Why does Lexus Paintwork Look So Good?
The Lexus RC F was the first current generation model to adopt a complex multi-layered paint process that transforms the way the vehicle looks and responds to sunlight.
Once the preserve of concept vehicles that needed to visually ‘pop’ under show spotlights, the new process offers a level of depth and luminescence that is not possible to generate with traditional paintwork. But the additional complexity of this treatment required major changes to the production line in order to accommodate it.
The paint is built up in a meticulous five-coat, four-bake process – in addition to the electrodeposited coat protecting the base metal of the body structure.
The first is identified as a ‘middle’ or intermediate priming layer, which provides a solid foundation for the following coats. Next to be applied is the metallic blue base coat, followed by a clear sealing coat. A translucent, blue-tinted coat provides the fourth layer, with a second clear layer – more specifically, a self-healing snti-scratch coat - applied as the finishing surface.
Interestingly, the reason for sandwiching the blue paint between clear coat layers is to control reflections and establish a balance between brightness and depth – two elements that traditionally work against each other.
Between each layer, not only is the vehicle sent through a baking oven but the new paintwork is gently wet-sanded by hand under the supervision of Takumi master craftsmen. This painstaking process ensures each fresh surface is devoid of blemishes that might detract from the final finish.
For the UK market, the launch colour for this new paint process was named Azure Blue (code 8X1). Although similar tonally to the Ultrasonic Blue available in the IS F and seen on Lexus UK’s own LFA (code 8U1), the additional depth, evenness and glossiness of this new next-generation paint is evident in all lights.
8X1 Azure Blue is now available on selected IS, GS and RC models, while the complex layering process has been expanded to include other colours within the Lexus range.
8 August 2016