The Sense Anticipation spectacle was in full flow now and I was very excited to learn that I would be test driving the RX Range en-route to Nest, Nestle’s open house exhibition and my next destination on the Lexus Hybrid luxury lifestyle adventure.
The Lexus RX 450h is a large SUV that is economical, has good reliability and features a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and a pair of electric motors to improve fuel efficiency. I really enjoyed driving this slick vehicle through the open roads of Switzerland. In town, it is nippy and a silent drive at low speeds and emits as little as 120g/km of CO2. However, once you get on the highway the RX 450h can go from 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds. That, combined with the fact it runs on petrol rather than diesel, makes it remarkably affordable to run.
The RX 450h has a real stylish, modern look and feel with its large standout L-shaped LED headlights and arrowhead fog lights. Generous space inside for both driver and passengers, ample legroom, dapper trim and an upgraded media and navigation system together with a larger display, a wireless phone charger and a powered tailgate to name but a few excellent features. In short, the RX 450h was a smooth, sophisticated and a pleasure to drive and indeed my favourite from the Lexus Hybrid range.
I reached Nest, the newly opened Nestlé centre for scientific innovation, located in Vevey on the Vaud Riviera and built on the foundations of Henri Nestle’s first factory. I was given a VIP tour of this magnificent visitor space which spans over 6,000sq meters combining a modern glass tower, an old factory and a fun and engaging multi-media experience for all ages.
This was a perfect partner for the Lexus Sense The Anticipation programme as both brands have so much in common when it comes to innovation, design and new technology.
The afternoon activity focused on craftsmanship, exemplified by the precision skills of the Lexus Takumi who work on every vehicle that Lexus produce.
I visited the TAG Heuer’s Haut Horlogerie department to witness the creation of the luxury watchmaker’s finest timepieces. I also got the opportunity to tour the TAG workshop and learn about the history of this luxurious brand and to see up close and personal the passion and dedication of the TAG staff that goes into creating each and every TAG masterpiece.
My final destination of this epic Sense The Anticipation tour was Hotel Palafitte. This premier luxury outpost is Europe’s only hotel built on stilts and has an exceptional setting over Lake Neuchâtel. My bedroom had a suave, bright and airy look and feel that made for pleasant surroundings. The room has breathtaking views of the lake, combined with glorious other features such as handsome hardwood floors, a flat-screen TVs, a Nespresso machine, free Wi-Fi, minibar, an outside terrace and direct lake access via ladders should you wish to take a dip in the inviting surrounding waters.
The evening included a demonstration of the surround system designed by Mark Levinson, Lexus’s prestige audio partner, for the new Lexus RX. There was also a workshop exploring how Lexus designs sensory quality into its vehicles too.
I also put my personal origami skills to the test too as I had to try and fold a piece of paper using my non-dominant hand in less than ninety seconds. This was a real challenge and easier said than done.
One of the qualifying tests for Takumi, the Master Craftspeople who craft Lexus vehicles, is to fold a piece of origami. I am told that on the bulletin board in the Miyata Lexus plant is a brightly coloured collection of origami cats that were folded by the current team of stitching craftspeople.
In summary, Lexus is a relatively young brand that has established a global reputation for excellence, not just in terms of the quality of the vehicles it builds but also in the way it looks after its consumers. Throughout this superb and educational Sense The Anticipation exploration, it is clear that Lexus wants to be perceived as a first class luxury brand beyond the automotive world.
In my opinion, Lexus is a brave and vibrant brand that continues to push innovation, creativity and luxury lifestyle to new limits.
By Jamie Ndah