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Auto Show : 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show

Lexus LF-NX: Frankfurt Auto Show

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author photo by Josh Sadlier

What Is It?

Remember when Lexus was primarily known for conservative styling? The Lexus LF-NX concept makes that long-running era feel like a distant memory. Unveiled at this year's Frankfurt Auto Show, the LF-NX is all angles and attitude -- a crossover SUV for those who couldn't care less about conventions.

But if you look at Lexus' showroom lineup these days, the LF-NX is actually an extension -- some might say a caricature -- of the brand's current L-finesse design language. It has the now-familiar spindle grille treatment in front, for example, while the jagged, angular taillights aren't unlike those of the new IS sedan. As for the creased, edgy sheet metal, see also the ultra exclusive, equally aggressive LF-A sports car. We wouldn't say the LF-NX is unmistakably a Lexus, but there's definitely some family resemblance going on.

Inside, the Lexus LF-NX is unmistakably, well, a concept car, sporting an adventurous hologram-like blue center stack that's more sci-fi than anything else. But the hybrid power system under the hood is fully production-ready, as it utilizes Toyota's proven team of a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine and a torque-rich electric motor. Also present is Lexus' familiar Remote Touch Interface infotainment system, albeit disguised by the sci-fi dashboard.

Will They Ever Sell It?

Not a chance, not with that interior. But the exterior might be closer to reality than you think. We project that a toned-down version of the LF-NX will hit Lexus showrooms in the not-too-distant future, but the styling will likely remain controversial in order to attract a younger crowd than the larger, more sedate RX.

Why It's Important

The LF-NX's fairly compact dimensions make it a natural fit in the Lexus lineup, which presently doesn't offer a direct rival to smaller luxury crossovers such as the BMW X1 and the upcoming Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class. There's definitely an opening in this segment for an avant-garde option. The question is whether the LF-NX's counterpart from Infiniti, the similarly edgy Q30 concept, will make it to production first.

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Lexus LF-NX: Frankfurt Auto Show