Here’s a classic concept car design cue that’s now available in an everyday sedan. Lexus will start offering Digital Outer Mirrors, and the first car to get it will be the new ES saloon. It will be the first mass-produced vehicle to get cameras and screens as wing mirrors – Volkswagen only made 250 units of the XL1 fuel economy special, and the Audi e-tron isn’t out yet.

Essentially, the side mirrors are cameras, and the live feed is displayed on left and right screens inside the cabin. This allows for enhanced views of the area around the car at night and in inclement weather, Lexus says. It’s not just plain feed too – the Digital Outer Mirrors offer an expanded view of the car’s surroundings by augmenting the display area during turns or when reversing.

The system automatically enhances the corresponding area – left, right or behind – when the turn signals are activated, or when the transmission is put into reverse. The views on the five-inch monitors located at the base of the A pillars can be manually enhanced by the driver. Digital Outer Mirrors is an extension of the full display mirror (FDM) digital rear view mirror that Lexus and Toyota already offer.

Of course, this system also allows for slim and futuristic looking “side mirrors” that provide better forward visibility and the reduction of wind noise, due to their smaller surface area. Another advantage is that Digital Outer Mirrors are shaped to resist the accumulation of raindrops and snow. Close up images of the cameras and its housing is in the gallery below.

The Digital Outer Mirror will make its debut on the new Lexus ES in Japan, where it will go on sale in late October.


GALLERY: Lexus ES 300h