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Detroit show: Lexus aims high with 'flagship crossover'

Light up: Lexus designers have put LED lighting to full effect on the back end of the LF-1 Limitless concept crossover vehicle that will make its appearance at next month’s Detroit motor show.

Lexus to target high-end luxury SUVs with LF-1 Limitless SUV concept at Detroit

6 Dec 2017

LEXUS will unveil a sporty, slope-backed “flagship crossover” concept at January’s Detroit motor show, thus signalling its intention to finally take up the battle against mainly European, British and American rivals at the high end of the global SUV market.

Called Lexus LF-1 Limitless, the concept has been created by Toyota’s Calty design studio in southern California where the stunning Lexus LC sports coupe also saw first light of day as a concept.

Lexus describes the LF-1 Limitless as a flagship crossover that redefines the boundaries of luxury.

Along with the announcement, Lexus released a teaser image of the vehicle, showing a sloped rear hatchback with red LED tail-lights stretching from one flank to the other.

Blue-hued instruments and mood lighting can be spotted through a side window and – if we are not mistaken – through a panoramic sunroof.

Until now, Toyota’s luxury brand’s SUV flagship has been the LandCruiser-based LX upper-large SUV that, while seriously rugged and competent off road, has lacked the sophistication and on-road abilities of rival vehicles from Range Rover, BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac – not to mention new super-luxury contenders such as the Bentley Bentayga, Maserati Levante and Lamborghini Urus.

Lexus recently gave its one-size-smaller RX large SUV a pull-through, adding a seven-seat, three-row ‘L’ version that will increase the model’s appeal to families, especially in Australia where the new variant arrives in February.

So far, Lexus has provided no hints on production timing for a road-going version of the LF-1 Limitless.

However, Lexus has a habit of turning up one year later with a production version of most concepts it shows.

We would be betting that the new SUV will some share styling cues and powertrains with the LC sports coupe, meaning a big, black spindle grille and choice of 3.5-litre V6 petrol-electric hybrid or 5.0-litre petrol V8 with 10-speed automatic transmission.

Lexus might even use the vehicle to step into plug-in hybrid or full-electric technology if it deems its primary market – the United States – is ready for such technology.

And we would also be betting that Toyota president and Lexus “master driver” Akio Toyoda will be paying keen personal attention to the project in his role as Lexus product overseer-in-chief.

Mr Toyoda has promised that Lexus models will be “never boring again” under his reign.

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