• Apr 12, 2011
Lexus LF-Gh Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Lexus has decided to pull the wraps off its LF-Gh – which stands for Lexus Future Grand-Touring Hybrid – ahead of its official debut at the upcoming New York Auto Show. Interestingly, Lexus itself describes the styling of its latest conceptual hybrid sedan as something of a contradiction in terms. Says Kengo Matsumoto, general manager of Toyota's Lexus Design Division:

For this concept, Lexus designers studied characteristics that are often considered contradictory and difficult to execute together. The captivating design of the LF-Gh concept examines the possibility of balancing what are normally opposing qualities, such as style and functionality.

Expect such offbeat styling details to make an appearance on future Lexus production models, including what the company is calling its "aggressive and bold spindle-shaped front grille."

As a grand-touring sedan,
Lexus says the rear-wheel-drive LF-Gh will offer plenty of room for "multiple occupants at higher speeds on long-distance drives." We don't have any real detailed photos of the car's interior, but the automaker claims it hints at "an all-new, future Lexus interior" that incorporates a new three-dimensional analog clock, whatever that means.

As you'd expect from any new concept from the global leader in hybrids, the LF-Gh Concept features a hybridized powertrain of unknown specification. We do find it interesting, though, that Lexus is purposely trying to diminish the appearance of the car's exhaust in an effort to "suggest that the flow of exhaust gas will be substantially reduced."

Stay tuned for live images from the show floor in New York later this month. In the meantime, feel free to check out the official press release after the break and be sure to take a nice, long gander at the high-res image gallery below.

*UPDATE: Video added after the break. Enjoy!

[Source: Lexus]

Show full PR text
Lexus LF-Gh Hybrid Concept Explores Design Features That Will Migrate to Future Lexus Vehicles

• LF-Gh concept to make world debut at 2011 New York International Auto Show
• Stylish and assertive concept advances notions of premium grand touring sedan
• Concept explores Lexus' future direction with aggressive and bold spindle-shaped front grille
NEW YORK (April 12, 2011) – The Lexus LF-Gh hybrid concept will make its global debut at the 2011 New York International Auto Show. The concept, which sets out to redefine the premium grand touring sedan, will be at the Lexus display through May 1.

"For this concept, Lexus designers studied characteristics that are often considered contradictory and difficult to execute together," said Kengo Matsumoto, general manager, Lexus Design Division, Toyota Motor Corporation. "The captivating design of the LF-Gh concept examines the possibility of balancing what are normally opposing qualities, such as style and functionality."

Working with a clean sheet of paper, Lexus Design Division designers aimed to perfectly blend style, performance, efficiency, and environmental compatibility in a premium, grand touring sedan while trying to leverage advanced, new technologies.

The team explored how a future grand touring sedan would look standing still and on the road, and what design approaches might work to convey an extraordinary combination of attributes. They came up with a design that unites hard and soft; and energetic and soothing elements.

Through this exercise, the definition of L-Finesse, the marque's design philosophy since 2001, has been refined and evolved to include a bolder, more distinct projection of what a premium car could become in a modern world. The result is the LF-Gh concept, which conveys original thoughts and ideas that will migrate to future Lexus vehicles on a global scale.

"Customers have been waiting for a bold concept like this from Lexus," said Mark Templin, Lexus Division group vice president and general manager. "We look forward to their feedback and integrating some of these exciting design features into future Lexus vehicles."

In The Grand Touring Tradition
With the LF-Gh, Lexus takes the idea of the grand touring sedan one step further. The LF-Gh was designed to be a high-performance concept capable of providing a moving driving experience, and comfortably transporting multiple occupants at higher speeds on long-distance drives. It combines a strong sense of presence and emotional appeal with functional attributes, supplying enhanced creature comforts plus the practical ability to transport personal supplies and luggage necessary for extended travel. Even while maintaining serene passenger comfort, it is a car designed to inspire and captivate the driver as hours behind the wheel accumulate.

The bold, wide stance is consistent with the goal of inspiring dynamic excellence on the road. Fundamentally, these are the proportions of an agile, responsive sedan built on an advanced rear-wheel-drive platform. The distinctive long greenhouse design provides the potential for functional passenger benefits, such as generous interior room for all four passengers, ample cargo area, and excellent forward visibility.

