Aside from all of the sensible new models on display at the Detroit motor show, there have been a bunch of wacky looking concepts that have been drawing large crowds. As ever, most of these won’t ever be green lit but some of their design language and tech surely will.
Lexus LF-1 Limitless
This looks to be a preview of the new generation LX (the current third gen has been around for a decade – surely time for a chance now…) but there isn’t any confirmation of that. All we know for now is that this luxury crossover has one heck of a bold exterior. It was styled in collaboration with CALTY Design Research in California - they’re the same folk who were involved in the FT-1 project that previewed the new Toyota Supra. The LF-1 Limitless looks ever so sharp (check out the three-dimensional grille) and rides on massive 22in wheels. It’s rather big too measuring 5,014mm long, 1,986mm wide and 1,605mm high with a wheelbase of 2,974mm. As for the cabin, it is rather minimalist but does have a fully digital driver’s display with a massive infotainment screen with plenty of touch-sensitive buttons. It also has 4D navigation and a rear seat entertainment system. It has been designed to potentially house either a fuel cell, plug-in hybrid, petrol or all-electric powertrain.
If you believe every word of the press release for the Xmotion then this crossover, which has a sleek exterior with sharp lines aplenty, was inspired by Mt. Fuji and other traditional Japanese views and also modern surrounds of Tokyo. Don’t ask…
The three-row cabin includes a virtual assistant personified as a virtual koi that swims between the console and a middle-mounted armrest touchscreen! It can intelligently programme the interior conditions, play music and provide information about the current route. The virtual fish can also take over the driving duties. There are loads of screen in the cabin (seven in total!) and cameras mounted around the CUV that feed images to these displays. Traditional mirrors have been done away with.
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Infiniti Q Inspiration
It may be SUVs galore in Detroit but that doesn’t mean all of the other segment have been ignored. In fact, Japanese luxury brand Infiniti has a beautiful saloon on show, called the Q Inspiration Concept which boasts some of the latest technologies from Nissan’s luxury brand. These include both the semi-autonomous ProPilot system and the VC-Turbo – the latter is the world’s first production-ready, variable-compression ratio four-cylinder engine. We love the over-sized, double-arch grille and a bonnet loaded with aggressive character lines not to mention the bulging fenders which give it a muscular stance. There are more strong creases across the profile and the hidden door handles are a nice touch. The roofline has a coupe-like curve which stretches to the rear deck lid and around the back it houses narrow tail lights. The cabin has four thin wraparound seats and a floating centre console along with several touchscreens.
Chinese carmaker GAC revealed a futuristic electric concept and it sure was eye-catching what with its gull-wing doors, floating digital dash-screen, and range of 370 miles but it was equally weird too due to the fact that its headlights slide out and detach to be used as flood lights! The Nissan Qashqai-sized two-door SUV previews GAC’s future design direction and showcases the company’s new features such as a voice-controlled start-up and virtual reality technology for passengers. It has 235bhp sent to all four wheels and can hit 100kph in 4.4 seconds.
Ford Mach 1
Finally, Ford is planning on resurrecting the legendary Mach 1 name but it won’t be for the Mustang. The Blue Oval has a high performance electric SUV in the works which could make its debut in 2020. It’ll be one of 16 EVs it aims to introduce over the next four years. A teaser video showed a Mustang and an Explorer driving into the headquarters of Ford’s new Team Edison electrified vehicle division. Cue lightning bolts in the sky followed by the Mach 1 name on the screen. Ford hasn’t revealed any details about the Mach 1’s performance or given us any ideas of how it will look. But with such an iconic name, it better be good…