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Lexus has introduced a brand new paint colour that it says took some 15 years of research to perfect.
Called “Structural Blue”, the new hue will be available exclusively on the (aptly named) LC coupé Structural Blue Edition, in strictly limited numbers.
The Japanese automaker says the new shade of blue is a result of its “painstaking research into how advanced technology can produce a finish that is deeper, more lustrous and, essentially, more ‘blue’ than anything seen before”.
Of course, you may have seen this particular colour before, applied to the LC models presented at the Geneva Motor Show last year. But now Toyota’s luxury arm has confirmed that the shade has been developed for production.
The new colour is apparently the result of 15 years of work from the brand’s technical centres in the United States and Japan, along with some help from Viavi Solutions, which Lexus describes as “a leading provider of thin film optical coatings and pigments” based in California.
Lexus says the various engineers on the project worked with the basic principles of light to create a special effect colour, “one that appears bluer than any blue pigment thought possible”. Granted, it’s hard to tell when looking at photographs, but we’ll take their word for it.
Producing high luminance and colour saturation, Lexus says, called for “unprecedented efforts” to develop a new kind of multi-layered pigment. At first, the desired quality could only be secured using a pigment with 40 separate layers. But the team improved the process until the effect could be created with a seven-layer structure. This made it practical for use in the production vehicles.
Lexus says the pigment is used to produce a new paint in a production process taking eight months, including 12 production steps and 20 quality inspections. The paint is applied to the LC’s bodywork in a 15-micrometre layer between the primer and clear coats.
Nano-structures (or super-small flakes) in the paint generate iridescence, giving the impression of the colour constantly changing with the light. Conventional pigment paints reflect less than 50% of incoming light as a visible blue colour, but with Structural Blue Lexus says the level is nearly 100%.
In total, 300 g of pigment with 300 billion pigment flakes are used for one LC. So laborious is the process that just two Structural Blue cars can be produced in a working day at the Motomachi factory where the Lexus LC is built.