2013 Lexus LF-NX Concept
2013 Lexus LF-NX Concept. Click image to enlarge

Preview by Justin Pritchard, photos courtesy Lexus

Lexus recently unveiled a chiseled new concept at the Frankfurt Auto Show that hints, perhaps strongly, at a possible compact crossover that’ll join their lineup in the future.

The hypothetical model will take a place beneath the currently available RX in Lexus’s lineup, and compete with machinery like the Mercedes GLA, BMW X1 and Audi Q3 if and when it comes to market.

The so-called ‘urban-centric’ cute ute concept boasted a deeply sculpted new take on the striking Lexus L-Finesse design language with a sophisticated and flowing array of character lines slashing away at the bodywork. The front of the serrated-looking LF-NX caps things off with the new Lexus trademark ‘spindle’ grille and numerous exaggerated slits, vents and intersecting edges – most of which aren’t likely to make it into production.

The thin LED headlights and super-expressive taillights may not wind up translated directly to the production version of the concept either – though Lexus designers mention spending plenty of time creating the concept’s ‘lighting signature’. Numerous showgoers pointed out the high-mounted taillamps and upward-pinching rear character line that nod towards the Lexus LFA supercar in appearance.

Others were keen to point out interesting street-smart details, like the pair of integrated hood vents and unique, split-spoke wheels – both working towards a sense of confident athleticism. A tall stance, muscular overall stature and exposed plastic wheel arches hint at the machine’s capability, while integrated chrome trim discreetly dials up the LF-NX’s character as both jagged and sophisticated.

2013 Lexus LF-NX Concept2013 Lexus LF-NX Concept2013 Lexus LF-NX Concept
2013 Lexus LF-NX Concept. Click image to enlarge

Mark Templin, Executive Vice President of Lexus International, commented “We intend to take advantage of the growing compact crossover SUV segment and expand our SUV lineup in the future. 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.”

Some slick design touches on board the LF-NX gathered plenty of attention, too. Stark in contrast to the spiky-looking body, interior stylists created a concept cabin that’s instantly clean, smooth and high-tech in appearance, all at once.

Cautious colour and material contrast set the stage for what might become the next-generation Lexus central command interface – which features a glass ‘waterfall’ touchscreen console flowing from the top of the dash right down to the gear shifter. Plastic grooves on the upper portion of the display allow for easy vertical finger-sliding to control things like climate fan speed, stereo volume and more. Further, a glowing, naked touch-panel falls to the driver’s fingertips just behind the shifter for easy access to other functions.

Designers say the new interface logically assigns common functions to both upper and lower operational zones—a format Lexus has been perfecting for years.

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2013 Lexus LF-NX Concept

Another glass touch console is mounted to the middle of the ceiling above the front seats. And between those front seats, the centre console flows to the rear of the cabin, bisecting the rear perches for a four-seater layout. For the driver, a paddle-shift-equipped steering wheel sits just ahead of an ice-blue-tinted instrument cluster consisting of two large dials flanking a display screen.

What’s under the hood? According to Lexus officials, nothing incredibly surprising. The LF-NX concept rolled onto the show floor propelled by a full hybrid powertrain that targets the class-leading CO2 emissions demanded by today’s enviro-savvy shopper. Specifically, it’s a 2.5L four-cylinder Atkinson cycle gasoline engine teamed up with a ‘powerful’ electric drive motor. The LF-NX is capable of low-speed, electric-only operation, though Lexus says engineers have tuned the entire system to deliver power output on par with conventionally powered rivals.

No further details were available at the time of writing—though it seems premium compact crossover shoppers can start getting excited for a new entry from Lexus.

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