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Lexus LF-1 Limitless Boasts Unlimited Potential for Future SUV

img567976137 1516025307254 jpg Lexus LFf-1 Limitless Concept | Manufacturer image

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Looks like: A mashup of the RX crossover and a wagon

Defining characteristics: Split rear spoiler, giant glass roof

Ridiculous features: No side mirrors; uses cameras with displays next to the wheel instead

Chance of being mass-produced: Very likely, as Lexus needs a new flagship crossover that’s not based on the Land Cruiser, but the futuristic technology likely won’t make it

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Lexus’ current flagship SUV, the Toyota Land Cruiser-based LX 570, is kind of a dinosaur. It rides on a traditional SUV platform and offers tons of off-road capability, but with SUVs now firmly entrenched into urban life and not just the outdoors, it’s time for Lexus to come up with a new flagship. To that end, the luxury brand has introduced the LF-1 Limitless.

Related: More 2018 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

The fun thing about Lexus is that we have to take their concepts seriously now. The LC 500 came to market in almost exactly the same style as its concept, which looked outlandish at the time. So a new flagship crossover that keeps the same styling and shape as the LF-1 Limitless is definitely not out of the question.

The LF-1 has giant 22-inch wheels and sleek styling that brings to mind the Jaguar F-Pace, which seems to be the direction in which SUVs are headed. Viewed from the beltline up, it looks more like a wagon, with a shortened cabin resembling an RX 350 that went through a crusher about halfway. A very long hood is fronted by an updated version of Lexus’ spindle grille that is chrome-free; the LF-1 uses LEDs mounted around the grille to give it the requisite concept bling.

One other thing you may notice is that there are no side mirrors on the LF-1 Limitless; it has cameras mounted high up on the front fenders, which feed small monitors that sit on either side of the instrument panel and give the driver a live view of what’s happening on both sides. The roof structure is split in the middle, which gives the LF-1 what amounts to a glass roof. This split is reflected in the spoiler, as well.

Inside, it’s a different story. I’m not sure how much of this will make it through to production, starting with those seats. The LF-1 has identical seats at all four seating positions, so backseat folks don’t feel left out and get the same level of comfort as their friends upfront. There are also individual screens mounted in the back of the front seats to provide individualized entertainment. Both the front and rear spaces feature center-mounted touchpads to control various car functions, with the front pad providing inputs for the large center mounted screen, which sits high up on the dash. The system will also accept motion controls, according to Lexus.

In front of the driver, things are different, too, beyond the side-mirror screens. The traditional column center has been reimagined, and the familiar PRND controls are mounted as buttons on the steering wheel. Lexus says the LF-1 Limitless will feature a new four-dimensional navigation system, which takes into account the time it will take to complete a journey and tries to anticipate the needs of the driver by building in fuel stops, rest breaks, and even offering hotel reservations and restaurant recommendations.

I’m more confident that the LF-1’s styling will make it through to a production model than the technology inside, but I’m excited either way. This is the start of a very good-looking SUV — so here’s hoping it reaches the finish line in similar form.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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Former L.A. Bureau Chief Brian Wong is a California native with a soft spot for convertibles and free parking. Email Brian Wong

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