This week, Lexus revealed the first teaser image for a new concept debuting at the Detroit Auto Show: The LF-1 Limitless crossover.
Right from the name, it’s clear this vehicle will have some significance in the Lexus lineup. This will be the first time Lexus has used a single numeric designation for one of its concepts, and it’s a #1 at that — a pretty strong signal that the LF-1 will be no ordinary debut.
And then there’s the second part, Limitless, which is defined as “without end, limit, or boundary”. Why add this to the name if it wasn’t important?
Here’s my theory: Limitless refers to the LF-1’s powertrain. Could it be full-electric, powered only by batteries? Depending on how it’s generated, electricity is an almost limitless power source. From a branding perspective, Limitless could also be a play-on-words regarding EV range anxiety.
At the same time, the reasons above could work equally as well for a new gas-electric hybrid or even a fuel cell vehicle — Limitless could refer to any multitude of things, so I’ll keep my guess to some new powertrain.
And then there’s the badge:
Lexus hybrids have always had a blue badge accent, which would suggest the LF-1 could be gas-electric. Only trouble with that theory — the fuel-cell Toyota Mirai also has a blue-tinged badge.
The press release also provided some insight, explaining that the LF-1 Limitless is “a flagship crossover that redefines the boundaries of luxury”.
Lexus has classified the LS sedan, LC coupe, and LX SUV as its flagship category, and it’s doubtful the LF-1 is a preview of the next-generation LX. Instead, this could signal plans to add a fourth flagship model to the mix. This would put the LF-1 up against the Range Rover Sport and Porsche Cayenne, a performance crossover at the upper edge of luxury. A completely new model, likely with a completely new name.
This is backed up by an easter egg included in the teaser image, hidden in the rear seat entertainment system:
The overall profile looks nothing like any existing Lexus, though it could be argued that it’s the LS nose merged with the RX rear. The long hood and short front overhang point to the LF-1 Limitless being the first Lexus rear-wheel drive crossover.
The LC & LS have started a revolution of sorts at Lexus, standing above the rest of the lineup in stature and craftsmanship — it feels like every other Lexus model needs to catch up.
Even so, the LC & LS are both cars at a time when SUVs and crossovers are straight dominating the automotive landscape. If this new concept can transfer that elevated flagship quality to a crossover, then the sky may be the only limit for the LF-1 Limitless.