Currently reading: Frankfurt motor show 2013: Lexus LF-NX concept
The LF-NX concept is designed to gauge reaction to an avant-garde SUV to take on the baby Range Rover

Lexus has revealed its answer to the Range Rover Evoque at the Frankfurt motor show in the shape of an athletic, avant-garde compact SUV concept called the Lexus LF-NX.

This five-door premium soft-roader is part of an exercise intended to gauge the reaction of European show-goers to a bolder and more aggressive design than they’re used to - in a class where the Evoque is an exception rather than the rule, and where the dominant powers are such conservative cars as the Audi Q5 and BMW X3. “We want this to be a very influential car — one to make its rivals look boring,” says design project manager Nobuyuki Tomatsu.

The design of the production car is still to be decided. “This isn’t one of those show cars that is 95 per cent representative of something finished,” Tomatsu says. “We have taken a risk, and we hope the reaction will be positive. If it is, there is no reason why our production car couldn’t look like this.”

Power comes from an adaptation of the Hybrid Synergy Drive system from the American market’s Lexus ES300h saloon. That means the front wheels will be driven by a combination of a 156bhp 2.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, serving up 200bhp in total. “We haven’t ruled out four-wheel drive for the finished car,” says Tomatsu. “The powertrain is just a starting point for us.”

The LF-NX’s exterior styling is a sounding board for several individual developments of features of the Lexus L-Finesse design language. Its spindle grille is larger than it is on Lexus’s current production crop, and features a diamond-shaped mesh conveying a more vivid sense of density and strength.

At the rear, that spindle shape is echoed in the sheet metal around the lights. And both of the character lines along the car’s flanks — the boomerang shoulderline and kinked lower feature line — have been exaggerated to create added dynamism.

The cabin of the LF-NX is designed to make an equally strong impact. It contrasts dark grey with ‘sunrise yellow’ leather. An axe-themed centre console, topped by satin chrome, creates a feeling of strength for both front and back-row occupants, while switchgear has been kept to a minimum.

At the head of that console, Lexus’s familiar, mouse-like Remote Touch Interface controller has been replaced by a simpler Audi-style fingertip touchpad.

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The Range Rover Evoque drew heavily on style as a selling point, but also possesses the substance to back it up

Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

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UK Car Discount 7 February 2014

Holy Smoke

Must be batmans new car surely!!!
umang 8 September 2013

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brian245 11 September 2013

all credit for doing something different, but different doesn't

It surprises me reading the comments that any would have expected something other than hideous from Lexus

uk_supercar_fan 5 September 2013

sweet jaysus!

"features a diamond-shaped mesh conveying a more vivid sense of density and strength."

...inspried by a parmesan grater??

all credit for doing something different, but different doesn't have to mean jaw-droppingly ghastly!

the over-blown front and rear ends somehow contrive to make the cabin area look like it's been scaled down to 8/10 of the rest!

weird. I'll have some of what they're smoking.

Oh God. I just noticed the yellow leather interior.