Lexus’ new flagship SUV concept teased

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Lexus has formally teased its new crossover concept, the LF-1, ahead of its official reveal at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. Lexus has not revealed much about the new SUV but, in a statement, the manufacturer said, “The Lexus LF-1 Limitless is a flagship crossover that redefines the boundaries of luxury.” From the single image released, the crossover looks quite sporty and edgy. The rear looks coupe-like and sports a split spoiler along with tail lamps running across the top half of the tailgate. The blue Lexus insignia visible in the picture is a clear indication of the new SUV being a hybrid.

Presently, the LX is Lexus’ flagship SUV and has been around for a long time. Based on a ladder-on-frame chassis, the LX is basically a Toyota Land Cruiser with altered front and rear profiles. This leaves Lexus with no SUV of its own except for the RX and the NX, which are crossovers. The LF-1, being a crossover will sit above the RX. After launching the LF-1 in the global market, Lexus might come up with a LX replacement based the LF-1. That said, there is no word from the manufacturer on the same. Being the flagship SUV, the production-spec LF-1 is expected to borrow its powertrain from Lexus’ flagship sedan, the 2018 LS 500h which is powered by a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine and two electric motors. Combined, they generate 354PS of power.

Jeff Bracken, GM of the Lexus brand in North America, told last month that the brand intends to make a slew of product related announcements in 2018, containing concept vehicles, special editions, anniversary editions and next-generation models. Above the RX L lie the Lexus GX and LX, SUVs built on aging body-on-frame platforms shared with pickups. That platform limits the on-road performance of the cars, though both have serious off-road chops thanks to their rugged Toyota siblings, the 4Runner and Land Cruiser.

With Lexus earmarking more engineering resources to develop performance vehicles, and crossovers and SUVs accounting for 65 % of the brand’s U.S. sales, it would be logical for Lexus to move into sportier luxury crossovers, Bracken said during an interview on the sidelines of the Los Angeles auto show.
Bracken did not mention the LF-1 last month and also held back on whether next year’s product announcements include a production version of the UX subcompact crossover concept that could slot in as an entry-level Lexus, given the discontinuation of the CT hybrid.