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Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept: Detroit Auto Show

What Is It?

Concept vehicles are a what-if opportunity for designers and engineers to dream big. The Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept is no different. It’s a glimpse at what Lexus envisions as a crossover flagship. With lines penned at Toyota’s CALTY Design Research in California, the LF-1 is elegant, as well as athletic in its appearance.

Lexus isn’t painting itself into a corner with the Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept. Looking down the road toward 2025 and beyond, it sees an LF-1 powered by a fuel cell, plug-in hybrid, all-electric or, gasp, a gasoline engine. Autonomous technology takes center stage, too. It features a Chauffeur mode, allowing hands-free driving through by-wire steering, braking acceleration, lights and signals.

If a human decides to take command, all powertrain controls are steering-wheel-mounted, including Park and Reverse gears, as well as acceleration. A 4-dimensional navigation system acts as a concierge, making suggestions for pit stops, restaurants and hotels along the route.

Inside, many of the traditional analog controls have been replaced with motion-activated controls. The spacious front-seat area is devoid of clutter. Rear-seat passengers enjoy the same seats as those up front, each with a dedicated individual display for controlling climate and entertainment choices.

Will They Ever Sell It?

Lexus pioneered the luxury crossover with the RX 300 decades ago. Chances are it will produce and retail the LF-1 Limitless Concept in one form or another. How much of the self-driving tech winds up on the consumer model will depend on when the LF-1 comes to market. Same for the powertrain. But we can expect to see a flagship crossover from Lexus in the future.

Why It’s Important

That Lexus is leaving the powertrain question unanswered for the LF-1 indicates it’s as uncertain as the rest of us about exactly what sort of fuel will be powering our vehicles 5-10 years down the road. On the other hand, its dedication to self-driving technology seems to indicate the powers that be at Toyota and Lexus view driverless vehicles as a sure bet in the future. And, because they have wrapped those two basic concepts in a big crossover, Lexus must believe that the popularity of the crossover isn’t going to wane anytime soon.

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