Lexus model name meanings explained

Every Lexus model is identified by a two-letter acronym, but these letters are not random. Each Lexus model name carries a meaning that is descriptive of the model upon which it appears, as we reveal below.

Lexus model name: LS

LS stands for Luxury Sedan. The original LS 400 – the car that launched Lexus back in 1989 – was the work of 60 designers, 1,400 engineers, 2,300 technicians and over 200 support workers. It was billed as the finest luxury car in the world by parent company Toyota as well as the motoring press. The Sedan part of the name refers to the model’s traditional four-door, two-box shape.

Learn more: History of the Lexus LS 400

Lexus model name: GS

The mid-size GS followed in the footsteps of LS by adopting Sedan as a suffix. The prefix stood for Grand, which symbolised the model’s middle position within the Lexus saloon model line-up during its production.

Learn more: History of the Lexus GS

Lexus model name: ES

Originally launched alongside LS back in 1989, the mid-size Lexus Executive Sedan is recognised as the brand’s most popular saloon – a fact that has contributed to the seven-generation model’s availability in Europe from 2019 onwards.

Learn more: Lexus ES

Lexus model name: IS

Since the arrival of the IS 200 in 1999, the Lexus IS range has always combined traditional Lexus qualities in a smaller, more mechanically dynamic package aimed at younger customers. Fittingly, IS stands for Intelligent Sports.

Learn more: History of the Lexus IS

Lexus model name: CT

CT stands for Creative Touring. The car is Creative in the sense that it dared to debut a full hybrid powertrain in a segment dominated by diesels, while Touring can be interpreted as dispelling the myth that the batteries used to power the electric motor compromise passenger and luggage space.

Learn more: Celebrating ‘sakura’ season with the Lexus CT 200h

Lexus model name: RC

The Lexus RC was designed to challenge perceptions about what a self-charging, petrol-electric hybrid should look like. As the first Lexus hybrid packaged in a premium two-door coupe shell, this Radical Coupe not only delivers impressive design, Lexus luxury and craftsmanship, but a refined and engaging driving experience, too.

Learn more: What is the Lexus RC F GT3?

Lexus model name: LC

Imagine a vehicle that combines the luxuries of a flagship saloon with the seductive, sporting aesthetic of a grand touring coupe. That vehicle is the Lexus LC, or Luxury Coupe, a flagship two-plus-two that is engineered in every dimension to deliver a very special and rewarding driving experience.

Learn more: Lexus LC – a Takumi masterclass

Lexus model name: RX

The RX model name stands for Radiant Crossover, although this term is seldom mentioned in literature related to RX. The word Radiant can be interpreted as representing the bright new future that Lexus envisioned at the car’s launch at the start of the Millennium. The model was our first sports utility vehicle, marking a Crossover point between a luxury saloon and an off-roader.

Learn more: History of the Lexus RX

Lexus model name: NX

Like its bigger brother, the Nimble Crossover NX marks the point at which a luxury mid-size saloon meets a capable off-road vehicle. Its smaller, more wieldy size endows it with a nimble nature that makes it a perfect tool for urban and country routes alike.

Learn more: Striking angles of the Lexus NX and architecture

Lexus model name: UX

Lexus UX review 05

The arrival of the UX marks the first time Lexus has produced a truly compact luxury crossover. During development, Lexus aimed to embody a free-spirited style that would appeal to modern urban explorers – people who seek fresh, dynamic takes on luxury lifestyle. Hence the name UX stands for Urban Crossover.

Learn more: Introducing the new Lexus UX

Comments (24)


    1. Hi Brad,

      Thanks for getting in touch. ES 350 means 3.5 litre V6 engine. However, there will not be any more of these on the market.

      We hope this helps.

    1. Hi Mick,

      Thank you for your feedback. We will pass this on to our product team so they can consider it in regards to future models.


  2. Two weeks into a new NX after a CT and about 9 years ago a superb RX

    Loving the NX light and airy – and yes it is pretty nimble

    1. Hi Jim,
      Thank you for getting in touch. That is great news to hear. We wish you many more happy miles ahead in your NX. Thanks.

  3. There’s a huge difference between owing a car and owing a Lexus. I have owed mid and late 90s ES. I now owe the 04 330. But sometimes when I look hard enough at the moments some friends of BMW and Mercedes owners desire my Lexus, I feel even more previous, Intelligent and Refined. Do you think it’s so necessary to owe ’00 LS or I should keep to my ES, being the 350 next?

    1. Hi Ray,
      This is due to market difference. In the UK we do not refer to this model as Sedan and therefore the IS stands for Intelligent Sports.

    1. Hello Mr Richardson
      Thank you for your post.
      We are not sure which model you are referring to from this post but we do not currently sell a Lexus estate. The CT 200h and RX 450h are hatchback models so one of these may suit but if you need more information or would like a test drive then we would be happy to help. Please let us know.

    1. Hi Matti
      Thanks for your post and for your interest in Lexus.
      The ES stands for Executive/Elegant Sedan. Hope this helps.

  4. My Lexus means far more to me than the letters symbolising the Grand Sedan the initials GS stand for. Truly a vehicle that I believe breaks all expectation.

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