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2018-01-18 07:25

FLAGSHIP CROSSOVER: The Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept vehicle is presented at the North American International auto show in Detroit. Image: AP / Tony Ding

Detroit - Lexus has advanced its stellar reputation as a premium automotive pioneer with the world premiere of the stunning Lexus LF-1 Limitless - a concept that debuts a new genre of luxury vehicle, the flagship crossover.

The fluid lines of the LF-1 point to the potential for a flagship luxury crossover from Lexus that will offer an amazing experience for customers. Combining high performance with unrestrained luxury, the Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept is a showcase of technology, innovation and the latest evolution of design at Lexus.

Limitless in its potential and possibilities, the concept envisages fully autonomous driving and caters to the diverse lifestyles of Lexus customers. Likewise, the possibilities for powertrains are vast. The LF-1 concept could be powered by fuel cells, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, petrol or even all-electric. By around 2025, every Lexus model around the world will be available either as a dedicated electrified model, or have an electrified option.

Lexus is repeating history by staging the world premiere of the Lexus LF-1 Limitless at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Two decades ago, Lexus established the luxury crossover segment with the global debut of the RX 300 in Detroit.

The RX remains the world's top-selling luxury crossover despite nearly 50 competitors that have since entered the segment.

Lexus International president; Yoshihiro Sawa said Lexus models such as the RX had helped drive the global popularity of the luxury SUV category.

Sawa says: "This new crossover concept captures a future that involves a high level of dynamic capability and utility matched by a more exciting, emotional design that we hope challenges expectations in the category."

The innovative spirit and captivating styling of the LF-1 was created at CALTY Design Research in California.

The design language is rooted in the simple yet elegant design concept of "molten katana" - fusing the organic shapes of liquid (molten) metal with the sharp edges of a traditional Japanese sword (katana).

CALTY Design Research president Kevin Hunter said 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.

Hunter says: "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," Mr Hunter said. "The Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept incorporates imaginative technology while creating a strong emotional connection by improving the human experience for the driver and passengers."

Unveiling the #LexusLF1Limitless at #NAIAS. In 360°.

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The LF-1's exaggerated dash-to-axle ratio (long bonnet, short front overhang) gives it an athletic profile that evokes classic grand touring cars. Combined with a cabin that sits deep within the rear-wheel-drive chassis and aggressive 22" wheels under bulging fenders, the LF-1 has a powerful stance that conveys its performance intentions at a glance.

Like all current Lexus models, the spindle grille on the LF-1 is a core element to the overall design. On the LF-1, it has been taken even further: details suggest that the start of the spindle forms at the rear of the vehicle, then continues forward toward the nose. There is no chrome, as the LF-1 instead uses LED lighting around the grille that greets you on arrival.

The Lexus LF-1 rear features a split roof spoiler and there are interesting curves and details along every inch of the rear fascia. The beautifully sculpted openings at each corner might look like exhaust pipes, but they're actually vents for the air coming past the rear wheels.

Lighting also plays a key role in the look and feel of the interior. Engaging the start button initiates a dramatic lighting sequence that differs depending on which of the several available driving modes is engaged. For a more subtle effect, the wooden door trim has tiny perforations that allow indirect light from miniature LEDs to shine in a variety of colours that complement the more direct overhead lights.

Technology enhances the luxurious feel of the LF-1 by expanding the options offered to the driver. It starts with the LF-1's Chauffeur mode, which allows for hands-free operation thanks to the vehicle's by-wire steering, braking, acceleration, lights and signals. The result is smooth, carefree driving with maximum efficiency and reduced risk of accidents.

For engaged driving, all powertrain controls are on the steering wheel to keep the driver focused on the road. Paddles mounted to the steering wheel control the transmission in manual mode for sporty driving while buttons on the lower section of the steering wheel engage standard drive mode options like park and reverse.

Lexus LF-1 Limitless dimensions

Length: 5014mm
Width:  1986mm
Height: 1605mm
Wheelbase: 2974mm


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