Revealed: LF-1 Limitless Concept Production Plans


After numerous rumors, reported delays, several rendered photos, and plenty of head scratching, production plans for the 2018 LF-1 Limitless Concept are beginning to come into focus. Since it debuted at the 2018 North American International Auto Show, the LF-1 Limitless Concept has become something of a unicorn and risen to fame as Lexus’ most desirable concept without a production follow up. Many Lexus enthusiasts and readers have asked over the years: Where IS the production LF-1 Limitless?

At the recent Lexus Product Showcase Event in Plano, TX, we were able to get some answers about the future of the LF-1 Limitless and it’s all good news. When asking a Lexus executive about the future of the concept – and mentioning that its the #1 question we receive from Lexus enthusiasts – the response we received was: “All of our concepts mean something for production, so you’ll see what came of the LF-1 in the next 14 months.”

Note: Lexus Enthusiast Podcast Episode 16: Inside the Lexus and Toyota Product Showcase Event covers the LF-Z Electrified, LF-1 Limitless, and much more on the future of Lexus.

“14 months” is interesting because it’s also the same timeframe in which Lexus has promised a production version of the LF-Z Electrified concept. Could it be that the LF-1 Limitless and LF-Z Electrified will be merged into one production vehicle? It certainly seems so. Comparing specs of the two concepts, they are within a few mm — or inches — of each other in most dimensions: wheelbase, length, width, and more.

As we’ve discussed many times on the Lexus Enthusiast Podcast, it seems possible that Lexus’ growing SUV and CUV portfolio didn’t leave room for a direct production translation of the LF-1 Limitless concept. While many loved the design and rear-wheel drive layout, it seems the most logical way to transition the concept into a production vehicle is something closer to the execution of the battery electric LF-Z Electrified Concept.

Lexus’ CUV and SUV portfolio is about to undergo a TNGA transition much like the Toyota lineup has been experiencing since 2019, but the good news is that as seen with the second-generation NX, Lexus products will be coming with a host of upgrades over their Toyota cousins including new full-time all-wheel drive systems, powerful hybrids, torquey turbocharged powertrains, and more. These advancements likely narrowed the gap between a theoretical next-generation RX and a rear-wheel drive crossover like the LF-1 Limitless causing Lexus to rethink performance and capabilities across their lineup. We also know about the “RX 500h” trademark, hinting at an uplevel RX in addition to the larger, likely three-row TX 350 and TX 500h crossovers. Let us also not forget about the new LX that’s just around the corner, and a rumored third-generation GX SUV. With so many all-new or completely redesigned SUVs and CUVs coming soon, it seems that there was no — or very little — space left for the LF-1 Limitless concept to join the lineup as a direct translation to production.

Thinking about the future of the LF-Z Electrified concept, with midsize proportions (like “RX” denoting a midsize crossover and “RC” being a midsize coupe) and the “RZ 450e” name trademarked across the globe, our assumption is that the RZ 450e will join the Lexus lineup in August of 2022 as a 2023 model year embodying both the LF-1 Limitless and LF-Z Electrified in one vehicle. Based on Lexus’ statements about the LF-1 Limitless and LF-Z Electrified concepts coming to production in the next 14 months, it’s hard to envision any other scenario.

For some who were excited about rumors of the LF-1 Limitless coming to production with a 4.0L twin-turbo V8, or who really want a rear-wheel drive premium Lexus crossover flagship with a conventional gasoline or hybrid engine, this might not be the best news. However, after seeing the LF-Z Electrified in person, considering the market shift to battery electric vehicles, experiencing how Lexus has leveled-up the new NX and thinking about the evolution of Lexus’ lineup, this feels like the right decision at the right time. The LF-1 Limitless and LF-Z Electrified have been two of Lexus’ most well-received and popular concepts, so it’s certainly exciting to think about exactly what the RZ means for the future of Lexus, and just how great it might be.

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This is going to seem like far fetched thought but we all know people who buy the RX buy it for its soft and comfortable ride, but would Lexus ever think about switching the RX to RWD for the next generation? FWD gives the vehicle that soft and comfy ride but Lexus can make a soft and comfy ride on a RWD vehicle too
 

Gecko

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This is going to seem like far fetched thought but we all know people who buy the RX buy it for its soft and comfortable ride, but would Lexus ever think about switching the RX to RWD for the next generation? FWD gives the vehicle that soft and comfy ride but Lexus can make a soft and comfy ride on a RWD vehicle too

If you look at the new NX, it seems Lexus can elevate the performance and comfort of the RX with TNGA-K and new technologies like full-time AWD, hybrids, etc.
 
