Lexus LF-1 Concept previews possible future flagship SUV

Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept takes a bow at the Detroit motor show

Lexus has revealed a new concept called the LF-1 Limitless at the Detroit motor show. First teased in early December last year, the LF-1 is the brand’s supposed third addition to its flagship range that's currently made up of the LC coupe and LS saloon.

To begin with, the LF-1 is meant to point towards a different type of luxury SUV for the Japanese luxury brand. The current flagship LX 570 SUV, which is not on sale in the UK, is based on the rugged Outback-ready Toyota Land Cruiser. This one is a little different.

> Click here for our review of the Lexus LC 500

Looking purely at the proportions, you’ll notice the distance between the front axle and dashboard is more akin to luxury saloons than an SUV. That’s because the eventual production version of the LF-1 is highly likely to make use of a platform derived from Lexus’ LS saloon and not a rugged body-on-frame off-roader. In contrast, the RX 450h crossover currently uses a platform derived from the Toyota Camry, which is great for packaging, but less so for creating a premium or dynamic driving experience. This change points towards Lexus’ ambition to create a true bespoke premium SUV, rather than one derived from Toyota’s vast product catalogue.

Designed by Toyota’s California-based design team at CALTY, the LF-1 adopts the L-Finesse design language currently employed throughout the range, showing off a smooth, more sophisticated surfacing language as befit a flagship model. At 5014mm long, the FL-1 is less than a centimetre shorter than other flagship premium SUVs like the Audi Q8 concept, putting the car into context in terms of possible future rivals.

The LF-1 also reflects Lexus’ current interior design direction, majoring on a prominent, centrally mounted dial flanked by high mounted controls and a driver-centric asymmetrical dashboard. The LF-1 also preview Lexus’ next generation infotainment and user-interface design, with a greater reliance on a large head up display. 

> Click here for our look ahead at the Audi Q8

Other concept car elements of complex LED lighting structures and promise of autonomous driving capability are present, although Lexus has yet to mention anything in the way of possible drivetrains.

As the luxury sector continue to veer towards SUVs it’s no surprise to see a concept like this on the Lexus stand, but if a possible production version is as well executed at the latest LC coupe, rivals like the Audi Q8 and BMW X6 might have to keep an eye over their shoulders. 

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