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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2 of 20 comments
  • 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.

  • Bullnuke It may be awhile before these show up on US shores. The MV Fremantle Highway has just started demo/reconstruction in Rotterdam after the large fire when transporting its last shipment of electric Porsche products.
  • Fie on Fiasler Big, fast and thirsty does not equal good. True luxury is not cobbled together by the UAW.
  • Inside Looking Out I see it as gladiator races - only one survives in virtual world.
  • Crown They need to put the EcoDiesel back in the Grand Cherokee. I have a 2018 and it has been the most reliable vehicle I ever owned. 69,000 miles and only needed tires, and regular oil and fuel filter changes.
  • El scotto Y'all are overthinking this. Find some young hard-charging DA seeking the TV limelight to lock this kid up. Heck, have John Boehner come up from Cincy to help the young DA get his political career going. Better yet, have the young DA spin this as hard as he or she can; I'm the candidate for Law and Order, I defied our go-easy office and leadership to get this identified criminal locked up. Oh this could be spun more than a hyper active kid's top.Now I'd do some consulting work for Little Kings Original Cream Ale and Skyline Chili.