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Lexus has a shiny new flagship sedan in the fifth-gen LS, and a flagship coupe in the striking LC. But the Japanese automaker knows people are crazy about SUVs and crossovers — as well it should, given the mint it has made selling the RX over the past two decades. The Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept, then, is a glance at what a flagship crossover could look like, and it’s likely a hint at how Lexuses of all shapes and sizes will look in the coming years.

The fastback-ish four-door, which just debuted at the 2018 Detroit auto show, definitely resembles the current Lexus lineup right down to that spindle grille (we’re sure you’ll tell us how you really feel about that in the comments). But there are differences: Interestingly, the concept has ditched the RX’s “floating roof” design; with a well-defined rear pillar, it’s more like the NX. Its lines flow more cleanly from front to back, reminding us more than a little of the Mazda CX-9.

Lexus specifically says that the LF-1 is “more sports car than station wagon.” We disagree — this looks much more like a wagon than any sort of sports car. But we’re not complaining. We love station wagons.

2018 Infiniti Q Inspiration concept

Lexus LF-1 overhead view

Seating for four.

The concept is 197.4 inches long (on a 117.1-inch wheelbase), 78.2 inches wide and 63.2 inches tall. That makes it about 5 inches longer than the current RX, but only about a half-inch longer than the new three-row RX 350L. Its footprint, then, isn’t all that large — but the difference here is that all of the LF-1’s interior space is given over to just four seats; personal luxury, rather than space for the kids and their gear and a few of their friends, is the goal here.

The mission is complimented by the onboard tech; of course, since it’s a FutureCar, it’s got to have some kind of self-driving capability. Lexus says thing would get a conceptual Chauffeur mode — which, now that we think of it, is the coolest possible way to describe autonomous or semi-autonomous driving functions.

The automaker is vague about what the LF-1 is powered by. It could be anything, Lexus, says, which is why they put “Limitless” right there in the name. But it’s got to be futuristic. Batteries! A hydrogen fuel cell! Cold fusion! Anything is possible, apparently, even — gasp — an internal combustion engine or a hybrid system.

There’s no word on whether this car will reach production in anything resembling this form, but again, we wouldn’t be surprised if Lexus’ production vehicles end up looking more like this in the not-too-distant future. And given the popularity of crossovers, especially in the luxury space, this would be a logical and inevitable (and likely profitable) way to make a statement and round out Lexus’ design-forward lineup of range-toppers.

Lexus LF-1 rear 3-4

Lexus says this is more sports car than station wagon. But come on, this is totally a lifted station wagon.

Graham Kozak

Graham Kozak – Graham Kozak drove a 1951 Packard 200 sedan in high school because he wanted something that would be easy to find in a parking lot. He thinks all the things they’re doing with fuel injection and seatbelts these days are pretty nifty too.
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