NAIAS 2018: Lexus LF-1 Limitless envisions future flagship crossover

AUTO NEWS

High-tech features and an organic design, the LF-1 Limitless from Lexus

For many years, Lexus' offering in the large luxury SUV segment has been the third-generation LX. While already given a thorough refresh to keep up with the competition, it is in dire need of a replacement. Now, Lexus has given us a glimpse on what could be its successor or likely replacement, the LF-1 Limitless concept.

Unlike the LX, the LF-1 Limitless concept features a modern crossover design that could possibly serve as the company's entry in the growing flagship crossover segment. For the brand, the LF-1 combines 'high performance with unrestrained luxury' and will come with latest in technology, innovation and design.

With help from Calty Design, Lexus designed the LF-1 Limitless to have an athletic profile like a sports car. Its design language is actually called 'molten katana'. It combines organic shapes with the sharp edges of a traditional Japanese sword. This enabled Calty and Lexus to give the LF-1 a flowing and chiseled design.

“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. The LF-1 Limitless concept incorporates imaginative technology while creating a strong emotional connection by improving the human experience for the driver and passengers,” said Kevin Hunter, president of Calty Design Research.

As with all Lexus models, the LF-1 also comes with the brand's signature spindle grill albeit bolder looking. It has a three-dimensional design and was painted using colors from Calty. The grill also comes with LED lighting that greets its drivers upon arrival. It also has a low, sloping roofline, aggressively-designed front and rear fenders, and overly-large 22-inch alloy wheels.

Much like the front, the LF-1's rear has a distinct design dominated by smooth curves and sharp angles. What appear to be exhausts are actually vents for the air coming from the rear wheels which improve airflow on the car. Sculpted taillights, a tailgate mounted spoiler and a rear diffuser complete the look of the LF-1 Limitless.

In true Lexus fashion, the interior of the LF-1 emphasizes on comfort, craftsmanship and high-tech functions. Sitting at the center is a four-dimensional navigation system which also acts as the car's onboard concierge. It can update drivers and passengers about traffic, road conditions, pre-programmed trips, rest breaks and other points of interests. Rear passengers, on the other hand, can enjoy the rear-mounted entertainment displays which can connect to one's phone. Haptic touch controls are also present on both the front and rear seats which makes for easier manipulation of the menus and onboard systems.

To keep the driver focused on the road, Lexus opted to remove almost all analog buttons and knobs in favor motion-activated controls. This allows for a minimalist and clutter-free setup for the driver. The front passenger, on the other hand, has a more spacious design and an unobstructed view of the dashboard.

Its exact powertrain remains a mystery as Lexus said that it could be powered by some type of renewable energy like hydrogen fuel cell, plug-in hybrid gasoline or even pure electric. Another neat feature on the LF-1 is 'Chauffeur mode'. In a nutshell, this acts as the car's semi-autonomous driving feature as it allows for hands-free operation of the vehicle's steering, braking acceleration, lights and signals.

“There’s no doubt that luxury crossovers are an increasingly popular choice for luxury customers. This LF-1 Limitless concept illustrates what could happen if Lexus were to add a flagship crossover to our line-up. It’s a gorgeous execution and we’re anxious to see our customers’ and dealers’ response,” said Jeff Bracken, General Manager of Lexus, Toyota Motor North America.

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