Geneva motor show: Lexus’ baby looks to the stars for inspiration

LF-SA concept previews a possible Lexus Mini rival

 

Looking like a cross between a moon buggy and The Predator (will it have you running to ‘get to da choppa?’) the Lexus LF-SA is our first look at the Japanese company’s plans for a small car to rival the likes of the Mini and Audio’s A1.

Designed in Toyota’s French riviera-based ED2 studio, the LF-SA is also being shown as a tribute to the 25th anniversary of the original Lexus LS400 saloon, a car that did more to shake up the luxury car status quo than pretty much any since.

We had been expecting that the LF-SA would essentially be a re-bodied Toyota Yaris Hybrid, but Lexus appears to have pulled a bit of a fast one on us. It seems that the SA is actually more closely related to the tiny Toyota iQ city car. Certainly the LF-SA’s 3.5-metre length would bear that out, as would its stripped-back 2+2 interior

Those back seats are strictly for occasional use only, and the drivers’ seat is fixed in place. Don’t worry – the wheel and pedals move to adjust to your height. All of which suggests that Lexus is among this car at the Double Income No Kids sort of city dweller. Most of the instruments are actually projected onto a heads-up display in front of the driver, while the centre console has a crystal-stile finish. Lexus says that the cabin style has been inspired by a solar eclipse. Really?

Outside, the car looks part Star Treck prop, part Tonka toy, with massive wheels, a tall ride height and that big signature Lexus ‘spindle grille’ stretching back into the tops of the front wings.

Lexus hasn’t said anything about a power train yet but it’s pretty much certain to be a hybrid, so reckon on a tweaked version of the Yaris 1.3-litre petrol-plus-batteries setup.

The good news is that Lexus seems to realise that it has to make any small car fun to drive if it’s going to compete with the Mini. A spokesperson said that the LF-SA is “a driver focused vehicle, reflecting Lexus’ vision that real driving experiences remain the ultimate luxury.It combines that real life luxury of driving with the ultimate in on-board connectivity, infotainment and safety to reflect the spirit of weekend adventure in everyday city driving.”