Lexus LF-Z concept is a look at luxury brand’s future today – Roadshow

Alright, I’m onboard.

Lexus

Feast your eyes on the Lexus LF-Z concept, a battery-electric concept car meant to serve as an appetizer for the Japanese luxury brand’s future. Revealed on Tuesday, this is the final product from the handful of teaser photos Lexus supplied over the past month, and I have to say, I think it looks darn good.

Starting outside, the design takes a lot of Lexus’ present design elements and pushes them in a new direction, including a reimagined spindle “grille.” Like all EVs, the LF-Z doesn’t need a grille for cooling purposes, but this interpretation’s fading pattern and straight body work flanking it provide an aggressive look without the car looking too over the top. It’s actually really easy to see this look translating to a production car, which is always a plus in my book when it comes to concept cars. “Strong proportions” and a “captivating shape” are the goals here, which Lexus says will fuse with future production cars. The LF-Z isn’t a bad place to start if designers start cherry picking elements from it.

Just a man and his EV.

Lexus

The side profile is a curious one, which gives off big crossover vibes. But, at the same time, this car is pretty low-slung, which tugs as a sedan or hatchback look. It’s all incredibly fluid, with a lovely widening at the rear for the tires that helps this car look sportier. The back end comes together with a sloping roofline, thin light bar for taillights and a futuristic diffuser component. A couple of other jagged lines break up the fluidity, but not in a bad way. I also think spelling out “Lexus” at the rear provides a very premium touch. Not so for “Electrified” spelled out on the rear bumper. That seems silly.

Popping open a door reveals a futuristic cabin, complete with a yoke-style steering wheel Tesla quickly made popular in 2021 with the Model S refresh. Four panels exist: three for the driver and one larger screen in the middle, and the lack of physical knobs coincides with a conceptual, ultra-smart cockpit assistant running on artificial intelligence. The idea behind the layout rests on “Tazuna,” which is Japanese for “rein.” It symbolizes horse and rider, which puts the driver in control of the LF-Z concept. The driver’s seat is even a different color from the rest.

Another yoke.

Lexus

Each of the panels is meant to keep the driver focused on the task of driving, with the most critical functions concentrated around the steering wheel. Lexus specifically called this arrangement out as a heavy dose of foreshadowing for future production car interiors. Meanwhile, the AI assistant grows smarter as it spends time with the driver and can help with routing or even recommend a new restaurant. A digital car key for mobile phones, retractable door handles and a massive panoramic sunroof all dial up the futuristic vibes inside and out.

Although Lexus didn’t speak much to the powertrain, it employs what the brand dubbed Direct4 — a smarter all-wheel drive system that allows the layout to change from front-wheel, rear-wheel and all-wheel drive as needed. The system controls the front and rear wheels independently and can adapt with the driver’s needs. I feel like the letter “F” stands for more than “Future” in the concept’s name. “F” stands for performance at Lexus, and the LF-Z seems like it could be one heck of an electric sports car when needed.

The car’s bones are made up of a new dedicated EV platform, which puts the battery pack under the floor longitudinally for a super low center of gravity. But, it also helps eliminate vibrations and noises from the outside the driver doesn’t want to hear. A new steer-by-wire system promises even more direct response while eliminating the mechanical connection for greater simplicity.

While the company didn’t commit to building a car directly based on the LF-Z, this car provides a very good look at 20 new or refreshed cars coming with electrified powertrains from the brand by 2025. The figure includes at least a few EVs, and they’ll pull from this concept, Lexus said. That’s a good thing because the electric future looks pretty satisfying over at Toyota’s premium division.

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