During the 2016 Paris Motor Show, Lexus presents the brand’s vision for a compact SUV of the future: the UX concept, which made its world premiere at the event. Designed by ED2, Lexus Design Center located in the southern region of the French territory, UX represents a new level in the manufacturer’s design philosophy and redefining the driving experience. The UX concept reflects the company’s determination in the search for personalization that each of its models must present, formed by a unique, independent character and permeated by a strong concept. In the case of the UX concept, the model is identified by an ‘inside-out’ design style and a deconstructed interior style. The daring Lexus design incorporates creative technologies, filled with a futuristic vision, to offer the occupants a profoundly immersive experience. This sensation is generated through the ergonomics presented in the cockpit, which covers the entire body of the driver and contains three-dimensional Human Machine Interface (HMI) technology. The vehicle also excels in introducing a new design and seating technology, the Kinetic Seat, specially designed by Lexus in response to a reassessment of the principles of occupancy of car seats. The compact SUV segment is currently the fastest growing segment of the US luxury car category. The UX is designed to engage two distinct groups of customers, such as young, style-seeking, versatile interiors and an engaging driving experience, and premium customers looking for an interior with high functionality and technology embedded in a made-for- tailored for urban environments. Thus, the UX concept underscores Lexus’ focus on attracting young customers from large urban centers who are increasingly connected.
Radical compact crossover
The UX concept denotes a new variation for four-seater crossovers, contrasting with its appearance, plus 4×4 traction for outstanding off-road presence with low ground clearance and a coupe-like steering position characterized by performance dynamic and compact dimensions.
Concept of ‘inside-out’ design
At the heart of the UX project lies a futuristic ‘inside-out’ design concept, which creates a strong synergy between exterior and interior styling. Viewed from above, this design is more predominantly represented by an X-shaped movement in the cabin architecture to the exterior and vice versa. At the front, the fenders of the car flow into the cabin to form the screens of the electronic mirror that show the image of cameras installed in the door. The top of the panel is lower than the screens to combine a deconstructed look with excellent visibility. To the rear, the body flows back into the cabin, forming the main structure of the rear seat headrests. The X-shape inward-moving format is further enhanced by the emphasis on the 4×4 style of structural features, giving the model an efficient aerodynamic arc shape, while adding a dimensional shape differentiated to the design gmc truck car covers.
The concept of ‘inside-out’ style is further emphasized by the wheel arches, bars that trace the ceiling, and the cameras in the door. All are finished with the same material and represent a form of continuous and uninterrupted structure. An example of this is in the internal structure of the vehicle, from which it is possible to see the roof bars penetrate the cabin, creating the first pillar of the internal structure.
Fluid and highly sculptural design
Another evolution is in the front grille with the Lexus symbol. The whole volume around the grid creates the identity of the vehicle, a more three-dimensional starting point that translates the shape of the body. These external elements are linked together by highly sculptural surfaces equivalent to that of a classic sports car. This architecture is exclusive to Lexus. From the side, the length of the hood further underlines the strong linear aspect of the design, while the peak of the cabin is deliberately positioned at a rearmost angle to create a dynamic and personalized profile.
Painting and Shaping
Even the body color of the UX was designed to emphasize the shape of the vehicle. In the absence of lines, the depth of multi-layers of ‘amethyst-immersive’ painting serves to highlight the volume changes, making the definition of the sculptural form of the car, which is not expressed through a line-oriented drawing. The concept of ‘inside-out’ is not merely reflected in the overall design architecture, but also in numerous exterior and interior details throughout the vehicle, the exact representation of a more challenging interpretation of the various signatures of Lexus designs . The L-shaped daytime running lights (DRL) are now positioned to merge with the main lamps, and the design of the rear flashlight is now more three-dimensional and integrated into the spoiler. Together, the front and rear lamps create a horizontal axis, which traces the entire body of the vehicle. To improve the use of DRL lights, light fibers that measure the air vents at the ends of the front bumper have been constructed by design similar to the grid pattern. The grille of the front grille spreads radically outwards from the logo and is picked up by adjacent light fibers, emphasizing the width of the car, increasing its sturdiness and presence. Even the original tires were produced by materials that traced the ‘inside-out’ theme. The tire design was created in a high-tech laser carving process to express two unique aspects. The dynamic floor pattern maximizes contact with the streets while, from the side view, it emphasizes the design of the crossover to impart perfect integration with the wheel design.
Exclusivity in the interior
The unique concept of definition for the internal design of the UX gave rise to a central pillar that serves to sustain the divisions between exterior and interior. The material of the central pillar is made of transparent polycarbonate, thus granting greater transparency and harmony to the internal environment of the UX concept.
