2013 Frankfurt: Lexus LF-NX Concept First Look
Hybrid Crossover Concept Previews Sub-RX SUV
While some other luxury brands have been tentative in their offering of SUVs, offering only one or two models, crossovers are the bread and butter of the brand, with the Lexus RX consistently the brand's best-selling model for most of the past decade. For those seeking larger and more sumptuous models, Lexus also offers the GX and LX models. But until now, there has not been a model below the RX to entice first-time luxury buyers into a Lexus showroom. But that may be about to change. The Lexus LF-NX concept signals the brand's intention to offer a crossover model below the RX in size and price to offer shoppers new to the luxury segment another reason to visit a Lexus showroom.
Dimensionally, the LF-NX splits the difference between the current Lexus RX and Toyota RAV4. Its overall length of 182.7 inches is about 5 inches shorter than an RX, and just under 3 inches longer than a RAV4. Its wheelbase of 106.3 inches is 1.6 inches shorter than an RX and 1.6 inches longer than the RAV4's. Powering the concept is a 2.5-liter I-4 hybrid powertrain, a familiar combination used in the Avalon, Lexus ES hybrid, and Camry Hybrid.
Stylistically, the LF-NX follows the pattern established by the restyled 2014 IS sedan, with a sharper edge to the Lexus L-Finesse design language. The signature Lexus "spindle" grille in particular gets a dramatically large opening, with a prominent lower opening that tapers outward, surrounded by a brushed metal opening. The LED driving light strips seen on the IS also make an appearance here, separated from the low-profile LED headlights.
The edginess of the LF-NX's design is most apparent around the door area, with a sharply sculpted accent running from the front to rear door, as well as an angular rear fender flare. The prominent horizontal edge housing the front running lights also forms the leading edge of the front fender line, which tapers back into the top front of door. Conspicuously absent from the exterior styling of the LF-NX is any visible exhaust pipe, a deliberate omission to accentuate the concept's green credentials.
The interior of the LF-NX is just as edgy as the exterior, with contrasting yellow and black leather surfaces, and a center console with alternating straked and mesh detailing. Similar to Audi's MMI interface, the LF-NX features what Lexus calls a "Remote Touch Interface" with a tracer display at the front edge of the center armrest for comfortable, intuitive use. Interior accent lighting is a cool and trendy blue. As also seems to be the show car trend, the LF-NX has a full-length center console, making it a four-seater.
Rumors of an entry-level Lexus crossover below the RX have been simmering for some time. The appearance of the LF-NX on the show circuit lends additional credibility to the brand's intention of further broadening its crossover lineup. Expect to see a production-intent version of the LF-NX sometime in calendar 2014 or 2015, for possible introduction as a 2016 model.