored resurrection of the LFA and more EVs on the way, we're sure to see more interpretations of the spindle body over the next decade.

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