The Design: Lexus LF-NX Concept

To put it mildly, the Lexus LF-NX wasn’t the most popular concept at the recent Frankfurt motor show. It was largely derided for being overly aggressive in its demeanor and unnecessary complicated in its overall execution, with most of the designers we spoke to calling it “brutal”.

Created at the Lexus design studio in Toyota City, Aichi — one of three Toyota design studios in Japan — the premium compact crossover is a preview of a forthcoming vehicle set to do battle with the Range Rover Evoque. The angular surface treatment stemming from its three-dimensional spindle grille is an evolution of the L-Finesse design language initiated by Toyota a decade ago — a philosophy which consists of three core principles: ‘seamless anticipation’, ‘incisive simplicity’ and ‘intriguing elegance’. Regrettably we fail to see any evidence of these principles take effect in the LF-NX.

The enormous grille (with razor sharp edges) and thin triple headlamps underscored by separate L-shaped indicators that bisect the front fender give the front end an overly aggressive demeanor, while in profile the intersecting, creased lines combine to create a harsh aesthetic, not a seamless nor elegant one. The rear is perhaps most successful, with the rear lamps blending into the rear fenders, marking out the forms of the wheelarch and decklid while accentuating its powerful stance.

Besides the bright colors and futuristic center stack, the interior appears more balanced and conventional — a further indication that Lexus has though this architecture through for production. Slightly reminiscent of a waterfall, the center stack incorporates intuitive touch-sensitive electrostatic switches and flows to the console through the cabin. The triangular theme of the exterior is repeated throughout the interior as well, while a mix of materials provides a high-tech yet natural feel.

Though we applaud Lexus for taking a bold step in its attempt to differentiate itself from a sea of sameness, we can’t help but think this most recent show car oversteps an elusive boundary between power and precision to become gratuitously overwrought. See what its designers had to say.


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