Lexus ES: Sixth Generation

The Story of the Seventh-Generation Lexus ES Seats

Lexus ES F SPORT Seats

The seats of the new ES were developed over a period of three years, undergoing numerous prototypes and resulting in a product that allows any owner to drive in complete luxury, no matter the driver’s body type. This is the story of their development.

“Clear and deep.” This, according to Lexus, is the central concept of the brand’s seat development. They may not be words one necessarily associates with car seats, but there is a good explanation, according to Takeshi Kawano, a leading engineer in the development of the new ES’s seats.

“The moment you sit in the seat of the new ES, you’ll notice that your posture feels just right,” Kawano says. “There’s no need to squirm around until you find the right position. This is the ‘clear’ part. Then, while you’re seated, you’ll notice that your lower back is fully supported. You’ll feel at ease, as if you’re enveloped in a protective bubble. No matter the G-forces acting on the car from the front, back, left, or right, your posture never wavers. This is the ‘deep’ part.”

Achieving this “clear and deep” design was easier said than done—it took Kawano and his team three years to develop a product they were happy with. According to Shin Maezawa, who directs all Lexus seat development, one reason for this difficulty was the unique position that car seats have among all car parts.

Lexus ES Seat Team

“Technically, the seats are just one part of the platform on which a car is built, but they are also the only parts of this platform that are in constant contact with and constantly supporting the bodies of the driver and passengers,” he says. “To develop a good seat, you need to combine a high level of durability with a high level of comfort.

“Meanwhile, to ensure the driver feels safe behind the wheel, the driver’s seat must be able to convey the G-forces and motions acting on the car without exposing the driver to unpleasant vibrations. Durability and comfort, stimulation and suppression: achieving a coexistence of such contrasting qualities is what defines the Lexus YET philosophy, but it requires a lot of time and effort to accomplish. To perfect our seat design, we needed to thoroughly discuss every detail—even those that couldn’t be or hadn’t yet been expressed in terms of data.”

The development of the new ES seats was an immense undertaking that involved everyone from engineers to department heads—including the top administrator who has final say on seat quality and the artisans responsible for the TAKUMI (craftsmanship) incorporated in previous Lexus models.

“Of course, we wanted nothing more than to develop a seat that would get high marks all around, but satisfying everyone is no easy task. It’s difficult, but it’s also what makes seat development such an enjoyable challenge” Maezawa says.


There is no one type of driver who owns a luxury sedan such as the ES. Owners vary in height, weight, bone structure, and other physical characteristics. For this reason, the seats needed to be designed to accommodate every body type, creating a formidable hurdle—or “an enjoyable challenge” if you’re Maezawa—for the team to clear.

“The ES is in a class whose owners come in all shapes and sizes,” Kawano says. “But no matter how big or small the driver is, they should be able to experience the exact same sense of luxury. Our biggest dilemma during development was how to design the seats so that they could effectively cancel out physical differences.”

The seats of the new ES are structurally simple, composed of polyurethane foam wrapped around an iron frame. The cushion is flat, but the sides are elevated to provide hip support and stabilization for the body. However, if the cushion is designed to be wide enough for large drivers to snugly fit into the seat, smaller drivers will find the hip support to be too far apart and will not feel secure.

Lexus ES Seat Development

“To develop a seat cushion that could cancel out physical differences, we incorporated very subtle depressions in the surface so that even smaller body types can sink firmly into the seat,” Kawano explains. “We also added a laminated layer to the top of each seat. This layer is thin and soft, which allows the head to sink into the cushion for better stability.”


In designing the sports seats, the team sought to create something that would offer excellent hold and functionality, as well as a much sportier design. For inspiration, they looked to their ideal: the seats of the LC.

“When designing seats for an F SPORT car, qualities such as side support resilience need to be set at a much higher level than in a standard model,” Kawano says. “This allows the driver to feel that much more secure. To provide exceptional snugness and posture stability, we designed the seats to conform to the body type of the driver or passenger.”

Lexus ES Seat Team 2

Kawano and his team also increased the resilience of the side support, which protects the body from G-forces that act on the car when cornering at high speeds. They also designed the seats so that the hips, back, and shoulders are stabilized against a single surface. As a result, the team was able to develop an impressive sports seat available exclusively for the new ES.

“An F SPORT is just such a sporty car,” Kawano says. “That’s why I felt we needed to stabilize the driver’s body so that the driver wouldn’t move at all, even when driving on a racing circuit at full speed. We’ve tested the seats, and we can tell you that even when going around a corner at high speeds, the driver’s position barely changes.”

