Frankfurt 2013: Lexus LF-NX Crossover Hybrid Concept

By John Beltz Snyder

September 16, 2013

After recently teasing the LF-NX prior to its debut, Lexus has officially unveiled the crossover hybrid concept.
The LF-NX is a compact, urban CUV that would slot below the RX in the Lexus lineup. This concept explores the idea of what could fill the gap in a segment that as been expanding particularly as people look for more city-friendly, efficient functional vehicles.
This particular concept takes liberties with Lexus’s recent styling changes, and accentuates the bold, aggressive designs we’ve been beginning to see. Perhaps most prominent is the exaggerated spindle grille in the front. The LF-NX also features many sharp angles, and almost appears to have been hewn from stone than shaped from sheet metal.
The interior of the LF-NX concept echoes the intense exterior design. It features a driver-focused cockpit surrounded in a sculpted, ergonomic environment. A Remote Touch Interface uses a touchpad and tracer display for interacting with the infotainment system.
Previously, Lexus was scant with powertrain details. With the Frankfurt debut, we now know that the LF-NX is powered by a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder motor coupled to an electric motor, and that it can operate under electric power alone at low speeds. No other details, so, yeah, still scant on the information. If it’s no different than what Lexus is already using, that probably means 200 combined horsepower going to the wheels via CVT, similar to the ES300h. According to Lexus, though, this powertrain is “tuned for SUV performance,” so there may be some differences there.
It seems this concept is less about displaying specific technologies than studying design, and gauging interest in the segment. See what you think of it in the attached galleries, or you can try to read between the lines for more information in the press release, below.
  • Highly efficient full hybrid powertrain with outstanding fuel consumption and low emissions
  • Distinctive, youthful and sculpted styling
FRANKFURT, Germany, Sept. 10, 2013 – Lexus’ latest concept, the LF-NX compact crossover, will be on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA). The LF-NX concept focuses on the growing segment of smaller, more urban-centric compact premium crossovers. 

Measuring 182.7 inches long with a 106.3-inch wheelbase, this crossover concept is smaller than the popular RX sport utility vehicle (SUV) that pioneered the premium crossover segment in 1998.

“We intend to take advantage of the growing compact crossover SUV segment and expand our SUV line-up in the future,” said Mark Templin, executive vice president, Lexus International. “The new LF -NX concept explores the potential for a compact crossover within the Lexus model range. This concept is youthful, confident and innovative. It features a new bold look that gives an insight into the future evolution of the Lexus L-finesse design language.”
Exterior Design
The LF-NX concept’s bold, striking and innovative exterior brings more distinctive and sculpted styling to the premium compact crossover segment.

The front of the new concept is dominated by a strong interpretation of the Lexus spindle grille. Both the chrome trim and grille mesh pattern increase in size as the grille widens through the lower bumper area, to accentuate the concept’s wide front track and powerful stance.

The upper edges of the grille generate powerful lines which define the hood edges, while the base is underscored by a chrome-finished underbody panel which expresses the crossover concept’s off-road credentials.

Extremely expressive, signature front lighting features three diamond-shaped LED headlamps and the independent Daytime Running Lights (DRL) first seen on the new IS sedan. The DRLs are underscored by full-length LED strip turn signal lamps.

The lower bumper flows away from the spindle grille edges into vertical air intakes, before projecting forward into a unique corner detail. This separates the bumper from the front fender with an aggressive vertical cut detail that narrows to a point beneath the headlamp clusters.

Both front and rear fenders are formed by a series of muscular, concave and convex curves. The wheel arches incorporate black painted trim, hinting at the protective finish which typifies an urban crossover. The door sills generate a more aggressive, angular interpretation of the rising crease line first seen on the LF-CC concept.

Above the belt line, the Lexus profile combines with a steeply raked tailgate and integral spoiler to create the sweeping silhouette of an athletic coupe.

The rear of the LF-NX is dominated by highly articulated lamp clusters which create an instantly identifiable light signature. They extend the full depth of the bumper, creating a sharp, aerodynamic trailing edge detail.

The classic Lexus ‘L’ shape of the lamp itself is scored strongly into the rear bodywork, creating an echo of the front spindle grille form.

The wide lower bumper has been deliberately detailed without a visible exhaust system, in recognition of the full hybrid powertrain’s environmentally–friendly credentials.

The Lexus LF-NX concept is finished in a new Brushed Metal Silver exterior color which gives the striking impression that the bodyshell has been carved from a single piece of solid metal.
Interior Design
In a continuation of the ‘Human Oriented’ L-finesse design concept realized in both the LFA and new IS, the interior mirrors the LF-NX’s highly sculpted exterior styling. It features bold, powerful forms which create a driver-focused cockpit within an ergonomically ideal environment.

The center console extends the full length of the cabin to bisect the rear seats. The framework’s bright, brushed metal finish has also been applied to the driver’s instrument meters, the steering wheel, the seat structure and the overhead console.

Reinforcing the LF-NX concept’s premium SUV credentials, the strength and refinement of this carved metal surfacing is complemented throughout the cabin by black and Sunrise Yellow leather upholstery with contrast stitching, and sophisticated blue instrument and switchgear lighting.

Intuitive interaction with the vehicle’s switchgear and instrumentation is at the heart of Lexus interior design. The LF-NX cabin features the ideal, upper display zone and lower operation zone dashboard format perfected over successive Lexus generations.

The upper display zone features an exclusive driver’s instrument meter design.

The lower operation zone allows access to a new generation of touch-sensitive, electrostatic switches on door trim, and the new Lexus Remote Touch Interface (RTI). The RTI combines a touch tracer display with a new touch pad design for smooth and intuitive use, and an adjustable arm rest support comfort.
The LF-NX concept is equipped with a full hybrid powertrain tuned for SUV performance.

The full hybrid drive system combines a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder Atkinson cycle gas engine with a powerful electric motor. At lower speeds, the LF-NX can operate under electric motor power alone.

The LF-NX’s highly efficient full hybrid powertrain targets performance on par with conventionally powered rivals, while returning outstanding fuel consumption and low emissions.