Ladies and gentlemen, please meet the all new Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept. The Lexus LF-1 Limitless taps into your emotional side - passion, desire and excitement, and gives you a glimpse of what a premium high-performance luxury crossover from Lexus could be.
The New Lexus LF-1
Lexus is showing off a new luxury crossover concept at the North American International Auto Show this week: The LF-1 ‘Limitless,’ which has a sleek, sporty look, and a range of features designed around alternatives tailored to a potential owner’s drivetrain preferences and more.
The Lexus LF-1 is designed to potentially house either a fuel cell, plug-in hybrid, gasoline or all-electric powertrain, and this is something that Lexus is looking at as an example for how it envisions its entire vehicle lineup will operate by 2025 and beyond.
The car also has LED lighting surrounding the grille for signalling to external drivers and people, and its flowing lines are meant to evoke sport performance capabilities as well as versatility.
Just how big is the LF-1 Limitless concept?
It has dimensions fractionally longer, wider and with more space between its axles than a Porsche Cayenne. It’s significantly lower, though – by a whopping 68mm – which means conceptually it’s closer in size to the aforementioned forthcoming Audi Q8.
Billed as a ‘flagship’ model by Lexus, the LF-1 Limitless has been designed by the CALTY Design Research team in California to work with a number of the firm’s modular powertrains, including hydrogen fuel cell, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric.
It features autonomous tech in the form of Chauffeur mode, which controls all aspects of driving, including turning signals and lights alongside more conventional active lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control.
What if I want to do some driving?
But enthusiasts are catered for too – to an extent – thanks to paddleshifters behind the steering wheel and a Manual mode for whichever transmission is fitted. The eagle-eyed among you will spot that Auto, Park and Reverse buttons are on the ‘wheel too, which adds a simplicity of design for the cockpit along with being easier to operate than a standard gearlever arrangement.
Although it’s been designed as an SUV to accommodate modern car buyers’ demands – and despite our misgivings about the proliferation of such vehicles across the industry, Lexus claims you don’t have to sacrifice speed nor sumptuousness with the LF-1. With that in mind it remains rear-driven, despite its 4x4 appearance.
‘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 saloons,’ said Kevin Hunter, President of CALTY Design Research. ‘The Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept incorporates imaginative technology while creating a strong emotional connection by improving the human experience for driver and passengers.’
Tell me more about that interior design
The driver gets an instrument panel facing towards them flanked by a pair of rear-view screens, along with a gesture control system that replaces many physical buttons for an uncluttered cabin design.
You’ve got a quartet of identical seats in the LF-1 and each one gets its own multimedia screen, which can also display journey information from the nav in a similar way to modern aeroplanes. Said navigation system also tries to ‘anticipate’ occupants’ needs en-route – for example suggesting fuel and rest stops or meal venues, and booking hotel rooms while you’re on the move.
Each back seat passenger can choose their own infotainment and climate settings using a haptic controller in the rear seat centre console, which is almost certainly going to cause havoc when the kids get their hands on it.
Ambient lighting features heavily in the LF-1, with a ‘dramatic’ drive mode-specific lighting sequence promised when you switch the car on. There are pinhole perforations in the wood door trim that let light through to supplement the more obvious LEDs elsewhere in the cabin.
Lexus LF-1 Limitless: the build-up
The new concept car was designed at Toyota's Calty design studio in Southern California, so this is a decidedly US-focused show car. Lexus teased the car with a set of darkened teaser images which didn't give away much about this new flagship SUV; piece them together and you got a few hints of a successor to the RX or LX SUVs, the top-dog crossovers in Lexus's range.
The RX was only launched in 2015 and Lexus has just confirmed a new seven-seat version is coming - so don't expect a replacement any time soon. The LX, meanwhile, is quite an old, full-size crossover. Does this suggest a replacement of the US-spec SUV is nigh?