Two perceptions of luxury in the cabin
Signed by the aggressive and sharp front, with softer contours, the UX cabin offers two different perceptions of luxury. The front represents agile sophistication and engagement to the driver and, in the rear, a comfortable and cozy style, with the recognized space of a robust SUV. Connected by a center console that floats across the entire length of the cabin to reveal a unique design in the front, the differences between the interior spaces are reinforced by the color scheme. The front cabin is dark, to communicate a premium environment, aimed more specifically at the driver, while the rear of the car is light and much brighter to create a cozy and attractive space.
‘Deconstruction’ is a second key principle of the Lexus UX concept design, highlighted in front of the cab, where, instead of a conventional panel, sharp and angular shapes overlap and flow one over the other to create a strong play of shadows and contrasts, making it difficult to identify where it begins or ends. This approach suggests that to create a fixed point, you just have to state your hypothetical position with converging lines. The brain fills the gaps to create that point in the mind. Such ‘indirect expression’ – the premise that you really do not need to be able to see something to understand it actually exists – is present at Lexus’ design acting center under the L-finesse philosophy.
Technology used in the seats
The Concept UX seats are inspired by the Kinetic concept to further enhance the driver’s experience.
3-D Imaginative Technology
Lexus has developed for UX a dual-zone instrumentation approach, whereby all embedded HMI technology is designed to offer users who live and work in an increasingly connected environment an innovative and three-dimensional experience. The top screen, for example, is designed at a set distance for easy viewing while driving. The instrument panel controller houses a transparent globe, which floats in the form of a hologram, in which the combination of information expresses a functional interface. The center console houses a multi-faceted crystal structure whereby the hologram controls the infotainment system for the driver and front passenger.
The technologies adopted in the vehicle also gain prominence in UX. Electro-chromatic windows and exterior mirrors are replaced by cameras and electronic mirrors sharper than the case of a conventional rear-view mirror. The images are displayed on internal screens where there is full integration to contribute with the entire ‘inside-out’ architecture of the panel design. The front passenger, who has a different experience from the dashboard to that of the driver has a separate center display strip control, embedded in the door panel, next to the armrest.
A new ergonomic approach
In a new starting point for the Lexus Human Machine Interface (HMI) concept, the ergonomics of the cockpit area flow from the driver’s body through the seat to the steering wheel. Combined with three-dimensional technology, this design approach creates an uniquely engaging driving experience.
2015 – LEXUS LF-C2 CONCEPT
Lexus presented its LF-C2 Concept, a convertible version of the RC Coupe, at its stand in the Los Angeles Show. The study, capable of accommodating two adults and two children, also comes to design the future aesthetic language of future Japanese brand launches. The roadster is 4,715 mm long, 1,840 mm wide and 1,385 mm high, being 21 mm longer, 6 mm wider and 9 mm lower than the RC. It features LED headlamps, a prominent interlaced mesh front grille, 20-spoke dual five-spoke wheels, four-way exhaust tip and a rear diffuser. Also noteworthy for mirrors in aerodynamic format, air intakes for brake cooling and stylized rear. Inside, futuristic details prevail, with touch screens, equally tactile central console, LED ambient lighting and two-tone leather seats, contrasting with an analog clock. Details on the engine have not yet been released, but if the concept is produced in the form of RC Convertible it may be equipped with a V6 3.5 or a petrol 2.5 hybrid.
2015 – LEXUS LF-LC GT VISION GRAN TURISMO CONCEPT
– The LF-LC GT “Vision Gran Turismo” will be available for free in the first semester for download
Lexus introduced the LF-LC GT “Vision Gran Turismo”, a virtual model that will be available in the Playstation 3 game, Gran Turismo 6. The supercar, designed with racing like the Super GT and the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring, will be available for free this semester. The LF-LC GT “Vision Gran Turismo” was made based on the prototype with the same name that was shown at the 2012 Detroit Motor Show. It stands out visually for the taillights that resemble the afterburners of jet planes. Its sculptural shapes come out reinforced by the aggressive front bumper, mesh grille and LED headlamps. It also has a ventilated hood, side skirts and an exhaust system with side outlets. It also enhances the rear diffuser and the gigantic rear wing.
2015 – LEXUS LF-SA CONCEPT
– The first photos of the Lexus LF-SA Concept appeared online a few days before its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show
The three-door hatchback features aggressive style design, the Lexus’ grille feature and thin LED headlights. Despite its small size, the LF-SA is full of angles and large flat surfaces, with most of the car painted in Bright Silver and parts like the ceiling, the rear fenders and the side doors painted in Matte Black. The same style is presented inside, where the decorations feature metal in addition to a head-up display. No information on the engine has been released yet, with rumors saying it will come out only in 2018.