One of Frankfurt's most controversial debuts, the Lexus LF-NX Crossover Concept takes the automaker's L-finesse design language into a whole new realm as it tests the waters for an upscale production alternative that will slot in beneath the perpetually popular but far more traditional midsize Lexus RX family. When it arrives in showrooms - likely as a 2015 or 2016 model - this new Lexus NX will be targeted at overtly style-conscious buyers who otherwise might be considering a premium alternative vehicle like the Range Rover Evoque. However, based on early spy shots, we expect some of the LF-NX Concept's more polarizing exterior cues to be toned down a fair bit in its volume-build successor.
From nose to tail, the Lexus LF-NX Crossover Concept is an unabashed exercise in edges, angles and attitude. In addition to the biggest and boldest iteration to date of the Lexus signature spindle grille, the front fascia on the LF-NX Concept sports distinctive slim-line headlamps with separate DRLs -- a la the new Lexus IS. The profile is punctuated by a relatively low-profile greenhouse, a flowing roofline that sweeps into a steeply raked liftgate, deeply sculpted side panels and prominently bulged wheel arches filled with custom alloy wheels. Rounding out its love-me-or-don't presence, the rear treatment of the LF-NX boasts equally in-your-face detailing that recalls some aspects of the Lexus LFA supercar. Toyota says its trick taillamp lenses cast light downward as well as rearward to create a virtual "trailing edge" line which mimics the look the front-end.
The cabin of the LF-NX Concept continues with the avant-garde approach to design, albeit one tempered by a "Human Oriented" L-finesse mentality and a distinct driver-focused character. Included in its bounty of next-gen technology are touch-sensitive electrostatic switchgear and a new Remote Touch Interface design that replaces the current mouse-like controller. Like the rest of the passenger compartment, the LF-NX Concept's four individual seats are trimmed in Black/Sunrise Yellow leather and feature brushed metal accents.
Save for confirming that it's fitted with "a new variant of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system tuned for SUV performance," Lexus did not release any other details on the LF-NX Concept's powertrain. Given that Toyota recently announced it's developing new gasoline engines, electric motors and lithium-ion battery packs that will appear in the next-gen Prius -- due for launch in 2015 -- as well as in other future Toyota/Lexus hybrid models, we suspect at least one variant of the production Lexus NX will feature its own iteration of those elements. However, it's also believed this compact crossover will offer a non-hybrid base model with a conventional gasoline engine which is thought to be a 2.0-liter turbocharged four.
Exactly how much of the LF-NX Concept's adventurous design makes it to production status remains to be seen. But this high-profile exercise clearly shows that Lexus is now fully prepared to push the limits of convention into uncharted territory.
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