Sky's the Limit: Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept in Detroit

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
sky s the limit lexus lf 1 limitless concept in detroit

In years past, flagships were often the largest and snazziest sedan a company had to offer. With consumer tastes seemingly permanently shifted to crossovers and SUVs, that standard is more frequently being borne by those machines.

Lexus has latched on to this, debuting its Limitless Concept today in Detroit. Not yet a production model, the company nevertheless says it has “the potential to shape the future of a flagship luxury crossover for Lexus.”

It looks like the big LS sedan might soon have to share its flagship crown.

The LF-1 was created at CALTY Design Research in California. Its design language is said to be rooted in a design concept Lexus calls “molten katana,” which fuses the organic shapes of liquid metal with the sharp edges of a traditional Japanese sword. That sure is a lot of marketing speak, but the LF-1 may well be a harbinger of future Lexus styling direction.

And you thought the current Lexus spindle grille was bold.

“This is our vision for a new kind of flagship vehicle that embraces crossover capability without giving up the performance and luxury delivered by today’s top sedans,” said Kevin Hunter, president, CALTY Design Research. “The LF-1 Limitless concept incorporates imaginative technology while creating a strong emotional connection by improving the human experience for the driver and passengers.”

There are a lot of details here that will likely never make it past the accounting department, such as those gonzo rims. I do hope the blade-style door handles appear, as they would be an awesome styling cue that hopefully permeates through the rest of the lineup. I got excited when the blurb mentioned a rear “split spoiler,” but sadly it is not in the visage of the departed Merkur XR4Ti.

Interestingly, all powertrain controls are mounted on the steering wheel. Paddles mounted to the steering wheel control the acceleration for sporty driving while buttons on the lower section of the steering wheel engage options like park and reverse. Such an approach certainly frees up center console space, but anyone who feels that steering wheels are currently overloaded with buttons should look away now.

It’s unclear whether the LF-1, if it were to make production, would replace something currently being sold in Lexus showrooms, or if it would be an addition. The LX currently sits atop the Lexus SUV heap, but its reason for being is far different than a long-n-low crossover.

Powertrain details remain a mystery, but Lexus has deemed us worthy to know the LF-1’s size. At 197.4 inches in length and 78.2 inches in width, it is a couple of inches longer and nearly four inches wider than the current RX. It stands 4.5 inches lower than the RX, at 63.2 inches. This neatly splits the difference between the RX crossover and the flagship LS sedan.

There’s that word again.

[Images: Lexus ; © 2018 Bozi Tatarevic/TTAC]

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  • Dilrod Dilrod on Jan 17, 2018

    Why is it squinting?

  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on Feb 01, 2018

    This thing looks like it belongs in that Transformers episode where Cobra Commander turns Hot Rod, Arcee, Ultra Magnus, and Springer into people.

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion:
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?