Lexus wants in on the swoopy coupe-style SUV set and its striking LF-1 Limitless concept revealed at the 2018 Detroit motor show is just the car to take it there.
The copper-coloured SUV follows the design trend originally set by the BMW X6 and copied by Mercedes-Benz with the GLE and GLC Coupes along with Audi's upcoming Q4, Q6 and Q8 trio, and is the first sign the automaker is getting serious.
While the concept hints at what to expect from Toyota's premium offshoot, Lexus won't offer any indication on if or when production will start. But given Lexus holds good to its word on turning concepts into reality, such as with the recent LC coupe, there's a fair chance plans are already underway to put its latest idea on the road.
It is also non-committal about what type - or options - of powertrain will eventually drive the LF-1 Limitless, but is open to offering traditional petrol engines, a conventional hybrid, plug-in hybrid or even a fully-electric drivetrain - as part of its commitment to have and electrified option in every one of its models by 2025.
Lexus says the inspiration for the LF-1 Limitless' bold design has come from the molten steel used to make Katana swords.
This design visualization fuses the organic shapes of liquid metal with the sharp edges of a traditional Japanese sword," Lexus said in its release.
"Imagining that shift from a smooth, flowing mass into a solid, chiselled shape formed the basis for the fluid, yet aggressive design of the LF-1 Limitless."
"This is our vision for a new kind of flagship vehicle that embraces crossover capability without giving up the performance and luxury delivered by today's top sedans," added Kevin Hunter, President of Toyota and Lexus' CALTY Design Research centre in California, where the concept car was created.
"The LF-1 Limitless concept incorporates imaginative technology while creating a strong emotional connection by improving the human experience for the driver and passengers."
Styling highlights include a bold new take on Lexus' signature spindle grille which is flanked by boomerang-style LED headlamps, floating tail lights and a split rear wing on the trailing edge of the roof that improves vision from its panoramic glass roof.
The four-seater is just as glamorous inside, with digital screens on either side of the instrument cluster that display vision from the rear view cameras mounted on the door sills. It also has fibre optic lights embedded in the wood panelling on the doors and gesture control operation for functions such as opening the windows and controlling the heating and multimedia systems.
Autonomous driving technology also makes an appearance and the car features by-wire connections for steering, braking, acceleration and turn signals, allowing its electronic brain to take control in certain situations.
Lexus Australia boss, Scott Thompson, told Australian media after the reveal the brand will take the time to gauge public interest in the LF-1 Limitless concept before confirming its showroom arrival. But he conceded that, if were to become a reality, that it would likely sit at the top of its SUV family, complementing the LandCruiser-based LX570 as a more urban-focused luxury flagship.
"Once we gauge consumer interest we will start planning for the future," he said.
"But at the moment, it's just a concept car first."
"There is definitely an opportunity in the marketplace above RX to complement LX, so it's in that top tier of luxury crossover."
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