Rumors

Lexus Considers First High-Performance F Brand Crossover

Lexus F Badge

Lexus wants to be build an high-performance F brand crossover, but are still debating which direction to take — from a Motor1 interview with Cooper Ericksen, vice president for product planning and strategy at Lexus USA:

While Chika Kako, executive vice president and chief engineer to the Lexus UX, previously acknowledged the brand’s smallest crossover “has potential” to join the F family as a high-horsepower gasoline-electric hybrid, Ericksen stated that Lexus continues to evaluate what an F crossover or SUV might emphasize.

“[What] we’re currently trying to figure out is [if] the on-road performance aspect [is] more important [for Lexus] to invest in than the off-road performance.”

Based on the current lineup, this position makes sense — the UX, NX, and RX are all built on FWD platforms, and would struggle to deliver the performance expected from an F brand vehicle, while the truck-based GX or LX would benefit more from an off-road upgrade similar to Toyota’s TRD Pro offerings.

However, there’s an obvious choice waiting in the wings: the LF-1 Limitless Concept that debuted at last year’s Detroit Auto Show may not be confirmed for production just yet, but it’s a slam dunk for the first F brand crossover with its expected rear-wheel drive platform.

Lexus LF-1 Limitless

(Interestingly enough, Lexus Enthusiast readers voted the LF-1 Limitless as their choice for the first F brand crossover in a recent poll, with 38% of votes. The RX was second at 24%.)

Comments
  • krew
  • September 19, 2018
I know this is somewhat confusing, but please cast your votes on the front page story.
I voted for NXF but honestly any of them and like we are so over due on this!!! Every single one should! NX had the original aggressive SUV sporty look and I love my wife’s NX but man it needs more power to go with the look!
My vote would be NX F or LF-1... F. Not sure which would come first based on timing. I voted for LF-1 in the poll.

If the new Rav4 is any indication, NX moving to TNGA-K with DTV AWD opens up a lot of possibilities. That's a nice sized vehicle that would be a lot of fun to drive in theory.
Gecko
My vote would be NX F or LF-1... F. Not sure which would come first based on timing. I voted for LF-1 in the poll.

If the new Rav4 is any indication, NX moving to TNGA-K with DTV AWD opens up a lot of possibilities. That's a nice sized vehicle that would be a lot of fun to drive in theory.
sure, i agree... but I voted for UX.

However, if UX comes with that new 1.6l 3cly turbo and 250ps, I will like it a lot... does not have to be F at all... maybe they will make another moniker for vehicles not there yet.
  • Joe
    Joe
  • September 19, 2018
I voted for an NX F (Remember the will.i.am version?)

[​IMG]


But... if I put myself with my two feet on the ground again, I think it will never happen. Not even in the next generation... :confused:
Honestly, personally I dont care about F. It makes no sense for me here in EU.

But, I do want them to offer sportier versions with larger engines... so like UX F-Sport but 300h instead of 250h, or NX500/500h, etc.

They seem to be going this way, at least with Toyota brand.
With the market shift to SUVs, F is going to need to take on some extra ground clearance and come up with a performance AWD system. We have GLC 43, GLE 43, GLC 63, GLE 63, Macan turbo, Macan GTS, Cayenne turbo, Cayenne GTS, SQ5, X3 M, X5 M, X4 M, X6 M, SQ7, etc. etc.

Even Acura is on the verge of TT V6 with SH-AWD in MDX and other vehicles.

This is simply the future, so Lexus needs to have a plan sooner rather than later.

Good news is with TNGA philosophy and some of their new hardware, I think they can do this without much problem.

Based on what we know, Dynamic Torque Vectoring AWD is actually superior to the AWD system Lexus uses in new LS 500, so that bodes well for the future of things like NX, RX and ES.
NX makes the most business sense, purely based on its price point.
spwolf
Honestly, personally I dont care about F. It makes no sense for me here in EU.

But, I do want them to offer sportier versions with larger engines... so like UX F-Sport but 300h instead of 250h, or NX500/500h, etc.

They seem to be going this way, at least with Toyota brand.
The most powerful UX in the near future could be the UX EV. Nice thing about EV is that they accelerate fast because of the torque curve, stop fast because of kinetic energy recovery, corner fast because of high body rigidity and low CoG, and these all come naturally with a big battery pack. While I don't think a EV would qualify as an F model, it will certainly fill the performance niche if the platform does not allow a full-fledged F model.

That being said, the UX EV is likely to be identical to the C-HR EV. Preliminary specs are a 60 kWh pack (with industry trailing stats, sigh) mated to a 143 kW motor. The new motor is their most advanced model ever developed and will be the workhorse for Toyota EVs in the near future. 143 kW won't make the UX a rocket but in urban traffic it will be quite a beast.
R
  • R
    RAL
  • September 19, 2018
I voted for the LF-1 Limitless, but a redesigned NX F would not be so far in the distant future.
ssun30
The most powerful UX in the near future could be the UX EV. Nice thing about EV is that they accelerate fast because of the torque curve, stop fast because of kinetic energy recovery, corner fast because of high body rigidity and low CoG, and these all come naturally with a big battery pack. While I don't think a EV would qualify as an F model, it will certainly fill the performance niche if the platform does not allow a full-fledged F model.

