The Lexus Yacht

The LY 650 is Lexus’s first foray into the yacht market.

Lexus LY 650
Lexus partnered with Wisconsin-based Marquis Yachts to build the LY 650.Courtesy Lexus

Small-craft-warning flags were snapping. A post-hurricane nor’easter was blowing dogs off their chains, and muscular 6- to 8-footers roiled the Gulf Stream. I wasn’t surprised to see breakers across the Boca Raton entrance as we headed off Florida aboard the Lexus LY 650. She shouldered her way through the seas, proving that this offering from automaker Lexus was far more than a boulevard cruiser.

She also has the luxury styling for which Lexus is known. Inside are softly padded door coverings, as well as rich woods and fabrics. The dashboard’s black carbon fiber shows through clear resin, revealing a shared lineage with Lexus GT3 race cars.

Her gold-and-black exterior is sure to stand out, and her profile is by superyacht designer Dan Lenard and the Toyota design team, which imparted Lexus DNA in the coupelike lines.

Lexus LY 650
Hull No. 1 had a 32-knot top-end speed.Courtesy Lexus

Though the LY 650 is being called the first Lexus yacht, it isn’t. A 42-foot prototype in 2017 whet yachtsmen’s appetites. This time, though, the boat is bound for production, again using the U.S.-based build team of Marquis Yachts. Lexus and parent company Toyota president Akio Toyoda is a “boat guy” and wanted to expand the Lexus “crafted” philosophy of meticulous attention to detail onto the sea.

The LY 650 has three staterooms and three heads, with surprising 7-foot headroom in the salon, 6-foot-6-inch headroom in the staterooms and 6-foot-3-inch headroom in the engine room. The 18-foot-11-inch beam is wider than most yachts in her class, and it’s carried well aft, making it usable not just for the cockpit space but also for the full-beam master stateroom and flybridge, which is set back on the deckhouse.

Lexus LY 650
Sound readings inside at 25 knots were 77 dB(A), about as loud as a car on a highway at 65 miles per hour.Courtesy Lexus

In the salon, a curved couch is to starboard under 8-foot-long windows. The couch faces another settee with a table that folds out. The upholstery on this first LY 650 is a nubby white linen, reflecting brightness from the nearly 9-foot-long forward windows. The sole has curving carpet inlaid into the wood and set off by polished stainless-steel strips.

The galley is aft, tucked under a gas-assist-lifted counter to port. Chefs have a two-burner induction cooktop, a microwave/convection oven and a full-size fridge with two drawers.

At the helm are two Lexus-embroidered adjustable seats facing a Garmin glass cockpit with three 17-inch monitors set in a carbon-fiber fascia. Two of the displays are for navionics, while the third handles the CZone digital switching that controls everything aboard by touchscreen. Two iPads are provided with the yacht for portable control, and the LY 650 has LY-Link—a Lexus system that monitors everything from voltage to fuel—allowing owners to control lighting, audio and air conditioning from anywhere via smartphone. LY-Link can also help to set up a maintenance schedule.

Lexus LY 650
The hull-color options include gold and gray or gray and silver.Courtesy Lexus

The lower deckhouses the master stateroom aft—behind an artfully stitched padded door—with an athwartship queen berth, walk-in closet and book-matched eucalyptus bulkheads. A curved settee, a vanity and an en suite head are also here. The VIP stateroom forward has an island queen berth and en suite head. The double-berth stateroom to starboard has access to the day-head.

Up on the bridge deck, the helm duplicates the lower helm but with a single Lexus seat next to a sun pad. A lounge curves around a convertible dining table, and the entire bridge is shaded by a black carbon-fiber hardtop supported aft by a single cantilever.

Outside living spaces on the LY 650 include a cockpit with a wet bar and grill, a foredeck table, and a pair of forward-facing lounges.

Power for the LY 650 starts with standard twin 1,050 hp Volvo Penta IPS3 diesels and goes up to optional twin 1,350 hp Volvo Pentas. The first LY 650 has the 1,350s, and it made a top speed of 32 knots.

Lexus LY 650
Stainless-steel strips accent the carpeting in the salon. The forward window is 9 feet across.Courtesy Lexus

The engine room benefits from the beam with walk-around access to the powerplants, a pair of 27-kW Onan gensets, and a maze of wiring and plumbing, all labeled and loomed. From the options list, the first LY 650 has a Mitsubishi/Tohmei gyrostabilizer, as well as Volvo Penta Humphree Interceptor ride controls. A single-berth crew cabin with a head, shower and galley is an option too.

Lexus, through Nuvolari Lenard and the Marquis team, has created a yacht using omotenashi, which is the Japanese philosophy of hospitality based on anticipating and fulfilling people’s needs. The LY 650 is the first of more offerings expected from Lexus, including hotels, airport lounges—there’s already one in Brussels, Belgium—and, perhaps, a business jet. With the yacht, the company has proved it can produce a vessel with all the luxury and performance for which the brand is known.

Lexus LY 650
In addition to having a superstructure that resembles a Lexus RC F performance coupe, the LY 650 has L-shaped—for Lexus, of course—hull vents, an L in the inlaid salon carpeting and Lexus embroidery in the helm seats.Courtesy Lexus

Toyota and Boats

Toyota Motor Corp. also has a line of aluminum sport- fishers and cruisers from 28 to 45 feet in length. They’re marketed in Asia by the name Ponam. These vessels use marinized turbodiesels from the Land Cruiser Prado (marketed in the United States as the Lexus GX). Toyota also built a series of 21-foot ski boats in the early ’90s with power from Lexus LS400 sedans.

Design Cues

In addition to having a superstructure that resembles a Lexus RC F performance coupe, the LY 650 has L-shaped—for Lexus, of course—hull vents, an L in the inlaid salon carpeting and Lexus embroidery in the helm seats. The hull-color options include gold and gray or gray and silver.

Lexus LY 650
From countless curves to gloss finishes to design elements resembling sports cars, Lexus DNA is omnipresent on board the LY 650.Courtesy Lexus

Built To Be Quiet

The Lexus LY 650 has a vinylester-resin-infused hull that incorporates E-glass and carbon fiber and is braced with fiberglass/carbon top-hat-section stringers. A hull barrier coat is intended to protect against blisters, while thermal and acoustical insulation reportedly keeps the salon sound level to 77 dB(A) at 25 knots. That’s about the same as a car moving at 65 miles per hour.

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