This story was originally published by Lexus Europe.

Comments
Interesting info and confirms the detail that Lexus goes to in their efforts to perfect their cars.
However when you view a Tesla suv on You Tube one does realise how far behind the times the car industry is and I quote just few things about the Tesla:
1. You can open or close all the doors sitting in the drivers seat including front and rear trunk lids. The rear doors fold up in a very narrow space facilitating parking in confined spaces, and the door then being right out of the way facilitates ease of entry.

2. You can change the driving height of the car from the drivers seat, three different heights.
3. Your garage door operates from the car.
4. The car accelerates to 60 mph in under 5 seconds in complete silence.
5. You can fold the rear seats down from the drivers seat.
6. You can order a four seat version with two extra seats at the back that fold down into the floor, and haveva walkway through to the rear seats.
7. When entering the far back seats the middle row seats slides forward automatically to ease your entry.
8. There is no transmission tunnel so internal space abounds.
9. There is a sizable front trunk.
This just the short list it really is worth taking the time to view this You tube clip.

No wonder they are selling they seem to light years ahead of the industry.
S
Rob Grieveson
Interesting info and confirms the detail that Lexus goes to in their efforts to perfect their cars.
However when you view a Tesla suv on You Tube one does realise how far behind the times the car industry is and I quote just few things about the Tesla:
1. You can open or close all the doors sitting in the drivers seat including front and rear trunk lids. The rear doors fold up in a very narrow space facilitating parking in confined spaces, and the door then being right out of the way facilitates ease of entry.

2. You can change the driving height of the car from the drivers seat, three different heights.
3. Your garage door operates from the car.
4. The car accelerates to 60 mph in under 5 seconds in complete silence.
5. You can fold the rear seats down from the drivers seat.
6. You can order a four seat version with two extra seats at the back that fold down into the floor, and haveva walkway through to the rear seats.
7. When entering the far back seats the middle row seats slides forward automatically to ease your entry.
8. There is no transmission tunnel so internal space abounds.
9. There is a sizable front trunk.
This just the short list it really is worth taking the time to view this You tube clip.

No wonder they are selling they seem to light years ahead of the industry.
1: Yes. Those rear doors are cool. But the folding of the rear doors to help you get out in tight spaces is creation from the way the door opens. Its gull-wing doors. It takes up a lot of space - it'll need to fold regardless.
I mean - you can have a regular SUV with a regular opening door and you'll be able to get out. Just don't park tight drive in spaces. Then again - no one with a brand new car would park into a tight space just to get your brand new car hit.

2: You can already do that in cars. Obviously - all cars can't have this feature because its using air suspensions. Air Suspensions are extremely expensive to buy, fix and install. Another thing is - the Tesla needs this because of the low ride height. Their battery packs are in the middle of the car which gives them this low fixed post. This is why the Model X rides lower than most SUVs - they need the air suspension to lift it up in big humps while some regular SUVs just get over those humps.

3: Your garage door already operates from the car. Most entry-level luxury cars to luxury cars already have homelink as standard. Obviously lower end economy cars won't have this. Keeping in mind - the Tesla is 100K plus.

4: The car accelerates to 60 in under 5 seconds in silence because its a electric car. This doesn't prove the industry is behind in any way. It just shows they are using a different method of acceleration.
One can argue that the Tesla is awful for accelerating to 60 under 5 seconds with no sound because the sound gives the car soul and character.

5: Good feature.

6: Good feature - for in case you want a 4 door but sometimes need 6 seats.

7: Mini vans are able to do this, I believe.

8: Are you referring to the hump in the back seat? A lot SUVs already don't have that tunnel.

9: Front truck or "frunk" happened because it uses electric motors. Mid-engine cars already had this feature. Besides - having a "frunk" doesn't mean Tesla is advance. Its just a situation of their power plant.
Besides - there already cars with a truck better than Tesla's truck and "frunk" combined.

Overall - majority of the Tesla features is already done in other cars or its not really a "feature" at all. Its just a created out of necessity because of how the Tesla is.
They are not light years ahead of the industry. Not when a Tesla has the worst reliability in the history of cars. It breaks more often than an American car or a KIA from the 90s.
Rob Grieveson
Interesting info and confirms the detail that Lexus goes to in their efforts to perfect their cars.
However when you view a Tesla suv on You Tube one does realise how far behind the times the car industry is and I quote just few things about the Tesla:
1. You can open or close all the doors sitting in the drivers seat including front and rear trunk lids. The rear doors fold up in a very narrow space facilitating parking in confined spaces, and the door then being right out of the way facilitates ease of entry. That feature is honestly amazing, other manufactuers should take notice of that. Just fix all of the little sensor issues and in my opinion this tech is a huge advancement.

