Lexus takes a leap into the future with its Sport Yacht and Skyjet concepts

It's hard not to feel like a character in Entourage strolling into a $47.5 million mansion in South Beach, Miami. High fives all 'round. 

This is normally a private palace for movie stars and socialites, but today it's the starting point for a high-octane series of big-budget reveals hosted by automotive giant Lexus.

We're here for the world's first look at the Lexus Sport Yacht concept, a 42-foot prototype boat applying Japanese design principles with the latest maritime tech. 

While guests sip espresso and carb-load bagels by the horizon pool, a smudge grows on the turquoise waters of the Biscayne Bay beyond.

Like a phoenix from the ashes, Akio Toyoda, CEO and President of Toyota, swerves into focus atop a floating chariot of bronze speeding towards the private dock. 

Top of the yachts

While this is not the first prestige car brand to hit the marina, with Aston Martin, Bugatti, and Mercedes-Benz testing the waters on superyacht concepts in recent times, the Lexus vision doesn't disappoint.

Twin V8 engines glint under polished glass at the bow, powering the handsome vessel to a top speed of 78 kilometres an hour, with space for eight well-heeled passengers on board (there's also a shower in the hatch, but no beds).

Like a polished carbon fibre arrow, the superyacht has no hard edges or walkways, with two banks of plush seats allowing passengers to face each other in the cosy-cool cabin of marble and leather. 


Controls are entirely operated by a 7-inch touchscreen featuring cutting-edge navigation equipment and a full-tilt entertainment system. Sure beats your average tinnie. 

Right on track

The Sport Yacht is the first in a series of thrills and surprises unveiled for a pack of media who have jetted in for the 'Through the Lense' conference.

Next, our crew hops into a fleet of waiting helicopters for a majestic flight over the Florida Everglades before landing at the Palm Beach International Raceway for some quick laps around the 3.2-kilometre road course in Lexus' latest vehicles. 

Champion driver Scott Pruett is there to chauffeur wide-eyed journalists on a remarkable hotlap in the RC F GT concept car, a super-quick, ultra-agile track car somewhere between the street-legal RC F and a full-bore racecar.

Later, we're let loose in the LC 500, Lexus' new flagship performance coupe which cuts an ultra-sleek figure with it's sweeping roofline and striking spindle grille.

Driving at more than 220 kilometres an hour on an empty track, it's tricky to gauge exactly how fast you're really going, as the motor hums and the curved corners hurtle towards you at surreal intervals. 

Kart coupe

The group soon moves to another area of the Raceway – the shorter, hairpin-turned Kart Track – for a spin in the passenger seat of the 2017 RC F coupe.

I feel my organs rattling around inside me as another pro-driver slams the car into turns and fangs down straights, testing the limits of the car. The vehicle grips the road and surges around the track with growling bursts of precisely-engineered intensity.

It's clear why the best race car drivers are small and fit – you need serious core strength to keep upright against these forces.

"Do you want to go again?" the driver asks when we screech to a stop. You think? I tense my stomach muscles and grit my teeth as the car squeals forward for another lap.

Space age glamour

With heads spinning and adrenaline pumping, we chopper back to the city to slosh off and suit up.

As the sun sets over Miami Beach, we roll up to a swish cocktail function in the Faena Forum Theatre, which is Miami's answer to the Sydney Opera House. Trays of tacos and margaritas circle the room before the lights go down for the final dramatic reveal.

Emerging from behind a curtain on a star lit stage, the sleek silver Lexus Skyjet is a high-tech imagining of what vehicles might look like in 700 years. Hanging from the ceiling bathed in an explosion of light and colour, the Skyjet is like a life-size version of the kids action toy of your dreams.

It's not quite for sale yet – the Skyjet has been custom built for Luc Besson's forthcoming science fiction epic Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, starring Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne.

The final surprise: DeHaan is here to give us the first look at the futuristic spacecraft. 

Looking like a young Leonardo DiCaprio in an inky suit and Florida-ready patterned shirt, the actor swans into the party with a glint in his eye. "I am the only one who gets to [drive] the Skyjet in the movie," the star says. "It's cool when you make a movie with a lot of blue screen it's nice to have an actual prop that you can interact with."

With that, DeHaan steps off stage, no doubt into a waiting Lexus. I wonder if there's a vacancy in his entourage.

The writer travelled to Miami as a guest of Lexus.