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Lexus LF-Xh unveiled

Published: 25 October 2007

Is this the RX400h replacement I see before me?

Reckon so. The next-generation large SUV concept unveiled today at the 2007 Tokyo show features an advanced hybrid system with a V6 petrol engine, an electric motor and all-wheel drive, just like the RX’s, but now it’s wrapped up in a more modern and purposeful exterior skin.

How is the LF-Xh different from the RX?

The concept’s exterior dimensions are similar to the RX400h’s, but crucially massaged in all the right ways to alleviate the current model’s slightly ungainly ‘body-disconnected-from-its wheels’ stance. The LF-Xh is longer and wider (by 50mm), lower (by 70mm) and with a wheelbase stretched by 130mm. The result is an SUV that looks altogether more planted to the road and agile in a sporty coupe-like manner. The slatted razorblade-style front grille adds to the smooth feel.

Exterior ready, interior less so

No one was admitting it explicitly on show day, but Lexus insiders on the stand said the exterior is pretty much what you can expect from the RX400h’s second-generation model (although the roof might end up a bit higher). The elegant and simple interior is less finalised though, featuring a dramatic aluminium feature detail that swoops down from the centre dashboard top before twisting into the centre console area. ‘Anticipation’ is apparently a keyword for the inside in a similar way to the light that illuminates the ground by the door when you unlock the production GS model before getting in. Trouble is, Lexus is clearly not fully happy with the interior their designers made as it wouldn’t let any journalists see the finished inside first hand. Now that’s what I call ‘anticipation’.

What about Lexus’s long-awaited super car?

Radio silence. Only the much-travelled LF-A concept was wheeled out again at Tokyo despite some pundits thinking (or hoping) we might finally see this much-delayed car in production form. Maybe for the Detroit show then? It’s anyone’s guess.

By Guy Bird

Contributor, cultural curator, design commentator