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If you look at the new NX, it seems Lexus can elevate the performance and comfort of the RX with TNGA-K and new technologies like full-time AWD, hybrids, etc.
The trend in the industry seems to be AWD everything and that's fine and all but would certain vehicles like the new NX be a more FWD bias AWD system or would there be any RWD bias AWD systems to future Lexus SUV/CUV? I guess for right now only time will tell
 

maiaramdan

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Honestly, 14 months timeline, makes me think more that the LF-1 limitless is indeed the next generation GX!
 

Gecko

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Honestly, 14 months timeline, makes me think more that the LF-1 limitless is indeed the next generation GX!

No. GX is getting an interior refresh for the 2022 model year so the J150 has at least another 2 years in its current form.
 
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No. GX is getting an interior refresh for the 2022 model year so the J150 has at least another 2 years in its current form.

But like... why though? Why spend that money on an interior redesign when you know you're going to build a brand new third generation GX in 2 years?

Doesn't this go completely against Lexus ideology on spending unnecessary money on things? I was also suspicious on the refreshed IS too but at least that is more believable because that refresh should last ~4 years rather than 2.

Lexus really confuses me sometimes. But you know what, if this is their new direction, to constantly improve their cars, then go for it. Just never ever go back to the years in the late 2000's early 2010's (the LFA was great though).

As an aside though, if this is going to get a major refresh including interior technology, then the last 2 years of the 2nd generation chassis will be so insanely valuable in the future. Old bones, but fresh tech on the inside. Perfect for that niche cult of buyers that adore the GX.
 

ssun30

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A lot of the interior refresh work had already been done in the 2016 LCP refresh. As I said the LCP J150 is still quite modern so another two years is not a problem at all.

Lexus probably thought the GX would be discontinued after this generation so a major refresh was unnecessary, but sales figures said otherwise. So they changed their minds about cancelling the model.
 

Levi

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The life of the GX depends on the life of the Prado, which is related to Hilux and its wagon variant Fortuner. With the Fortuner getting more upscale, the Prado will also have to go upscale, but then it gets closer to Landcruiser territory.

I think the next gen Hilux will be upscaled to below Landcruiser, so will the Fortuner. But what about Prado? Also, the new Landcruiser lost its split gate. Why would not the Prado lose its swing gate? At this point a Fortuner is just that, Toyota's new BOF SUV. As with Hilux, expect a TRD/GR version.

Lexus is rumored to work on a more off-road oriented SUV, it could be Fortuner based, or even 4 Runner if the GX is a NA model only.
 

Gecko

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But like... why though? Why spend that money on an interior redesign when you know you're going to build a brand new third generation GX in 2 years?

Doesn't this go completely against Lexus ideology on spending unnecessary money on things? I was also suspicious on the refreshed IS too but at least that is more believable because that refresh should last ~4 years rather than 2.

Lexus really confuses me sometimes. But you know what, if this is their new direction, to constantly improve their cars, then go for it. Just never ever go back to the years in the late 2000's early 2010's (the LFA was great though).

As an aside though, if this is going to get a major refresh including interior technology, then the last 2 years of the 2nd generation chassis will be so insanely valuable in the future. Old bones, but fresh tech on the inside. Perfect for that niche cult of buyers that adore the GX.

A lot of the interior refresh work had already been done in the 2016 LCP refresh. As I said the LCP J150 is still quite modern so another two years is not a problem at all.

Lexus probably thought the GX would be discontinued after this generation so a major refresh was unnecessary, but sales figures said otherwise. So they changed their minds about cancelling the model.

GX has been the 3rd or 4th best-selling Lexus model behind the NX and RX and trading on/off with the ES depending on the month, so there is most of your answer. It is also one of the most profitable Lexus models, especially at this point when all of the development costs are paid for. The GX is also getting the older Remote Touch tech which Lexus can easily pull off the shelf (same screen as IS) and install to keep buyers happy while they finish development of the 3rd gen.

To @ssun30's point: Look at the 4Runner in comparison: 2020 got a minor refresh with interior tech, 2021 they added LED headlights and new trim levels... seems pretty silly for a 12 year old vehicle, but it's become one of Toyota's core models so they make minimal updates to keep it relevant.

Owning 4Runners over the years and being connected to the brand in other means, I can tell you that Toyota has actually tried to cancel the 4Runner many times and thought the Highlander could replace it while being easier and cheaper to develop and maintain. The 2014 refresh was to be the last for the 4Runner, ever, and then as we saw, sales rose, and rose, and rose, and it is now setting sales records 12 years after launch with incredibly high customer loyalty and dealer profit. That means there were no plans for a 6th gen 4Runner until the business case was obvious and unavoidable - and same for the GX - which sent Toyota back to the drawing board late in the game.

