Lexus LF-1 SUV likely to get turbocharged V6

Lexus LF-1 Limitless front three quarter

The Lexus LF-1 SUV concept looks likely to get Lexus’ new twin-turbocharged V6, as well as the hybrid V6 found in the new Lexus LS sedan, when it goes into production.

No-one from Lexus will yet confirm that it has had the green light, thanks to the global roll-out of the flagship sedan program, but sources at Lexus have told SUV Authority that the same drivetrains will most likely end up in the LF-1 SUV when it does go into production.

With the crossover based on a large rear-drive platform, it’s said to have a similar layout to the LS Sedan. The word “Limitless” in the concept’s name refers to the flexibility of the platform, and Lexus confirmed that LF-1 uses Toyota’s GA-L platform, on which the LS is based.

Lexus LF-1 Limitless front view

This means that although Lexus wouldn’t confirm what engine was under the bonnet of the LF-1 SUV, it makes sense that the production version will end up with the twin-turbo V6 and the V6-hybrid setup.

The 3.5-litre turbo V6 makes 310kW (415hp) and 600Nm (442lb ft) and is backed up by a 10-speed direct-shift automatic.

The hybrid, meanwhile, couples a different 3.5-litre V6 with electric drive to make 264kW (354hp) combined.

Other drivetrains, like a plug-in hybrid will come later down the line. In the meantime, the US arm of Lexus is desperate for it to be confirmed for production.

Lexus LF-1 Limitless side view

Some existing parts would have to be refined for production – the doors, perhaps – but according to Calty Design Research Incorporated (Toyota’s Californian design studio), it’s all within reach.

Speaking with Motor Trend, Calty’s president, Kevin Hunter, said that it’s a car that is needed.

“This will not be a stretch to build,” said Hunter. “The reality is, we could use this in our lineup right now. This is a category we’re desperate to be in. So why waste time?”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Jeff Bracken, Lexus’ general manager of the US.

“We have to build this vehicle,” said Bracken at the Detroit motor show, telling Wards Auto that “we couldn’t be happier if we turned this into a production vehicle.”

With the brand showcasing the concept as an effective flagship, if the SUV did become a reality, it would be the new top dog in the Lexus lineup.

By adding all-wheel-drive and reshaping the vehicle – the roofline doesn’t begin sloping until after the rear passengers’ heads – the LF-1 is far closer to being a proper passenger vehicle than it first appears.

How far away would it be? Lexus hasn’t said, but you could expect the LF-1, or something very much like it, to hit showrooms in 2020.