Lexus Tries a New Angle, Loses a Mouse

Even with a matte finish, it's razor sharp

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The Frankfurt Auto Show is awash with compact crossover concepts this year, but the most eye-catching one was unveiled at the Lexus booth.

Surprised? You shouldn't be. The staid Japanese marque has slowly been injecting some soul into its products, and the new LF-NX concept is possibly the most radical yet. Whether you love it or loathe it, designers have certainly paid some attention to giving it a distinctive exterior.

Lexus may have been late to the compact crossover party, but at least they did it fashionably. According to Lexus Europe boss Paul Van Der Burgh, the brand is planning on debuting such a vehicle, and the LF-NX "explores design possibilities for such a future crossover," and other upcoming cars.

Say the name fast and it sounds like "Elephant-X." Heavily creased and finished in a dark gray that Lexus calls "brushed metal silver," the comparison is apt.

Still, it's easy to see how the LF-NX could make it into production. Just soften the angles a bit—particularly the harsh creases at the rear fender—and the family resemblance to the new IS and GS is clear.

The interior doesn't look too far from that of a production car, either. The LX-NF has a new version of Lexus' Remote Touch infotainment setup, and uses a touchpad instead of a mouse. Just as on a laptop, you drag your finger until you hit the selection you want. Then, just tap the touchpad to select it.

Orange piping contrasts with dark leather seats, and a large waterfall center console bisects the dashboard. The large screen at the top of the dash appeared to be running a new version of Lexus' Enform infotainment system, but this is a concept car after all.

We weren't surprised to hear about a hybrid powertrain under the hood, as Lexus has been bullish about its 2.5L battery-and-gas setup—even debuting it on a more economical GS300h here in Frankfurt. It's likely that any production version would carry that over.

With Lexus' long history in hybrids—the RX is their biggest seller, according to Paul Van Der Burgh—and the expected growth of the compact crossover segment, putting an LF-NX-inspired vehicle into production is a no-brainer.

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