LED lighting hints at the range and scope of new materials, electronics and dynamic systems that endow this concept vehicle with state-of-the-art performance, driving control, and safety features. Overall, the LF-Gh's styling embodies the definition of what an authentic grand touring sedan from Lexus could be.

Dramatic and Bold, Yet Light and Agile
This newest Lexus concept brings together unique, dynamic proportions that lend to its advanced and aggressive stance. The LF-Gh is based on an architecture that enables a spirited, energetic and elegant car with an uncommonly assertive presence.

Viewed from the front, design elements contributing to the assertive effect include a boldly designed spindle-shaped grille that expresses the resolute face of Lexus, contributes to radiator and brake duct function, and is an essential element in achieving excellent aerodynamic performance. Every line in the LF-Gh combines form and function.

As an example, air flows in through front inlets adjacent to the unique vertical LED fog lamps, and exits through similar slim rear outlets that follow the curve of the tail lamps from the rear quarter panel. The concept also explores the minimization of traditional features such as side mirrors and door handles to enhance the sleekness and improve aerodynamics.

The spindle-shaped grille, a powerful design element that contributes to the commanding presence of the LF-Gh, also plays a role in airflow control and enhancing stability. It's a key feature that integrates distinctive style with engineering functionality without sacrifice in either discipline, and will be inherited by future Lexus models.

An athletic and strong stance is achieved through the contrast of the tapered torso and long cabin, with width-enhancing front and rear wheel arches. The form of the lower body begins from the short front overhang, and is cross cut in the middle of the rocker panel leaving the rear overhang looking light and agile.

Dynamic front fenders work to create a sense of movement, pushing down toward the ground to convey a low, crouching center of gravity. The raised hood implies ready and powerful performance potential. The rear deck has a robust, raised center deck lid that lets the air smoothly glide backward to flow gracefully into the rear fenders. Deeply sculptured dynamic twin spokes stemming from the center of the 20-inch wheels enhance an instinctive sense of driving appeal.

Lexus designers took advantage of increased width that provides an expansive canvas for distinct, wrap-around LED tail lamps. The use of distinctive tail lamps and intricately designed reflectors behind all-red lenses contribute to a strong visual presence. Judicious use of slim chrome trim elements in the bumper exhaust and integrated diffuser adds a subtle premium touch.

Unique LED headlamps and independent L-shaped LED daytime running lights assure that the Lexus face will be like no other car on the road.

A Gracious Interior
Behind dark tinted glass, hints of an all-new, future Lexus interior can be perceived. The cabin of the LF-Gh is the product of a meticulous re-examination of every detail, with the aim of making an interior that is driver-oriented.

The driver's zone includes a meter panel with excellent visibility and a console with intuitive operability. An all-new analog clock with a three-dimensional face, a contemporary and exclusive timepiece suitable to a premium luxury brand, is a focal point of the interior and represents a shift in Lexus' design philosophy.

Use of genuine, high-quality materials and rich, finely honed details help create a driver and passenger space consistent with the idea of a full-fledged grand touring sedan. It is an interior designed to respond to the needs of customers who know true quality, and are particular about details.

Hybrid Propulsion
Blue LED Lexus Hybrid Drive badges located on the front grille and rear trunk lid signal an intention to provide equal measures of fuel efficiency and performance on demand. The rear valance blends sculpted exhaust tips for a very clean, finished look, minimizing the presence of the exhaust system to suggest that the flow of exhaust gas will be substantially reduced. Taken as a whole, the treatment emphasizes that this hybrid concept is designed to comply with the exceptionally low emissions requirements of the future.

The LF-Gh design supports engineering that changes current notions of power, efficiency, safety, and environmental consideration in a premium luxury car.

"Although only a concept, we hope the LF-Gh will resonate with our customers worldwide, and communicate our intention to once again advance ideas about the face of Lexus luxury in the years to come," said Matsumoto.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      what the hell ? who thought that front grill would look nice on any car ?? wrong, just wrong.
      • 3 Years Ago
      So when did Lexus hire all the Acura designers?

