The Lexus LF-NX is our first vision of a compact SUV, but it’s also one of the most radical concepts to emerge from Lexus Design Centre in Japan.
The bold exterior design represents the very latest evolution of Lexus L-finesse design philosophy – and there are some powerful new ideas on display.
At 4,640mm in length, the five-door LF-NX is about the same size as a BMW X3 and is tasked with challenging perceptions about Lexus. To find out more, we caught up with Lexus lead designer Nobuyuki Tomatsu.
“To use boxing terminology, the LF-NX is a lightweight fighter,” says Tomatsu. “While cutting his weight down to the bare minimum required, he has developed muscles essential for competing at the top of his game.”
The exterior styling is full of aggressive, muscular motifs and bold forms – which took Tomatsu and his talented team of designers at the Lexus Design Centre a significant amount of time to refine.
“We tried every conceivable idea to sharpen its overall look as much as possible,” Tomatsu continued, “so you wouldn’t see even an ounce of ‘fat’ on the resultant shape.”
Emerging through this bold new definition of L-finesse are clear design cues inherited from previous Lexus Future concept cars, notably the LF-LC and LF-CC, which took the automotive industry by storm with their stunning styling.
An example of this can be seen in the headlights, where three independent LED lighting units have been placed side-by-side to form one headlight component. This is similar to that already seen on the LF-CC, but the diamond formation has been squared-off and heavily recessed to deliver a more piercing stare. The headlight units are once again joined by the recurring L-shape motif of the daytime driving lights.
The spindle grille – a defining characteristic of all new Lexus models – has also received a dynamic makeover. Along with the pumped-up treatment of the arches and fulsome 20″ alloy wheels, this has served to strengthen the LF-NX’s frontal expression.
When viewed from above, the exterior profile of the cabin is incredibly distinctive, forming part of a line that runs around the front grille and flares over the diagonal peak of the doors before converging again behind the muscular rear haunches.
The side profile makes an equally powerful statement. A laser-sharp swage line flowing through the doors creates an edgy, three-dimensional silhouette and results in an athletic body shape with creative proportions. It signals high agility and performance levels – both essential design features of a great SUV.
The significance of the LF-NX is underlined by the concluding remarks of Tomatsu, who commented: “The compact SUV segment is very important for Lexus because it appeals to those whom Lexus has yet to reach out to.”
Having seen the LF-NX concept debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show and the arrival of the Turbo version at the Tokyo Motor Show, we are extremely excited about a new direction for Lexus. This leap into a new segment is bold and powerful and also offers a great sense of where L-finesse design is heading.