Spindle Grille

A closer look at the Lexus spindle grille

07/31/2013—With the 2014 model year almost fully upon us, it’s a good time to reflect on one of the defining features of Lexus-exterior design of late: The Lexus spindle grille.

After all, should you choose to evolve your automotive journey—and upgrade to a 2014 Lexus vehicle—you’ll, of course, likely need to appreciate the spindle grille design, as it now graces the front end of most models.

First of all, know this: the 3-D appeal of the grille’s profile is part of something bigger, an ongoing Lexus design evolution that’s still happening. The upper half of the grille, a trapezoid-like shape, was first introduced in 2005 with the GS model. It was part of Lexus’s attempt to create an individual face for the brand—soon leading to the decision to develop an additional lower grille aperture, forming the resultant spindle grille.

“Everyone at Lexus believed that we should try putting forward our L-finesse design philosophy in a much bolder manner,” explains Takeshi Tanabe, project manager of the Lexus Design Division. “L-finesse consists of the following three elements: seamless anticipation, intriguing elegance and incisive simplicity. They all must be reinforced in our design.”

Many drawings and clay models later, the overall design concept was perfected. The upper and lower grille apertures have been merged to form one distinctive shape, with chrome lining decorating the grille’s trim, making a bold visual statement.

The recognizable geometric grille is a result of its function, too. In particular, the lower half is structured to assist intake airflow, optimizing the temperature of the engine under the hood.

Each part of the grille is sculpted and positioned by the slimmest of margins, ensuring a seamless surface treatment. The paint is also of excellent quality; even half-hidden parts of the grille’s profile are finished, using a variety of shades if necessary, so that it appears sound from all angles.

“The elements behind the grille—things like ducts and cables that may not seem tidy—are not at all visible from the outside either,” says Tatsuya Hattori of the Lexus Product Development Division. His team was responsible for drawing up the actual blueprint of the grille. “We’ve looked at every tiniest detail to maintain the superb look of the face.”

The spindle grille is Lexus’s seal of authenticity, and all 2014 models will share this bold, recognizable frontal design. Each version gets a slightly different design treatment to cater to each model’s specific target audience.

Only available to owners of the F SPORT versions—the raciest of all the categories—is an even more sporty-looking grille. Its mesh face is made of dozens of tiny L-shaped pieces that are vertically aligned, a masterpiece by Lexus craftsmen. The 2014 Lexus IS F SPORT, for example, thrusts is resdesigned mesh grille forward, which give the vehicle an overall look of speed, even when the car is parked.

Just a quick glance indicates what a painstaking process it must have been to forge such intricate architecture. Such attention to detail should delight any driver who is lucky enough to get behind the wheel.