      Why are so many Japanese car designs so awful lately?
        • 3 Years Ago
        Acura designs come from California and all of them look way worse than this.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Tainted whale meat.
      • 3 Years Ago
      To me, nothing about it definitively says "Lexus" save for the badge. I've seen most of the exterior design elements before on other cars.
      • 3 Years Ago
      LEXUS: "...aggressive and bold spindle-shaped front grille."

      More like "garish", if they'd ask me (which they haven't and they won't :).
      • 3 Years Ago
      UGLY "mouth" ... nice lights
      • 3 Years Ago
      Looks like a walrus...
      • 3 Years Ago
      That looks terrible! Were they trying to make it look like a stormtrooper/vader helmet? Thank you Lexus for continuing to give the V no real competition!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow, that Audi looks great!

      Oh wait...

      Actually it's not as bad as the teasers made me thing it was. I don't like the gap between the grill opening and the grill mesh itself.

      Not bad over-all. I'd like to see how it translates into production. I hope it can keep the chiseled look it has and doesn't get bloated.
        • 3 Years Ago
        one could say the same about Cadillac when it moved to the Sixteen-inspired grill on its entire lineup, though I agree as there is little basis (from my own knowledge, though Im probably wrong) of Lexus doing this in the past.

        I think the grill-mesh is pretty cool though, and my only reservations are with the uninspiring greenhouse/roof-line, though it does speak Lexus, boring, and finesse, so its nothing out of line here.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Wow, what an insult to Audi.

        Lexus, please veil that thing and never let it see the light of day again.
        • 3 Years Ago

        My initial reaction to your comment was Ew....

        but after relooking at this car, a lower belt-line would give this car some character, especially if they swept the rear-window and pillar farther back and applied it creatively as they did on the Chevy Volt Concept

        • 3 Years Ago
        I like the grill/mesh too...just not that gap that is created. I don't mind the shape of the greenhouse either. What I would have like dot have seen (which I know is impossible with safety regulations, and due to ever car having to have a giant trunk) would have been a lower beltline.

        I sure miss low beltlines.
      • 3 Years Ago
      "characteristics that are often considered contradictory and difficult to execute together"

      I'm not so sure that Lexus had much success in creating a cohesive design out of these apparent opposites.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I think they meant blending a Cadillac CTS with a BMW 5-series and an Audi A6.
        • 3 Years Ago
        LF A aside, Lexus design is full of nonsense.
        • 3 Years Ago
        it's not that hard guys, they'll just bring the bumper across the center of that gaping maw, creating a grill above and below it, circa say the original A8 in the late nineties and with that minor improvement this will actually looks, dare I of all people say it, fantastic.


        look at the lines they have going, just put your finger across the grill and it looks great, a very sporty progression of the current LS without being offensive.
        • 3 Years Ago
        It certainly looks different. I actually admire Toyota for coming out with some new original designs, such as the FT-86 and now this. Nissan (Infiniti) and others seem perfectly happy to copy European luxury car makers, but Toyota is trying to build a distinct design language. Even if it's not for me, I applaud them for trying.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Who pinched the Audi's nose?
        • 3 Years Ago
        Looks like Lexus took the old GS and grafted a new super-futuristic gee-whiz golly front-end and rear-end to it.

        Doesn't look like a cohesive approach to shore up what should be Lexus' most important and most competitive offering.

        If Lexus still doesn't get it after 15+ years of the GS, then they should leave it to BMW and MB to do it right (which they do) and just abandon the effort.
        • 3 Years Ago
        As I wrote on ABG: the car is generally well-proportioned and well-shaped, but many of the details disappoint. It gives the general impression of a triangle/trapezoid-themed Audi, being smooth and conventional. The flanks are a very under-sculpted in an age of flame-surfaced BMWs and heavily-shaped Benz, although the rocker panel scallop is curious and odd for having no reason why it's there. Same with the odd cut in the rear door line. Rear is generally smooth and very clean, but one wonders why a non-diffuser diffuser nor wing vent? And why the "aggro" cues so mild for a car which intends to go against the 5?

