Lexus LF-FC concept from Tokyo returns in Geneva, previews next LS

New Lexus concept car hints at the future design direction for the range-topping LS, powered by fuel cells and using autonomous tech

Lexus will display its LF-FC luxury saloon concept at the Geneva motor show, following its international debut at the Tokyo motor show in October 2015.

Described as a glimpse into the firm’s design and technology direction for a future flagship model, it’s the clearest indication yet of what we can expect from the next-generation LS range-topper.

At 5300mm long, 2000mm wide and 1410mm high, it shades even the long-wheelbase version of the current car by 120mm in length, while it’s also a significant 125mm wider and a sleek 71mm lower.

While luxury market rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes have very much stuck to a three-box look for their flagship saloons, the LF-FC concept suggests Lexus might adopt a more coupe-like silhouette for the next LS, with a low roofline and slim glasshouse.

The look is accentuated by the concept’s 21-inch, carbonfibre-reinforced plastic alloy wheels, but Lexus has no plans to change its current spindle grille design, which is as imposing here as it is on production Lexus models. The mesh design is new however, and the firm’s dual-element front lights squint from prominent front wings.

Lexus was the first manufacturer to introduce hybrid technology to the executive car class and following the lead of parent company Toyota, the LF-FC’s powertrain moves a step further, to hydrogen fuel cell technology.

The company sees fuel cells - a technology already in production with parent Toyota, with the Mirai - as 'the closest technology yet to the ultimate eco-car.

We're not quite as convinced, at least not until large quantities of hydrogen can be created without inputting huge amounts of energy through electrolysis or steam reforming from fossil fuels, but the end result does have benefits over battery-electric vehicles: namely quicker 'filling' times and potentially greater range. Lexus notes that a fuel cell vehicle's energy efficiency is twice that of current petrol and diesel engines.

In the LF-FC, power is sent to all four wheels – the front pair driven by in-wheel electric motors – with a torque-vectoring system to adjust power precisely to each wheel. The fuel cell itself is located in the rear, with a power control unit in the front and hydrogen tanks arranged in a T-shape underneath the car. No power, torque or performance claims are made of the concept.

As BMW and Mercedes-Benz move the interior game further onward with the 7-series and S-class, Lexus has stepped up the game with its latest concept. It calls the resulting cabin ‘comfortable yet futuristic’, but maintains Lexus’ current thinking with distinct top and bottom layers to the dashboard architecture.

A suite of safety systems – including traffic environment recognition, prediction and judgement functions – help whisk driver and passengers to their destinations with minimal effort. Several controls are operated using hand gestures rather than touch, while images for the navigation, air conditioning and multimedia systems are projected into the air above the centre console.

Naturally, automated driving functions are also included - a suite of technologies including five radar units, a stereo camera, and six LIDAR sensors monitor the area around the car.

‘Lexus wants to surprise and evoke emotion with its distinctive design and forward-thinking technology’ explained Tokuo Fukuichi, Lexus International President. ‘For us, it is more than just a car; we want to exceed conventional imagination. The LF-FC expresses our progressive luxury and high-tech vision of a not-so-distant future.’

Read about more production cars and concept vehicles from the Geneva motor show on our show hub page.

Recommended

Mike Cross to retire from JLR, Matt Becker joins as Vehicle and Dynamics Director
Matt Becker
Jaguar

Mike Cross to retire from JLR, Matt Becker joins as Vehicle and Dynamics Director

Jaguar Land Rover is losing its superstar chief engineer, but picks up another in Matt Becker
20 Jan 2022
BMW M760Li Final Edition marks the end of the V12-powered BMW
BMW M760Li – front quarter
BMW 7 Series saloon

BMW M760Li Final Edition marks the end of the V12-powered BMW

Time is being called on the V12 at BMW, with the last 12 M760Li models exclusive to the USA
18 Jan 2022
Subaru STI E-RA Challenge Project concept reveals FIA E-GT ambitions
Subaru STI E-RA Concept – front quarter
Subaru

Subaru STI E-RA Challenge Project concept reveals FIA E-GT ambitions

Subaru’s ‘near-future’ concept racing car has been designed to FIA E-GT regs
14 Jan 2022
Lexus crystallises its electric future – headlined by new battery-powered sports car
Lexus EV range – sports car
Lexus

Lexus crystallises its electric future – headlined by new battery-powered sports car

After a slow start, Lexus has revealed its incoming BEV range that includes a new halo sports car
14 Dec 2021

Most Popular

Car pictures of the week
Maserati MC20
Maserati MC20 coupe

Car pictures of the week

In this week’s car pictures from issue 294, we look at the highlights from Jethro Bovingdon’s drive in the highly anticipated Maserati MC20
21 Jan 2022
Peugeot 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar shown in new images
Peugeot 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar
Peugeot

Peugeot 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar shown in new images

Peugeot Sport’s new wingless Le Mans racer gears up for its competition debut later this year
18 Jan 2022
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring 2022 review – pairing the magnificent 992 GT3 experience to a more subtle audience
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring eCoty – front tracking
Porsche 911 GT3

Porsche 911 GT3 Touring 2022 review – pairing the magnificent 992 GT3 experience to a more subtle audience

There are few, if any, more rewarding, engaging or intense experiences for those in pursuit of the thrill of driving
7 Jan 2022