A lot of the early rumors and talk about TNGA-F/F1 were that it happened so much later than the unibody vehicles because Toyota wanted to kill the Tundra, Sequoia, 4Runner and GX which would have drastically reduced the scale of needing something like a BOF TNGA platform in the first place. Then the massive consumer shift to SUVs and Toyota/Lexus USA fighting for BOF products meant Toyota didn't really commit to any of those projects until 2016-2018 which is why all of them are so late with patchwork refreshes over their current life cycles.
 

ssun30

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So true. It feels unfathomable today that a company with such deep history and global presence with BOF SUVs/trucks would consider cancelling them in favor of unibody at all. But if we look back 10 years in the post-recession years those trucks really looked like they were becoming a relic of the past. When times are tough people just don't go outdoors and do a lot of activities. FJ was the perfect product at the wrong time. Imagine the amount of success they would enjoy in today's US market.

For rest of the world they could keep profiting by refreshing J200/J150/IMV platforms indefinitely because they have zero competition. After all the J70 platform is still very successful and profitable after 40 years! But the increasing demand for better tech and comfort in USA probably forced them to do the TNGA-F platform.

The life of the GX depends on the life of the Prado, which is related to Hilux and its wagon variant Fortuner. With the Fortuner getting more upscale, the Prado will also have to go upscale, but then it gets closer to Landcruiser territory.
The J platform and IMV are not related and the two series have always been developed separately from each other. IMV vehicles need to be produced more cheaply while the J platform is less compromise.
 
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Sulu

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So true. It feels unfathomable today that a company with such deep history and global presence with BOF SUVs/trucks would consider cancelling them in favor of unibody at all. But if we look back 10 years in the post-recession years those trucks really looked like they were becoming a relic of the past. When times are tough people just don't go outdoors and do a lot of activities. FJ was the perfect product at the wrong time. Imagine the amount of success they would enjoy in today's US market.

At the beginning of this century, it did look like people would be forced into smaller and lighter vehicles, due to rapidly and relentlessly climbing oil prices, going from a low of less than $30 per barrel in early-2002 to high of over $172 in mid-2008, at the height of the Great Recession. With that trend, Toyota could not be faulted for thinking that the heyday of the big, heavy, body-on-frame SUV as personal vehicle was over.

Oil prices did drop quickly during the second half of the Great Recession, to a low of just over $50 per barrel, but then climbed just as quickly again to $100 and then $120 per barrel where it looked it would plateau. But then prices dropped again in mid-2014 before stablizing at about $60 (i.e. half the post-recession price) until the start of the pandemic recession in March 2020, when oil prices dropped to less than $20.

It was during this 7-year period (2014 to 2021) of low oil prices during which the crossover utility vehicle really became popular; and the bottom-of-the-barrel pandemic oil prices, not seen since the late 1990s, has meant the resurgence of the big, heavy pickup truck as personal vehicle in North America.
 

James

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I'm amazed that the GX continues to sell so well. I test drove it back in like April and said no this thing is way to old lol but hey if Lexus can keep selling it with minimal updates good for them because that's profit and hopefully they can take that profit and I don't know maybe give it to like a new TTV8 for our F products?? Just saying!
 

Deusex

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I'm amazed that the GX continues to sell so well. I test drove it back in like April and said no this thing is way to old lol but hey if Lexus can keep selling it with minimal updates good for them because that's profit and hopefully they can take that profit and I don't know maybe give it to like a new TTV8 for our F products?? Just saying!
Actually Lexus will heavily update the interior for 2022. 10" nav. screen, apple and android connect, etc.

And unfortunately this also means no new GX until maybe 2023/24?
 
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maiaramdan

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The life of the GX depends on the life of the Prado, which is related to Hilux and its wagon variant Fortuner. With the Fortuner getting more upscale, the Prado will also have to go upscale, but then it gets closer to Landcruiser territory.

I think the next gen Hilux will be upscaled to below Landcruiser, so will the Fortuner. But what about Prado? Also, the new Landcruiser lost its split gate. Why would not the Prado lose its swing gate? At this point a Fortuner is just that, Toyota's new BOF SUV. As with Hilux, expect a TRD/GR version.

Lexus is rumored to work on a more off-road oriented SUV, it could be Fortuner based, or even 4 Runner if the GX is a NA model only.
I am searching about an old news said that the next Prado won't be a pure bof as the current, instead it will a unibody with a lot of off-road capabilities, something like what LR already doing currently