Predator. Darth Vader. Whatever you call it, the Lexus spindle grille has been polarizing from the day it was introduced. Lexus knows this. We know it. But now that grille is going to be used on a new generation of cars that don’t actually need grilles, as Automotive News reports via Drive.au that Lexus plans to use a solid version of the grille for its EVs.
Lexus unleashed the grille onto the world with the 2011 LF-Gh concept at the New York Auto Show, which was a preview of both the future design direction of the brand and the fourth generation GS.
Why did Lexus do this? “Customers want stronger character, a stronger expression of the premium brand. We decided to use the grille in that more powerful way.” Those were the words of Lexus global design chief Yo Hiruta about the grille. Its spindle design was intricate and tedious, something you’d expect from Lexus.
Fast forward to now, and the design had spread through the Lexus lineup with the biggest example of it being the LX SUV. It’s integrated into Lexus’ design language. And people hate it. The current global design chief for Lexus Koichi Suga spoke to Automotive News and said the company has market research that shows that if the spindle grille is too big, customers don’t like it. So rather than get rid of the grille entirely, Lexus is taking away the spindles for its future EVs.
That’s right. Vehicles that don’t need grilles because they don’t have engines will essentially have the cutout shape of the grille on their front facia. This new look can be seen on the recently introduced RX and RZ EV. While the RX gets a grille that’s filled in and blends into mesh towards the bottom on certain trims, the RZ’s front is almost completely filled, save for the very bottom. Its Lexus’s way of saving face without doing fake grilles, something Toyota global design chief Simon Humphries wants to avoid. “For us, what this does is give the car a very strong center portion without having to put a fake grille on there or something,” he says.