The new Lexus UX concept has bowed at the Paris motor show today, revealing a first look at the company’s plans for a new compact SUV.
The Japanese luxury marque says it is aiming the UX concept at new, younger, “ever-connected urban customers”, a group it hopes to win over for the first time. Fair enough, too, with the brand often seen as a favourite of older buyers.
No surprise then that the car maker’s ED2 studio in the south of France has pushed for an even edgier design than that already worn by its larger NX and RX models, while at the same time introducing some surprisingly traditional elements.
The brand’s now familiar sharp angles remain a feature, but the UX also features a long bonnet and back-set cabin, set weightily above the rear wheels, all working to create a strangely ‘old school’ rear-wheel-driving coupe look.
But, while no technical details have been revealed, we shouldn’t expect this small urbanite’s-runabout to debut with anything quite as enthusiast-focused as a rear-spinning setup.
“The biggest challenge for any designer is always to create something new and original, yet with relevance to both the customer and the brand,” said Simon Humphries, President of ED2.
“Overall, this is a product which gives another hint of the potential for Lexus’ design approach to satisfy those criteria. The expression of a progressive, strong yet artistic, and premium product which further enhances Lexus’ unique and challenging brand position.”
Interestingly, Lexus may have been inspired by the web and app development concept of ‘UX’, or ‘user experience’, in detailing its new concept’s interior features – or its Human Machine Interface as Lexus is fond of describing it.
Pushing the bounds of production potential, the US concept’s interior features 3D displays for its instrumentation and infotainment systems.
Beneath the instrument binnacle is found a transparent globe that appears to like a hologram, displaying data in both analogue and digital styles.
In the centre, a large crystal structure houses another holographic display, this one for climate control and infotainment. There are Remote Touch control pads located on the both the centre tunnel and driver’s side armrest.
Other features include electrochromatic windows that can adjust their tint automatically depending amount of natural light outside, electrostatic switchgear, a removable sound bar, and cameras and in-dash screens that replace the traditional wing mirrors.
According to Stephan Rasmussen, who headed up the UX Concept design team at the company’s European design studios, the brief they were handed for the vehicle was to “create something unique from a customer’s point of view: an innovative, three-dimensional, fully immersive user experience”.
The UX measures 4400mm long and rides on 2640mm wheelbase, compared to the NX SUV’s 4630mm length and 2660mm wheelbase.
Although Lexus hasn’t said so yet, the UX Concept likely hints at a new small SUV that will sit underneath the NX and RX crossovers. In all likelihood, a production version of the UX will be based on the upcoming Toyota C-HR.