Frankfurt auto show: Lexus hints at smaller crossover/SUV

Opinions divided on the striking styling and of LF-NX concept

The Lexus LF-NX concept at the Frankfurt auto show

The Lexus LF-NX concept at the Frankfurt auto show

Wed, Sep 11, 2013, 13:41

Lexus is the latest premium brand to join the rush to create crossover/SUV models. While its offering at Frankfurt is merely a design concept, it clearly shows that the bosses at the Japanese firm are thinking hard about offering up a rival to the likes of the BMW X1 and X3 and the Audi Q3 and Q5.

Lexus already has its RX Hybrid in the SUV sector, well-established in the US if hobbled in Ireland due to a price tag starting at €62,450. The LF-NX concept suggests that it may enter a smaller variant in the next few years. As is the norm at Lexus these days, the LF-NX powertrain is hybrid, with a mix of 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor.

However it’s neither the interest Lexus is showing in creating a crossover, nor the drivetrain, that’s got tongues wagging. It’s the styling.

This is one of the most divisive looking cars on the Frankfurt motor show floor. It’s a love or hate look. With the massive grille and very busy creases and curves, this writer falls into the latter camp.

While it’s admirable for the level of detail the designers have went to fold, bend, twist and curve the exterior metal, the deep dents styled into the side of the car makes it look like it was t-boned on the way to car show. And then there’s the enormous grille, so striking that it’s likely to scare the elderly and give small children nightmares.

It’s great to see Lexus expanding its range and a crossover makes business sense for the brand. But maybe the designers needs another go before production.