That being said, the UX EV is likely to be identical to the C-HR EV. Preliminary specs are a 60 kWh pack (with industry trailing stats, sigh) mated to a 143 kW motor. The new motor is their most advanced model ever developed and will be the workhorse for Toyota EVs in the near future. 143 kW won't make the UX a rocket but in urban traffic it will be quite a beast.
too bad i have nowhere to charge that EV :)

As to the 60kwh and 143kw, seems like it is becoming standard for small cars. Should be under 7s to 100? But it depends on how it is tuned.
I voted for NX, as well. It just seems like the right-sized platform for a performance version. The RX is far too large, and the UX is probably too small to accommodate a really beefy powertrain. LF seems like a great option, but it's not out yet.

LX and GX are their own special can of worms. The BOF SUVs would naturally lead themselves to a hardcore offroad performance package, similar to the TRD Pro trucks in Toyota's lineup. However, I think that an "onroad" performance version would suit the Lexus brand better, even though that's not really what the chassis was designed for. I dunno. I can't think of anyone in the US who would actually take a $100,000+ luxury SUV tearing through the hills, forests, and mud.
spwolf
too bad i have nowhere to charge that EV :)

As to the 60kwh and 143kw, seems like it is becoming standard for small cars. Should be under 7s to 100? But it depends on how it is tuned.
If the 'industry trailing' part was true the pack itself is likely to weigh 500kg which will push the UX to probably 1,800kg. That combined with about 190hp will likely result in a low-8s acceleration. So yeah, it won't be that much faster than a UX250h. But the difference in launch and overtaking should be quite significant.
I voted RX because it is the most populated performance SUV segment with the X5 M, GLE63, Cayenne Turbo, Trackhawk, etc. A smash debut in this segment would be good if it impresses because it is the segment with the most competitors.

But let's not forget, Lexus must first develop a proper AWD system that is performance worthy and capable of variable power ratios to the front and back, like 4MATIC, xDrive and Quattro from competitors. Without a system like this, Lexus cannot make a performance SUV with the current front-biased AWD systems in their crossovers.
First off, I'm personally taking Chika Kako's denials of a UX F with a grain of salt. After all, the IS F was something of a renegade, skunkworks effort on a limited budget led by chief engineer Yukihiko Yaguchi. Or maybe it's just my fantasy of a UX F with a 2.4-2.5-liter turbo engine coupled with an iMT (Intelligent Manual Transmission) getting the better of me.

krew
Outside of the UX, any F brand crossover would need to be a next-generation model.
This is a given, so perhaps it would be helpful to lay out the launch schedule of Lexus' next-gen crossovers and SUVs, based on information previously posted on our forums by Carmaker1:

3rd/4th quarter 2020 (2021 Model Year)
NX
LF-1 Limitless production version (possibly badged LQ or LM)
LX

Late 2021 (2022 Model Year)
RX

2023 Model Year
GX

Bottom line: Although I'd say UX, NX and LF1/LM/LQ have a roughly equal chance of being the first F crossover, if I had to choose only one, It'd be LF-1 Production Model.
  • krew
  • September 20, 2018
Early results have the LF-1 far ahead of everything else, with 40% of votes. This is a testament to how well-informed Lexus enthusiasts are, as the LF-1 is the most likely choice.

In my mind, though, the UX is the single best opportunity so far to introduce a F-brand crossover -- it's the first in the lineup to be riding on a new TGNA platform, reviews indicate that the driving dynamics have potential, and most importantly, the engine choices are anemic and the UX has debuted to little enthusiasm. There's also something charming about a tiny vehicle with big horsepower (see the new Mercedes AMG A-Class as an example).

TheNerdyPotato
LX and GX are their own special can of worms. The BOF SUVs would naturally lead themselves to a hardcore offroad performance package, similar to the TRD Pro trucks in Toyota's lineup. However, I think that an "onroad" performance version would suit the Lexus brand better, even though that's not really what the chassis was designed for. I dunno. I can't think of anyone in the US who would actually take a $100,000+ luxury SUV tearing through the hills, forests, and mud.
This is an interesting take, especially when I bet 50% of TRD Pro owners don't take their vehicles off-road either. TRD Pro is pretty amazing even as an appearance package, though I imagine that sounds sacrilegious to some. One issue is the spindle grille -- the bottom half of the LX front-end would be ripped off in no time at all.
NX for sure. It would be great to have something go against the X3 M40i.
  • GSCT
  • September 20, 2018
krew
Early results have the LF-1 far ahead of everything else, with 40% of votes. This is a testament to how well-informed Lexus enthusiasts are, as the LF-1 is the most likely choice.
I voted for the LF-1 thinking Lexus could introduce something as good as (or better than) the new ultra luxury/performance crossovers like those from Maserati and Lamborghini etc. at a much lower price. IMO it would be a great follow up to an LC F!
GSCT
I voted for the LF-1 thinking Lexus could introduce something as good as (or better than) the new ultra luxury/performance crossovers like those from Maserati and Lamborghini etc. at a much lower price. IMO it would be a great follow up to an LC F!
LF-1 has a real chance... just like LC and LS now.
I agree with Joaquin that most likely the first F SUV/CUV will be the LF-1 (LQ F or LF F).