        And then there's the "face" of the car. The wierd grille is off-putting - the car looks like this big squinty-eyed pinched-nose mouthbreather. It's hideously ugly compared to the Mitsu EVO face that apparently inspired it. Fortunately, it's easily fixed with an aftermarket front end.

        But really, what I don't get is why the new GS doesn't pay more homage to the Guigario original, in theme or in detail. The vibe I get is Infiniti M meets Mitsu EVO meets beige Mediocrity rather than legit 5-er fighter.

        I think most of the car works better as a LS, just need slapping a LS face on it.
        • 3 Years Ago
        C-pillar is right off Infiniti's Essence concept
        notice how they stretched the top corner into the body
        does Lexus have any designers all of their own, that don't copy other's work?

        i mean this is a high $$$ car, not a knock off

        anyhow the car as a whole doesn't work, but I do like the taillights and some of the detail shown of the interior
        • 3 Years Ago
        "Captivating" ... as captivating as a train wreck.
        • 3 Years Ago

        and I think thats the larger point that people are missing here, the frontiers of great sporty tier-1 luxury design has already been pioneered by the Germans, and well-received by the public. This is a safe, finesse inspired interpretation and a visual ode to what has come before it(unoriginal in many ways but enough finesse DNA to make it their own) and I see it appealing to the 5-series and a6 buyers who want to stand out from their neighbors (i see this doing very well in California.)
        • 3 Years Ago
        April fools?
        It looks like it's been in a front end collision.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ James Sonne

        I agree philosophically, but from a design standpoint, I think BMW and Audi owe much of their success to their ability to give their cars unique character and personality, and how that identifies with a consumer who wants and willing to pay for exactly that. What guides my understanding of this (beyond the crazy sales of both companies, and how the entire car industry from Bentley to Kia have fallen in line with it) are two quotes

        "Probably the thing that irks me the most [in car design] is when I see this repetition of the known, because it shows people have comfort zones that are too tight to themselves and they’re really afraid to walk out of those. And then somebody comes up with a new idea, and then everybody follows that because their comfort zone has been expanded. The work that we’ve done in the last ten years has been about expanding those comfort zones. -Chris Bangle"

        "More often then not, the thing that you can get everyone to come to ground on is the lowest common denominator, and you go to market with Vanilla... instead of Rocky Road.” - Hau Tai Tang (Designer of the previous-generation Mustang)
        • 3 Years Ago
        I see the Random Crease Generator has struck again at Toyota.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I don't know, I kind of like it. It's unapologetic and very Japanese, which I think is a nice departure from Lexus's typical "Don't offend anyone" styling.

        Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your perspective) the production version will look nothing like this. Remember the concept version of the CT200h? Yeah...
        • 3 Years Ago
        • 3 Years Ago
        The lexus with its finesse-inspired embellishments are uniquely Lexus DNA and give this car enough character and personality that while it uses the one-piece grill-insert like Audi, and the roofline of BMW, it is still uniquely Lexus, and beautiful. That is what I'm saying.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @vue_t you have a point, but the message behind those designs is something like 'better people speak about it rather than they don´t say nothing at all' . I see a consistent development, but is not very substantial in terms of a conceptual proposal. At the end just tends to be gimmicky.
        • 3 Years Ago
        That grille looks like it was covered with one of my granddads sports jackets........Herringbone anyone?
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Fernando - I actually like lexus design. Although not for everyone, it does have a uniqueness that lets someone know it's a lexus. There's something timeless about their current crop of cars that speaks to me (and yes, it might be the bland).
        • 3 Years Ago
        It's got one big, huge cleft palate.

        I mean, if you like it that's fine. But I don't think it's valid to praise it simply because nothing else looks like it. Individuality/Uniqueness is not praiseworthy in and of itself. From an evolutionary-theory standpoint, it's a huge risk to step toward the periphery, and it only pays off during catastrophic change of the surroundings. The mean is the mean because it works best.
      • 3 Years Ago
      As soon as I saw that main photo my jaw dropped and I said "eww...what?".
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow so they changed, after copying mercedes they decided to go with copying Audi.
      They make such high quality vehicles I can't understand they don't bring their own, distinct design.
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