2. You can change the driving height of the car from the drivers seat, three different heights. I'm guessing you mean ride height? Nothing new......
3. Your garage door operates from the car. Jesus Christ so many older cars have that feature. Still nothing new......
4. The car accelerates to 60 mph in under 5 seconds in complete silence. So can many other cars. Yeet.
5. You can fold the rear seats down from the drivers seat. Not going to lie that's pretty interesting.
6. You can order a four seat version with two extra seats at the back that fold down into the floor, and haveva walkway through to the rear seats. There is a reason why nobody else does that. It's just such a horrible idea. I haven't even seen ONE Tesla yet with that feature. It's more of a gimmick than many of BMW's useless but VERY cool technological features that they have for their infotainment.
7. When entering the far back seats the middle row seats slides forward automatically to ease your entry. Still is a huge pain in the rear (heh just realized, put not intended though).
8. There is no transmission tunnel so internal space abounds. Transmissions are cool though.
9. There is a sizable front trunk. Porsche would like to have a word with you. Does it have a good rear trunk as well? Not really anymore because of those seats.
This just the short list it really is worth taking the time to view this You tube clip.

No wonder they are selling they seem to light years ahead of the industry. Tim Cook, is that you?

LOL Sakura you beat me to doing that but I'm going to do it anyway. :D
Tesla is now outselling both Jaguar and Porsche by substantial margins. It is now the top selling luxury brand limo in the USA.

This car is ahead of the rest no matter how you try to deny it. Sakura it is not only the rear doors that operate from the front seat it is all the doors including the trunks.

Do yourselves a favour and Google Tesla and read reports from Top Gear, Autocar etc as I did and was indeed surprised by their mostly very positive reviews, one even makes the point Tesla is the new iPad in cars it is that interesting and advanced. Furthermore your Tesla is updated with all new tech as things progress, i.e just like your computer/phone features will be updated improved not by having to go to the dealer but over the Internet. Sorry guys you can argue forever as true car fans always do but once you spend time investigating I believe you will begin to see what I am saying. Perhaps I did not make all the points as clearly as I could have, fact is there are just so many.
I am a Lexus/Toyota fan and look forward to them joining this party, however if it takes three years to develop a seat??
I had planned to buy a Model S when my '15 LS460 went off lease. The more I researched, the less I liked what I saw and heard, and that got me into the LS500 instead.

But hey, Elon's launching Tesla brand tequila now. Gonna be interested in reaction to that - I know MADD would go nuclear if Chevy came out with Corvette branded bourbon.
S
F1 Silver Arrows
LOL Sakura you beat me to doing that but I'm going to do it anyway. :D
LOL. Great minds think alike. :D:fist:

You brought a lot of good points too. :thumbsup:

Ian Schmidt
I had planned to buy a Model S when my '15 LS460 went off lease. The more I researched, the less I liked what I saw and heard, and that got me into the LS500 instead. (One example: the Model S door handles generally break within the first year. Third parties sell a redesigned parts kit that fixes the problem permanently but Tesla continues to manufacture them with the flaw).

But hey, Elon's launching Tesla brand tequila now. Gonna be interested in reaction to that - I know MADD would go nuclear if Chevy came out with Corvette branded bourbon.
That's very true actually - I have read on Tesla forums that the door handles break super easy. There has been multiple owners that complain about the door handle and their experience of getting it fixed at Tesla service. I read the post a long time ago but I believe the owner had to wait a month or two to get their handles fixed.

Tesla is notoriously slow for servicing issues.
  • Joe
    Joe
  • October 15, 2018
Rob Grieveson
I am a Lexus/Toyota fan and look forward to them joining this party, however if it takes three years to develop a seat??
Have you ever really compared the quality of a Tesla seat with a Lexus? Try them out on a long distance... you'll be begging for a Lexus seat!
  • Joe
    Joe
  • October 15, 2018
krew
krew

The Story of the Seventh-Generation Lexus ES Seats

View the original article post
On the European market Lexus offers the best allround seat comfort, next to Volvo. This counts for all current models. It is acknowledged by most automotive journalists.
There is a good reason why this takes a few years to develop: the simple but very thoughtful design deletes the need for a multitude of adjustable settings and will accomodate comfortably 85% of all drivers for miles and miles.
(one small remark though: an adjustable seat cushion length on F SPORT seats would be a great feature for taller people);)

J
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