Lexus is behind with performance SUV's/CUV's. BMW has the X4 M, X5 M, X6 M. Mercedes has the GLA 43, GLC 43/63, GLE 43/63 and GLS 63 and G 63/65. Audi has the SQ5 and SQ7.

Lexus please bring in performance SUV's and CUV's soon...

LQ F
LX F
GX F
NX F
put my vote in on the NX as its small but not too small, has good aerodynamics, and already looks aggressive, however it would need to be RWD and it would be interesting to see how they could shoehorn a v8 under the hood....
C
With the adoption of F models in the RWD-platform only vehicles, it would have to be the LF-1 Limitless.
Rob_LexusTech
put my vote in on the NX as its small but not too small, has good aerodynamics, and already looks aggressive, however it would need to be RWD and it would be interesting to see how they could shoehorn a v8 under the hood....
A would be NX F wouldn't necessarily need a V8. It's competitors would be the X4 M which has a TT I6 with 355 hp, the GLC 43 has a TT V6 with 362 hp but the GLC 63 has a TT V8 with 503 hp (which is awesome). Lexus could stuff the would be NX F with the V35A-FTS motor which is a TT V6 with 415 hp but Lexus would have to make the NX F rear wheel drive/all wheel drive which is something Lexus probably would not do.

So this begs the question, will Lexus make performance SUV's/CUV's? Lexus could create a new segment of rear wheel drive CUV's starting out with the LQ F (flagship performance CUV), then bring in a mid-level performance CUV such as the GQ F then finally entry level performance CUV such as the RQ F...

With that said, all the other Lexus CUV's (UX, NX & RX) and SUV's (GX & LX) can stay the way they are.
ThePenguin
NX for sure. It would be great to have something go against the X3 M40i.
X3 and X4 M coming soon:
Trexus
A would be NX F wouldn't necessarily need a V8. It's competitors would be the X4 M which has a TT I6 with 355 hp, the GLC 43 has a TT V6 with 362 hp but the GLC 63 has a TT V8 with 503 hp (which is awesome). Lexus could stuff the would be NX F with the V35A-FTS motor which is a TT V6 with 415 hp but Lexus would have to make the NX F rear wheel drive/all wheel drive which is something Lexus probably would not do.

So this begs the question, will Lexus make performance SUV's/CUV's? Lexus could create a new segment of rear wheel drive CUV's starting out with the LQ F (flagship performance CUV), then bring in a mid-level performance CUV such as the GQ F then finally entry level performance CUV such as the RQ F...

With that said, all the other Lexus CUV's (UX, NX & RX) and SUV's (GX & LX) can stay the way they are.
If the regular GR V6 can be mounted either longitudinally in RWD-centric platforms or transversely in FWD-centric ones, the same would certainly apply to the V35A-FTS. In other words, a proper NX F could be developed from the GA-K FWD platform as opposed to using a cut-down GA-L or GA-N RWD one (though that would certainly be nice). Granted, a new, more performance-oriented AWD system would have to be evolved, one that would be Acura-esque, and an NX F could also look to Audi's not-for-North America RS Q3 (the RS 3 / TT RS transverse powertrain stuffed into their corresponding crossover) for inspiration.
LF-1 production model F will be amazing start and really Lexus needs to Fs all it's SUVs
"would be NX F wouldn't necessarily need a V8".

yes. yes it would.
Rob_LexusTech
"would be NX F wouldn't necessarily need a V8".

yes. yes it would.
High-strung Yamaha tuned small displacement V8? A tater can dream, haha. I now find myself considering buying an old IS wagon and mounting a UR under the hood.
one thing to pay attention to is all this news about AWD in lexus line up now. I think they might be heading in this direction. The Lexus SUV has the look already they just need to introduce the system. the 3.5TT in an RX350 AWD should be fun.
LQ F makes the most sense to me, based on the date of launch and the targeted segment. A longitudinal RWD monocoque crossover. An LX F comes second to that, when one of the performance SUVs BOF for the street, was the G55 AMG in 1998. I did own a 2009 MY version of that for a brief period, but the LX could certainly go head to head with its spiritual successor in the G63.

An NX F isn't as pressing, not even being a flagship offering. I would take an RX F before that. It will be interesting to see how both NX and RAV-4 are leveraged on GA-K together. Will the RX become 7-seater only or a large 5-seater plus, by means of a discount alternative to the 4-seater LQ?

F models can be launched parallel to new generation models, as seen with the RC-F. So I wouldn't worry about staggered releases in some cases.

C
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