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New York show: Lexus goes GT with its GS concept

Hybrid tourer: The Lexus LF-Gh concept is the forerunner of the next-gen GS model.

Grand tourer Lexus LF-Gh concept revealed as Toyota prestige brand shows new face

13 Apr 2011

MEET the new Lexus bad boy with the heart of gold – the LF-Gh hybrid. Toyota’s prestige arm has shown the full exterior design extent of its grand tourer concept ahead of its debut in the flesh at next week’s New York motor show.

Just days after revealing teaser images of the rear-drive hybrid LF-Gh – the forerunner to the 2012 Lexus GS – Lexus has released undisguised images and further details of the electrified BMW 5 Series competitor.

As expected, the front fascia of the concept is dominated by an aggressive black Darth Vader grille – described by Lexus designers as “a spindle-shaped grille that projects a resolute look” – that Lexus promises will be a key feature of future Lexus models.

A total of six blue-tinged LED headlights are the other most pronounced feature of the front, along with the obligatory L-shaped LED running lights and blue-hued Lexus badge that signifies a hybrid powertrain.

LED fog lights line the vertical edge of air scoops in the front air dam. Lexus says air flows in through the slimmer front inlets and exits through similar slim outlets at the rear that follow the curve of the tail lamps.

31 center imageThe images also show in more detail the rear styling with its swirl-effect taillights that intrude into the boot lid, and the up-turned ducktail boot lip for aerodynamic effect.

The twin exhaust tailpipes have been minimised in the rear bumper to play down the role of the petrol engine in the hybrid powertrain.

The side view shows a clean silhouette with a plain panel presentation, minus flourishes except for a sculpted side skirt. Lexus says the main focus here was exploring ways to minimise door mirrors and handles to enhance overall sleekness and improve aerodynamics.

Among the few new technical details announced for the car are the dimensions, which reveal the new model is bigger in most directions than the current GS – 40mm longer at 4890mm, 30mm wider at 1870mm and taller by 20mm at 1450mm.

However, the wheelbase remains the same, at 2850mm, indicating the new GS might be built off essentially the same platform as the current car.

The concept car rides on 20-inch twin-spoke alloys with 245/35 tyres on the front, and with 285/30 rubber on the back.

Seating of the concept is said to be for four, but expect five-seat accommodation like the current car when it hits the showrooms.

Lexus has kept its powder dry on other details such as the suspension and powertrain, although hybrid power is a given.

The current Lexus GS450h has a petrol-electric drivetrain comprising a 3.5-litre V6 and an electric motor with a total output of 254kW and combined fuel consumption reading of 7.9 litres per 100km.

Lexus says the concept has been conceived as a redefinition of the luxury grand tourer, with a clean sheet of paper approach to design.

“The aim was to produce a perfect blend of style, performance, efficiency and environmental compatibility, while introducing the benefits of advanced, new technologies,” it says in its media release.

“The design process has brought about a refinement and evolution of Lexus’s L-finesse design philosophy – established since 2001 – with a bolder and more distinctive projection of what a premium segment model could become.

“As a result, original ideas included in the new concept may migrate to future Lexus production models.”

Lexus says the LF-Gh has been designed as a high-performance concept that can deliver an inspiring driving experience, carrying passengers in comfort over long distances.

“It combines presence and emotional appeal with functionality, offering enhanced creature comforts and load space big enough to carry luggage for an extended trip,” Lexus says.

“The car’s bold, wide stance reflects its strong dynamic performance. Built on an agile, rear-wheel drive platform, it offers generous interior space for four occupants within a distinctive, long greenhouse design. The LED lighting is a clue to the range and scope of new materials, electronics and dynamic systems incorporated in the LF-Gh.”

Although only a couple of glimpses of the LF-Gh’s interior have been shown in the images, Lexus describes it as “a future Lexus interior, in which every detail has been newly scrutinised to create an environment that is driver-orientated”.

Lexus says a new analogue clock with a three-dimensional face serves as a focal point for the cabin and represents another shift in Lexus’s design philosophy.

“The space is finished in high-quality materials with finely honed detailing, designed to respond to the demands of customers who know and appreciate true quality,” it says.

In Australia, Lexus GS sales were down 36.6 per cent in the first quarter of this year, with only eight finding new homes in March.

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