It’s fair to say Lexus know a thing or two about making SUVs, particularly at the premium end of the spectrum. The original Lexus RX of the 1998 vintage was one of the world’s first fully fledged luxury SUVs and 15 years down the line the market for these mobile hotel lobbies has become a major chunk of the motoring industry pie. The latest incarnation is the understated and underrated RX 450h, an SUV that showcases Lexus’s class leading hybrid technology in a subtle and discreet package. However, in preparation for the 2013 Frankfurt motor show, the Japanese firm has conjured up something that is a little more of an assault on the senses.
Aimed at exploring the potential for a future addition the line-up, the new Lexus LF-NX is a mid-size hybrid crossover concept. In terms of appearance, think along the lines of smaller RX that has just realised it has lost its winning lottery ticket. This is a very, very angry looking machine. The numerous lines and angles are typified by the manic glare of the front headlamps, positioned at the end of a thin but deep furrow stretching back beyond the wing mirrors. The entire front end is dominated by Lexus’s signature new generation spindle grille, already previewed on the LF-LC concept. The sharp tick-shaped design of the daytime running lights beneath the front headlamps is taken from the new Lexus IS and accentuates the car’s aggressive persona. Further back the theme continues with dramatically raking wheel arches and the chiselled rear headlamps and tailgate.
Inside, the LF-NX also differs sharply from the luxurious feel of previous Lexus SUVs. The yellow and black leather upholstery and high-tech dashboard and centre console give as strong a hint as any that this crossover is not geared towards the softly-softly approach. Power comes from a new variation of Lexus’s full hybrid system, tuned for SUV performance.