Lexus model names: what they mean explained

Lexus has been producing cars for many years of various sizes, shapes and functions. But why are the Lexus model names chosen when a new car is launched? This short guide explains why certain letters appear after some of Lexus’ most iconic vehicles.

Lexus model names in alphabetical order

Lexus CT

Lexus model names: Lexus 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 diesel, while Touring can be interpreted as dispelling the myth that the batteries used to power the electric motor compromise passenger and luggage space.

Lexus ES

Lexus model names: Lexus ES

Launched alongside LS back in 1989, the mid-size Lexus Executive Sedan is one of Lexus’ most popular saloons. Since 2019, the seventh generation of ES has returned to European markets.

Lexus GS

Lexus model names: Lexus GS F

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.

Lexus IS

Lexus model names: Lexus 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.

Lexus LC/LC C

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. An additional C is added to denote the convertible version.

Lexus LFA

One of the most beloved Lexus model names of all time is undoubtedly the LFA supercar. While the concept bore the same name, it stood for Lexus Future Advance but transitioned to Lexus F-Sports Apex when it entered production to symbolise the epitome of the “F”series sports brand.

Lexus 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.

Lexus NX

Lexus model names: Lexus 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.

Lexus RC/RC F

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 also a refined and engaging driving experience.

The F in RC F denotes our high-performance, sports models. The F is a reference to Fuji Speedway in Japan, where hundreds of hours of testing were done on the RC F by master drivers.

Lexus RX/RX L

2023 Lexus RX

Arguably the most popular Lexus model names, the RX stands for Radiant Crossover. The word Radiant represents the bright new future Lexus envisioned at the car’s launch at the start of the Millennium. The model was the first sports utility vehicle that marked a Crossover point between a luxury saloon and an off-roader. The L denoted the larger seven-seat variant of the RX.

Lexus RZ

Being the first dedicated all-electric vehicle that Lexus has produced, the RZ took a slightly different approach in the naming convention by introducing the letter Z. RZ stands for Radiant Zero with the Radiant following on from the popular RX. At the same time, Zero denotes the fact that this is a zero-emissions vehicle.

Lexus SC

Lexus model names: Lexus SC

Aimed at targeting the mid-size luxury coupe market, the SC stood for Sports Coupe. It also has the unique distinction of being one of the few models produced by Lexus without an S or X at the end.

Lexus UX

Lexus model names: Lexus UX

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 a fresh, dynamic take on a luxury lifestyle. Hence the name UX stands for Urban Crossover.


  1. 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.

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

    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 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

    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.


    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.


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