A month prior to its public unveiling, Toyota North America’s Executive Vice President of Sales (and Toyota USA President of Sales) Bob Carter had already hinted at production intent for its then-upcoming Lexus LF-1 Limitless flagship concept. In late December 2017, this set off a guessing game among Lexus Enthusiast forum members as to what two-letter “L and what?” prefix a production version would bear. Among my suggestions was “LM”, for Luxury Multipurpose.
In early May 2018, Lexus apparently scuttled that notion when it filed a trademark for LQ. But, now it seems that perhaps I wasn’t wrong after all. Just over a month later, Lexus parent Toyota filed a couple of U.S. trademarks tailor-made for their luxury marque: LM 300h (trademark Serial Number 87958305) and LM 350 (Serial Number 87958281), both filed for “automobiles and structural parts thereof” on 12 June 2018.
LM or LQ? Which would make more sense?
Our recent LQ trademark story details the use of the letter “Q” by a number of rival luxury automotive marques, which doesn’t bear repeating here. I was also stumped as to what the “Q” would stand for in Lexus-speak, but I like Lexus Enthusiast forums member Levi’s suggestion that it’s Q for Quintessence.
As to LM (again, probably Luxury Multipurpose), it also brings connotations of Le Mans (not necessarily a bad thing, given Toyota’s 20-years-overdue victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race), Ferrari’s 250 LM (their last endurance racer to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans) and the Lamborghini Militaria “Rambo Lambos”, best exemplified by the LM 002.
But, wait…aren’t the numbers too low for a flagship?
Yes, they are. None of Lexus’ 3 current flagship lines (LC, LS and LX) offer a “300h” model, and only the LS for the Chinese market offers a “350” (the aging naturally-aspirated 2GR-FKS 3.5-liter V6). From there, it’s “450d” (the 1VD-FTV Turbodiesel V8 offered on LX in a number of markets), “500h” (8GR-FXS 3.5-liter V6 hybrid available on LC and LS), “500” (either the V35A-FTS twin turbo 3.5-liter V6 from the LS 500 or the 2UR-GSE 5-liter V8 from the LC 500) and “570” (the 3UR-FE V8 in the LX 570).
“300h” and “350”, in fact, more closely parallel the North America engine offerings in the upcoming 7th-gen Lexus ES: the new Dynamic Force A25A-FXS 2.5-liter 4-cylinder hybrid and 2GR-FKS 3.5-liter V6, respectively. In current Lexus crossover terms, this would straddle the NX and RX lines. In other words, hardly the stuff of flagship “L” lines. Color us officially stumped, baffled and confused.