Lexus shows way-out SUV con­cept

Motor Equipment News - - OEM -

A new Lexus com­pact cross­over con­cept ve­hi­cle, the UX Con­cept, made its world de­but at the 2016 Paris Mo­tor Show in Oc­to­ber, show­cas­ing Lexu's vi­sion for a com­pact SUV of the fu­ture.

De­signed by Lexu's de­sign cen­tre in the South of France, the UX Con­cept rep­re­sents a new step in the com­pany’s de­sign jour­ney, and Lexus says it’s a re­def­i­ni­tion of the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

The bold de­sign uses new tech­nolo­gies to pro­vide oc­cu­pants with a fully im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence gen­er­ated through cock­pit er­gonomics which flow from the driver’s body, and in­no­va­tive three-di­men­sional HMI tech­nol­ogy.

The ve­hi­cle also fea­tures a first de­sign ex­e­cu­tion of a break­through seat tech­nol­ogy, the Ki­netic Seat Con­cept, de­signed by Lexus in re­sponse to a re-eval­u­a­tion of the prin­ci­ples of car seat oc­cu­pancy.

As in New Zealand, the com­pact SUV pre­mium seg­ment is Europe’s fastest grow­ing au­to­mo­tive seg­ment, aimed at both well-heeled young cus­tomers, and those older driv­ers look­ing to down­size with­out com­pro­mis­ing on com­fort, driv­ing po­si­tion and space.

The UX Con­cept is a new va­ri­ety of four-seater cross­over which con­trasts the al­most bru­tal ap­pear­ance and real 4x4 pres­ence of an off-roader with a low ground clear­ance and a coupe-like driv­ing po­si­tion, re­in­forc­ing the dy­namic per­for­mance prom­ise em­bed­ded in the com­pact pack­ag­ing of the de­sign.

To the front, the wheel arches flow seam­lessly into the cabin to form hous­ings for e-mir­ror screens show­ing the im­age from door-mounted, rear fac­ing cam­eras. The dash­board top sits lower than these screens to com­bine a de­con­structed look with ex­cel­lent for­ward vis­i­bil­ity. To the rear, the body­work again flows into the cabin, here form­ing the main struc­ture of the rear seat head­rests.

The wheel arches, roof bars and door cam­eras are all fin­ished in the same ma­te­rial, and rep­re­sent a form of con­tin­u­ous yet in­ter­rupted “bone” struc­ture; the in­ner “skele­ton” of the ve­hi­cle com­ing into view as, for in­stance, the roof bar pen­e­trates the cabin, cre­at­ing the A pil­lar struc­ture, and re-emerges as the door cam­era mount­ing.

A fur­ther evo­lu­tion of the Lexus spin­dle grille marks an im­por­tant step for­ward, wherein the whole vol­ume sur­round­ing the grille, rather than sim­ply the grille it­self, cre­ates the iden­tity of the ve­hi­cle; a more three­d­i­men­sional start­ing point which then in­forms the shape of the body shell.

These key ex­ter­nal el­e­ments are linked to­gether by highly sculp­tural, sen­sual sur­fac­ing rem­i­nis­cent of a clas­sic sports car.

Even the body colour has been de­signed to em­pha­sise the shape of the ca rwith the newly-de­vel­oped Im­mer­sive Amethyst paint­work giv­ing def­i­ni­tion to the sculp­ture and ex­press­ing the car as a vol­ume rather than sim­ply a line-ori­ented de­sign.

A mat­u­ra­tion of the DRL prin­ci­ple, light fi­bres which span the air vents at the front bumper ex­trem­i­ties re­late in form to the grille pat­tern. The mesh pat­tern of the grille it­self spreads ra­di­ally out­wards from the logo and is picked up by the ad­ja­cent light fi­bres, em­pha­sis­ing the width of the car and giv­ing it an even stronger road pres­ence.

Even the unique tyres blur the ac­cepted bound­aries of ma­te­ri­als. The tyre de­sign it­self utilises hi-tech laser carv­ing pro­cesses to ex­press two unique as­pects. The tread pat­tern is of a sports di­rec­tion, max­imis­ing road con­tact for dy­namic grip, whilst the side wall em­pha­sises a cros over feel through unique sec­tions and seam­less in­te­gra­tion with the wheel de­sign.

A “see-through” A pil­lar com­mu­ni­cates the mes­sage of trans­parency through the use of poly­car­bon­ate fins at­tached to an alu­minium mem­ber.

In­side, the cabin of­fers two dif­fer­ent per­cep­tions of lux­ury in one vol­ume.

The front rep­re­sents ag­ile so­phis­ti­ca­tion and driver en­gage­ment, the rear – styled as a wel­com­ing, soft lounge sofa which wraps around into the rear hinged back doors – the com­fort and spa­cious­ness of a ro­bust SUV.

The front is dark, to com­mu­ni­cate a pre­mium, driver-fo­cused environment, while the rear is light and far brighter to cre­ate an at­trac­tive, wel­com­ing space.

A de­vel­op­ment of Lexus’ du­al­zone in­stru­men­ta­tion ap­proach, all on-board HMI tech­nol­ogy has been de­signed to of­fer pro­gres­sive cus­tomers who live and work in an ever-con­nected environment an in­no­va­tive, three-di­men­sional driver ex­pe­ri­ence.

The highly three-di­men­sional feel of the in­stru­men­ta­tion is a fur­ther ex­am­ple of the rad­i­cal, de­con­struc­tion tech­niques used in the UX Con­cept, the in and out flow of the me­ters – near for air con­di­tion­ing, far for nav­i­ga­tion – mak­ing the cabin space feel larger.

The up­per dis­play, for ex­am­ple, is pro­jected in such a way that it ap­pears as a far dis­tance dis­play, un­der the bon­net, for ease of view­ing when driv­ing. The driver’s in­stru­ment bin­na­cle houses a trans­par­ent globe, float­ing in the man­ner of a holo­gram, in which a com­bi­na­tion of ana­logue and dig­i­tal in­for­ma­tion ex­press a func­tional yet un­ex­pected user in­ter­face.

And the cen­tre con­sole houses a prom­i­nent, facetted crys­tal struc­ture within which a holo­gram-style dis­play of air con­di­tion­ing and in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem is clearly vis­i­ble to both driver and front pas­sen­ger.

The lat­est ad­vanced in-ve­hi­cle elec­tri­cal tech­nolo­gies are also on dis­play in the new UX Con­cept. It fea­tures elec­tro-chro­matic win­dows, and the door mir­rors are re­placed by e-mir­ror cam­era hous­ings far slim­mer than con­ven­tional mir­ror hous­ing.

All switchgear is elec­tro­static, and housed un­der trans­par­ent cov­ers. And the front pas­sen­ger, who has a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence of the de­con­structed in­stru­ment panel to that of the driver, has a sep­a­rate cen­tre dis­play track-pad con­trol built into the door arm­rest panel.

Fi­nally, the fin mo­tif used on the A pil­lar is re­peated on the dash­board to pro­vide a new au­dio ex­pe­ri­ence for the new gen­er­a­tion Lexus cus­tomer – a de­mount­able sound bar built into the pas­sen­ger side of the dash­board.

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