If you’re anything like me, and that could be a good or bad thing depending on the day, you hear “Lexus” and you think, “Asian hot sauce.” No? Fair enough. Me, neither. But, someone at Lexus was onboard with the idea enough to authorize the construction of the Lexus Sriracha IS.
A joint effort between the Japanese luxury automaker, the Thai-inspired hot sauce brand and West Coast Customs produced this unlikely L.A. Auto Show denizen — no doubt continuing the Lexus effort of lightening up the brand’s image in the wake of its recent generations of more appealing, much less stuffy driver’s cars.
The less condiment-based 2017 Lexus IS sports sedan is showing its face to the world at the 2016 L.A. Auto Show. While that’s an exciting enough drive on its own, obviously Lexus thought it needed something spicier to catch eyes on the convention center floor. I was required by U.N. resolution to make that “spicy” reference a couple times, and I’m finished now. I successfully avoided the “hot car” references entirely because I have a bit of dignity left.
From its eye-grabbing, fire red paint job (sprinkled with chili-hued flakes) to the big, red cock logo on the side (…Stop it…), the Lexus Sriracha IS salutes the popular sauce that comes to our Pho bowls via Huy Fong Foods. I licked the car earlier and found no hints of actual pepper flavor. Actually, I didn’t even know it was an auto show gimmick machine at that point. I tend to lick all the cars on the floor. I got arrested for it once. Wait. Never mind. Those weren’t cars.
The car’s sauciness extends to other flourishes throughout the vehicle, thanks to West Coast Customs. The settings for the seat warmers and heater twist from cool to “Sriracha Hot.” The Lexus IS’s tightened, higher adrenaline Sport Mode switches to Sriracha mode. You get the idea.
There’s 43 bottles of Sriracha for emergency use in the trunk. Drink all 43 in a sitting, and you and your trunk might get a special red-accented funeral from Lexus – but probably not. Even the key fob gets in the act with a special chili button that dispenses sauce from a nozzle. Somebody tried the same dispenser key chain gimmick once with the Saab Special Mayonnaise Edition, and 19 people died of botulism.
Gags clearly intended to pad out an automotive story aside, the Sriracha IS makes a right proper special edition of an already fine looking car. Sure, it’s a gimmick — a show car and a museum piece. But, I doubt even the most dignified Lexus fan would turn down a chance to own it.