Making its world debut at the Frankfurt motor show, the Lexus LF-Ch full hybrid concept is the company’s first approach to the competitive European premium compact segment.
It reflects the growing demand for cars that are smaller and more fuel and CO2 efficient, but with no compromise in levels of refinement and driving pleasure. By next year the compact segment is expected to claim the largest share of the European premium car market.
The LF-Ch concept reaffirms Lexus’s commitment to Europe, combining compact dimensions, stylish five-door packaging, full hybrid technology and low emissions to satisfy the most demanding customer requirements and appeal to a younger generation of customers.
The LF-Ch concept has a bolder Lexus grille design above a deep, full-width bumper and air dam, giving a balance of precision and power. The sharply sculpted, aerodynamic front fenders overlap the bumper to create deep brake-cooling intakes and give the LF-Ch a purposeful wide-track stance.
In profile, the tapered side glazing, a muscular, rising beltline and a sharply truncated rear overhang project the car’s premium compact character. The steeply raked front screen, long flowing roofline, blacked-out B-pillars and rear door handles integrated in the C-pillar trim combine to give the appearance of a pillarless coupe.
At the rear, the trailing edge of the roof overhangs the rear window to create an integrated rear spoiler. The tailgate section has a pronounced step, which flows from the muscular wheel arches and is anchored by the wraparound tail lamp design. Aerodynamic detailing of the lower bumper smoothes airflow from beneath the car and feeds ventilation to the rear brakes.
Subtle finishing touches include discreet Lexus hybrid badging and sharply tapering chrome moldings.
The principles of L-finesse are carried through to the interior where hand-crafted quality in the detailing creates an efficient and elegant design.
The cabin features a strongly asymmetric dashboard that is driver-focused. For example, when the car is started a greeting is presented on the navigation screen and an ambient lighting pattern appears in the headliner, creating a sophisticated lounge feel.
Extensive use of semi-aniline leather, polished aluminum, wood and soft-touch materials reinforces the in the dashboard, door panels and seating. The design of the seats is inspired by high quality furniture, with exposed metal frames, lightweight leather and grained black wood used in layers, shaped to reflect the nature of each material.
The driving position is low, with a thick steering wheel with paddle shift controls and an instrument binnacle housing twin dials embellished with a turbine motif.
To help keep the driver’s focus on the road ahead, distracting instrumentation and switchgear has been kept to a minimum by using Lexus Remote Touch controls, first seen in the RX 450h. Using a multi-information display on top of the dashboard, Remote Touch works like a computer mouse, letting the driver access control and customize a range of information, entertainment and vehicle set-up programs.
Allied to a wide track, long wheelbase and low center of gravity, the LF-Ch’s hybrid powertrain is engineered to deliver the performance customers expect from a premium compact hatchback, while returning low fuel consumption, CO2 and NOx emissions.
With the benefit of the full hybrid technology of Lexus Hybrid drive, the car can be driven in an electric EV mode, a power option that is not available to drivers of mild hybrids. This allows for urban driving with minimal noise and zero emissions.