They’re back. Two years ago, the luxury automaker Lexus partnered with Marquis-Larson Boat Group to create a 42-foot Lexus Sport Yacht concept. It made quite an impression with sleek looks, high-tech features and a carbon-fiber build, but it was a one-off and today is on its way to the Toyota Automobile Museum in Japan.
Now, the partnership has returned with a 65-foot yacht design, and this one is going into mass production at Marquis-Larson’s facility in Pulaski, Wisconsin. “The overwhelmingly positive feedback and reaction [to the concept boat] from the media and potential retail consumers caused Toyota Motor Corporation’s marine division to explore the likelihood of a boat for production,” said Marquis-Larson Vice President of Marketing Matthew Vetzner. “We are very excited to have been selected, once again, to build the Lexus-branded boat.”
Marquis-Larson already builds Marquis and Carver models, Striper saltwater fishing boats, and Larson runabouts, freshwater fishing boats and pontoon boats. Toyota’s marine division will engineer the LY 650, using expertise gleaned since 1990 while designing and building hundreds of Ponam boats for the Japanese market.
The LY 650 will have the same swooping lines as the Lexus Sport Yacht concept, but with three en suite staterooms plus quarters for crew. Interior design will come from Nuvolari Lenard, the Italian firm known for award-winning superyachts and the Marquis line. Toyota’s Mobility Services Platform will provide security functions, smartphone integration, remote diagnostics maintenance and other services. Unlike the Lexus Sport Yacht 42 and the Toyota Marine Ponams, which were powered by Lexus or Toyota car engines, the LY 650 will have twin Volvo Penta diesel engines with IPS drives. Standard power is a pair of 900-hp IPS1200s; the IPS1350 with 1,000 hp is an option.
Lexus isn’t the only luxury carmaker building boats to extend its brand reach. In 2016, Mercedes launched a limited-edition yacht, and in 2011, BMW started making concept boats. What sets Lexus apart is that it’s putting a boat into mass production. The first LY 650 is expected to be completed in the second half of 2019 and it’s slated to debut later in the year. A price was not available at press time.
This article originally appeared in the January 2019 issue.