I heard a report a short while ago that said according to some random research, Lexus’ customer base was getting older and rapidly leaning towards the geriatric. I tell those people to tally the ages of those buying the super luxury LS sedan or the bad ass IS-F! However it seems Lexus may be taking these comments to heart since they will debut a new Luxury Hybrid hatch back at this year’s LA Auto Show dubbed the “LF-Ch”. Some might say this is an attempt to reach towards a younger market or perhaps something to appeal to the higher income bracket tree-huggers. I guess we’ll find out more once this hits the auto show floor. In the meantime check out a few pics and a lengthy press release that is sure to contain a few more tidbits.
TORRANCE, Calif. (Sept. 9, 2009) – Lexus today announced the LF-Ch compact hybrid concept, which will have its world premiere on September 15, 2009 at the Frankfurt Auto Show, will be on display for the first time in North America at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show in December.
As the latest concept hybrid vehicle from Lexus, LF-Ch offers dramatic style, premium features, an innovative drivetrain with low emissions, and impressive fuel economy in a sporty yet versatile five-door package.
“Lexus has been leading the luxury hybrid market ever since we came out with the RX 400h in 2005,” said Mark Templin, Lexus division group vice president and general manager. “To continue raising the hybrid benchmark, we need to continue exploring hybrid technology in different segments. The LF-Ch concept gives us the opportunity to gauge consumer reaction and help us determine whether or not this would be viable for production.”
The LF-Ch concept was designed by Calty Design Research Inc., Toyota’s North American-based research and design center located in Newport Beach, Calif., and will allow the brand to study the needs of young urbanites and consumer values in a compact luxury vehicle.
“The LF-Ch concept is the next evolution of the compact luxury vehicle,” said Kevin Hunter, president of Calty. “We were able to create a beautifully designed hybrid with a deep sense of mystery and intrigue.”
Designers created an intriguing contrast between the powerful, machine-like surfaces, fluid forms and details that appear hand-sculpted.
The exterior of the LF-Ch concept exudes strength and simplicity with a wide stance, broad and high-shoulders, an arching roofline that flows into the rear spoiler, and sheer surfaces wrapped in a contemporary yellow paint. To give the sporty five-door concept the illusion of a sleek coupe, designers cleverly blackened the B-pillar and hid the rear door entry button in the chrome molding.
An aggressive grille with a wide front bumper and air dam gives the hybrid concept a powerful personality in keeping with its dynamic lines. Efficient and bright LED taillights and headlamps also add to the vehicle’s personality. The concept is marked with hybrid details including its blue Lexus logo, which is shared across the Lexus family of hybrids, and hybrid side badging.
Inside, designers created an elegant cabin that is contemporary, and functional with metal and leather trim. Metal surfacing stretches the length of the asymmetric dashboard and blends with leather trim to provide a luxuriously handcrafted and soothing environment. The artistic leather, and metal detailing is also visible on the door panels, instrument panel and seats.
A blue headliner light, that borders the roof and contrasts with the yellow exterior, turns on to reveal an ambient pattern reminiscent of a sophisticated lounge. A wide grip steering wheel with integrated paddle shifters makes for a spirited driving experience. The instrument panel features two, large twin dials with a uniquely embellished turbine blade design.
The LF-Ch is powered by the latest generation of Lexus Hybrid Drive technology. A drive mode-switch allows the driver to select between four modes: Normal, Eco, and EV plus a Sport mode that amplifies throttle response for the most enthusiastic drivers.
Lexus’ Remote Touch controller with user-adjustable haptic feedback, also currently found on the 2010 HS 250h hybrid and RX luxury utility vehicles, allows the driver or front passenger to operate the navigation, audio and climate systems.
The LF-Ch has four sport seats that feature trim lighting along the cushion’s edge for cabin illumination. Rear passengers can enjoy headrest-mounted iPhone® docking capability for audio and video entertainment. In addition, the LF-Ch has storage in the rear seat armrests for small items such as iPods®, PDAs and cell phones.
“We look forward to hearing feedback on the LF-Ch,” said Templin. “We hope consumers like what they see so we can change the luxury hybrid marketplace again.”