Lexus Reveals Concept for New Mini Car, the LF-SA
Now, luxury comes in a new size: mini.
Lexus revealed concepts for its new Lexus LF-SA, a pint-sized competitor in the growing minicar market at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. The LF-SA promises to be the practical – yet luxurious – solution to driving on Europe’s narrow, crowded streets.
Billed as a celebration of Lexus’ 25th year in business, the LF-SA is a unique development for an automaker whose name is usually synonymous with luxury sedans. The announcement comes after the success of BMW’s Mini series, which has made a huge impact on the market for fun, compact, youth-oriented vehicles that sell to the upwardly-mobile consumer who will eventually move into the luxury car segments.
Since the LF-SA is still a concept, Lexus hasn’t held back one bit on the car’s styling. Car & Driver wrote, “To some of us, it looks like an NX200 with only half a body.” It’s only 11.3 feet long, about 5.5 feet wide and was reportedly inspired by the spectacle of the solar eclipse. The car’s two elliptical areas within the cabin overlap, which might not be great news in terms of leg-room but promises a perfect fit for those tight city parking spaces. The LS-FA is all about the futuristic, smart car angle – its instrument panel is even a “hologram-style digital display”.
Naturally, there’s a practical side to the LS-FA concept as well: a back seat. No one ever said Lexus wasn’t daring when it comes to their vehicle design. Interestingly, the driver’s seat is fixed in place with an adjustable sterling wheel and pedals to accommodate people of varying heights. The passenger seat is adjustable too, but backseat riders will just have to show off their flexibility to get comfortable.
Any mention of powertrain is currently absent from the concept, which can be either a good or bad sign depending on the type of consumer you are. Car & Driver suggests that the LF-SA will probably debut with a four-cylinder “of reasonable output and extreme efficiency” though, since “Lexus wouldn’t want to put its name on a vehicle that was both polarizing and underpowered.” Polarizing? What great new innovation isn’t polarizing?
Admittedly, Lexus’ parent company, Toyota, floundered a bit with its own minicar experiment in the US, the Scion IQ. But with no plans so far to release the LF-SA in the US market, it appears that Lexus is being a bit more strategic. After all, smart cars are much more in demand in markets where the realities of everyday driving make them more convenient. We think the LF-SA shows some great promise.