Everyone from Japan is at it, with the whole samurai thing going on. At the Detroit motor show earlier this month, Nissan for example revealed the new Xmotion concept (they’d like you to mispronounce it as Cross-motion, not the actual way it’s spelled…) which is supposed to have an exterior design influenced by a warrior’s armour.

Then there’s the new Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept that also made its global premiere in the Motor City, rolling out onto the stage with its looks inspired by a Samurai katana sword. And, sure, we can kind of see it — the LF-1 is an imposing sight, especially with those dimensions…

As a vision of a potential future flagship, the thing measures over five metres long, longer than a BMW X5 or anything else in that segment. Crucially it’s also wider, giving it those impressive proportions, but most importantly the LF-1 Limitless is very low for a crossover, as much as 150mm lower than the Bimmer which makes the Lexus look more like a fastback than an SUV. And that’s a very good thing.

Lexus says the car’s lines will shape all of the company’s future cars, and that’s another good thing. The LF-1 Limitless concept has the potential to straddle the top of the Lexus line-up together with the LS saloon, as a sort of parallel flagship featuring the very best of Japanese technology.


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As for the name, Limitless… It basically means Lexus didn’t bother with a powertrain. That door is being purposefully left wide open. The possibilities are many, meaning a prospective production version could be powered by petrol, fuel cell, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or even all-electric gubbins. Because why not? By 2025 every Lexus model will be available with an electrified option anyway.

Created in the company’s California studio, the designers of the Lexus LF-1 like going on about “molten katana” when describing the concept, and want you to think of liquid metal when looking at the thing.

“This is our vision for a new kind of flagship vehicle that embraces crossover capability without giving up the performance and luxury delivered by today’s top sedans,” said Kevin Hunter, head of Lexus’ Californian studio.

The key to the concept are the excellent proportions, achieved with a rather exaggerated bonnet (that’d be the crucial dash-to-axle ratio), very short front overhang contrasted by a long rear overhang, a low sloping roofline, and of course those 22in wheels. We can even get down with the spindle grille, which gets a much more integrated look on the LF-1 compared to the company’s current production models where it seems more tacked on than homogenous. Furthermore there is no tacky chrome to be found, with details emphasised rather by LED lighting used around the spindle grille.

Lexus will be gauging the public’s response to decide whether something like the LF-1 Limitless ever makes it to your local showroom, and just going by the crossover craze on the market chances are a production version of some sort will be imminent.