Bespoke

Lexus let Twitch users customize an IS; here's what they came up with

Gamers on Fuslie's Twitch channel customized the car.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

More and more automakers are working to harness the power of new social media and streaming platforms. Ford recently designed an esports vehicle via Twitter and General Motors has worked with TikTok stars to get the work out about their products. Now, the first vehicle designed by and for the Twitch community has been unveiled.

During a livestream last month, more than 554,000 viewers watched Fuslie's channel and weighed in on their favorite features of the 2021 Lexus IS 350 F Sport. They voted on modifications ranging from the gaming-themed exterior wrap to the custom controller to their "game fuel" beverage of choice. Lexus then worked with the fabrication experts at SCPS to bring the custom, crowdsourced car to life as a totally immersive gaming vehicle.

2021 Lexus IS 350 F Sport: Gamer's IS

2021 Lexus IS 350 F Sport: Gamer's IS

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The Gamer's IS was customized by gaming enthusiasts via Twitch.

"The Twitch community dives headfirst into their passion of gaming, just as we did in designing the new 2021 Lexus IS as a pure expression of a sports sedan," said Vinay Shahani, vice president of marketing at Lexus. "We asked for their help designing their dream gaming space, and they answered in spades. Together, we created the ultimate fusion of design and performance in automotive and gaming."

The result is the Gamer's IS, a car wrapped in "infiltrate" design custom vinyl, which was chosen by 48 percent of the voters using a Twitch poll.

More than half of the users selected the "Neon Tokyo" style of the car's interior versus the competitor designs. It features an electrified, neuron-exploding Japanese pop art aesthetic. The ceiling sports a clear layer of acrylic embedded with resin "raindrops" all backlit with programmable RGB LED lights, meant to give off the effect of driving under the lights of downtown Tokyo at night in a light rain. Behind the rear seats, LED panels project programmable content onto the rear window, creating an animated backdrop. SCPS included many custom upholstery elements into the design of the Gamers' IS interior. Smart Tint on the windows dims the cabin for gameplay.

A custom-built gaming PC with an MSI Gaming GeForce GPU + AMD CPU is installed in the vehicle's trunk. It has sleek custom housing, all highlighted by programmable RGB LED's. A fog machine and automated RGB lasers were also installed.

Taking up the passenger space in the Lexus IS's front row is a fully integrated gaming system complete with haptic feedback in the seat and a high-def, fully positional curved monitor. The curved monitor was chosen over a flat one by nearly two-thirds of Twitch voters. The system features a retractable keyboard and mouse platform, and a one-of-a-kind 3D printed game controller. Forty-two percent of voters chose the "Cyber" design for the controller, which features a metallic space gray and dark teal finish with neon accents.

Filling the six-drink center console cooler is the community's "game fuel" of choice—coffee drinks—as selected by 61 percent of voters. The entire vehicle is custom wired, including all the electronics and programmable lighting.

The car will not go on sale, but may end up at an auto show near you.

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Refreshed luxury crossover

2022 Lexus NX earns Top Safety Pick +

The 2022 NX earned a Top Safety Pick + award.

Lexus

The redesigned 2022 Lexus NX just got its crash test scores, and they're strong. The new crossover picked up a Top Safety Pick + award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the agency's top award. It's the NX's fourth consecutive Top Safety Pick + award, and before that the vehicle earned Top Safety Picks.

2022 Lexus NXThe NX has picked up top awards for several years in a row. Lexus

The 2022 NX picked up top scores in testing, earning a "Good" rating in all crash-test categories, a "Good" score for headlights, "Superior" scores for both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian crash prevention, and a "Good+" score for LATCH system ease of use. Though the 2021 model also picked up a Top Safety Pick + award, it scored lower for its car seat anchors.

Lexus offers the new NX with a whopping four propulsion options, including a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 203 horsepower, a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 275 horsepower, a 2.5-liter hybrid with 239 horsepower and a plug-in hybrid powertrain with 302 horsepower. The two gas engines come paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and either front- or all-wheel drive, while the two hybrids both get all-wheel drive.

2022 Lexus NXLexus offers the NX with four powertrain options. Lexus

Pricing for the 2022 NX starts at $39,025 for the base NX250. Moving up the line, the NX350h starts at $42,125 and the NX450h+ starts at $56,725.

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New luxury EV

Lexus announces all-electric RZ 450e

Lexus just announced the new RZ 450e

Lexus

Lexus and Toyota have finally jumped onto the EV train, and we’ll soon see new all-electric SUVs from both. The Lexus variant, named RZ 450e, features a reasonable range, upscale interior, and neat all-wheel drive technology. We don’t have firm pricing for the Lexus, but expect it to start in the mid-to-high $40,000 range.

2023 Lexus RZRange is expected to reach 225 miles per chage. Lexus

The RZ shares a platform and much of its underlying engineering with the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra, but will take a more upscale approach. Though its size and overall shape are similar to the others, the Lexus’ exterior styling is sharper and sportier, with functional aerodynamic bodywork. A new Lexus logo is spelled out on the rear gate, instead of the traditional “L” of previous models.

The SUV comes with a 71.4-kWh battery that should deliver a range of around 225 miles on a charge. All-wheel drive is standard, and uses the RZ’s dual electric motors to shift power between the wheels that need it most.

Inside, the RZ features a minimalist, open space with controls meant to remind drivers of a horse’s reins. Ultrasuede upholstery and woodgrain trim come standard. Lexus notes the RZ’s head-up display is controllable via steering wheel-mounted buttons that handle navigation, audio, and other functions.

2023 Lexus RZThough similar to the Toyota bZ4X inside, the Lexus IS more upscale and minimalist. Lexus

Speaking of the steering wheel, the first RZs will be available with a round wheel only, but later on, Lexus will offer a yoke-style wheel like the one seen in the Toyota bZ4X concept and Tesla’s Plaid models.

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