Lexus LF-1 Limitless points to new luxury SUV flagship at Detroit 2018

There's no limit to Lexus' luxury SUV ambitions, if its 2018 Detroit Motor Show concept car is anything to go by...

This is the Lexus LF-1 Limitless, a Detroit Motor Show concept that hints at a future flagship SUV for the Japanese luxury brand.

The LF-1 Limitless is designed to sit above the RX in Lexus’s line-up - in effect, a companion for the recently updated LS limousine. The concept is 5,014mm long - so 20cm shorter than the latest LS, but longer by a similar amount than the current RX. 

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It showcases a new SUV for Lexus, a brand which has so far adopted a fairly traditional profile for its vehicles of this type. Designed by a team in California, the LF-1 Limitless has more of a rear coupe stance - a suggestion that, should it be carried through to production, the car be a rival for forthcoming flagships like Audi’s Q8 and the next generation of BMW’s X6.

The front-end styling is a new, more extreme interpretation of Lexus’s spindle grille, with an even more pinched effect that’s exaggerated through the use of a pair of crisp scallops in the bonnet. There are no traditional headlights as such, because the LF-1 uses a complex arrangement of LEDs around the grille to provide illumination, and as a replacement for traditional chrome detailing, which is absent.

Lexus hasn’t revealed any technical details on the car, but it says it could be powered by a range of powertrains, including a hydrogen fuel cell, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric.

The cabin incorporates some novel features, including full controls for the powertrain - everything from acceleration and braking, through to gear selection - mounted on or around the steering wheel. Lexus says the vehicle also has a ‘Chauffeur mode’, where the LF-1 Limitless can take care of steering, braking, acceleration, lights and signals - in effect, Level 5 autonomous driving.

The concept also showcases a new style of infotainment system for Lexus, with a more complex interface which tries to anticipate the needs of the car’s occupants on time-based elements such as fuel stops, food breaks and hotel reservations. The set-up uses a multi-display configuration, although navigation instructions can be sent through to the central ‘pod’ display, which takes the place of a conventional instrument panel.

Are you excited to see what Lexus has in store for the 2018 Detroit Motor Show? Let us know in the comments!

Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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