Lexus LF-1 Limitless Debuts in Detroit – Molten Katana Drives This Future Flagship Crossover

By Steve & Tamami Laser

Last year Lexus sold about 305,000 vehicles in the U.S. More than 108,000, or about one-third of the total, were the midsize RX crossover followed by the NX compact crossover with some 59,000 units. The new LF-1 Limitless concept that made its debut at the Detroit Auto Show points the way to a future flagship crossover positioned above the RX.

Lexus says the gorgeous new concept was created at CALTY Design Research in Calif. with the styling theme of “molten katana.” Imagine the fusion of molten metal with the sharp edge of a traditional Japanese sword. It’s a smooth, flowing shape that likely predicts the design direction for future Lexus vehicles.

“This is our vision of a new kind of flagship vehicle that embraces crossover capability without giving up the performance luxury delivered by today’s top sedans,” said Kevin Hunter, CALTY president. “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.”

With its breathtaking styling and innovative technology, the new Lexus LF-1 Limitless offers a preview of a next-generation flagship Lexus crossover. (video: Lexus)

The long hood with a stretched dash-to-axle ratio signals a rear-drive chassis is employed underneath (unlike the RX that sprang from front-drive hardware). In other words, if the new Lexus LS flagship sedan had a crossover sibling, the LF-1 would be it. The signature Lexus spindle grille on LF-1 features a three-dimensional design surrounded by LED lighting instead of chrome.

“But what about the power source? The possibilities are of course limitless,” said Jeff Bracken (above), group vice president and general manager of the Lexus Division, during the concept’s debut at the Detroit Auto Show. “This concept could be powered by fuel cell, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, gasoline or even all-electric. And around 2025, every Lexus model around the world will be available either as a dedicated electrified model or have an electrified option.”

The LF-1 adheres to the Japanese tradition of “omotenashi,” or hospitality (customer service) welcoming those who enter (whether it’s a concept vehicle, a car dealer or a department store). In this case, the futuristic cockpit has replaced knobs and switches with motion-activated controls for the driver.

Sporty bucket seats for four passengers are covered with Chiffon White perforated leather while metallic accents around the cabin contrast with dark Cocoa Bean leather trim. Rear seat passengers are treated to the same seats used up front with lots of legroom along with twin displays and individual climate and entertainment system controls.

Lexus loaded LF-1 with high-tech goodies including a “Chauffeur mode” that “allows for hands-free operation thanks to the vehicle’s by-wire steering, braking, acceleration, lights and signals.” Steering-wheel-mounted powertrain controls allow the driver to manually operate the transmission and engage drive modes including “park” and “reverse.”

A four-dimensional navigation system is said to add the element of time, acting as a “concierge for the occupants by anticipating the needs of the driver and passengers based on progress, traffic and road conditions along the programmed trip. Thus, it could suggest things like fuel stops, rest brakes, restaurants or hotel reservations.”

News source, photos and video courtesy Lexus Division of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., and Lexus International

Story © 2018