2017 Tokyo Motor Show

Lexus Debuts Autonomous LS+ Concept With Radical LFA-Esque Looks

That crazy spindle grille and those gaping air intakes are only the tip of the iceberg.

Lexus, fat off major sales that have led it to be in the same league as other luxury players like BMW and Mercedes, wants everyone to know that it plans on being part of the future of transportation. If those radical spindle grilles and edgy designs weren’t enough to convince anyone of that, then maybe the automaker’s newest reveal at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show will do the trick. But rather than change the cars we see on the roads entirely, this LS simply hopes to improve on them.

It’s fitting, then, that this Lexus concept garners the name LS+ to denote the various technological and stylistic upgrades that make up the rough draft of Lexus’ next LS. Up front, Lexus used slick lighting to accentuate the fact that it made the LS+’s front fascia look LFA-esque, albeit with sharper edges, a larger air scoops, headlights (and taillights) supplemented by laser lights, automatic mirrors, and a larger spindle grille with active aerodynamic shutters that can open and close to slick up the body and save fuel depending on cooling needs. The sides also get more prominent edges while pizza dish-sized wheels fill the arches. At the rear is an elongated tail topped off by exquisite and attention-grabbing taillights.

So what’s the dramatic look supposed to achieve? For one, it tells onlookers that this Lexus is piloted by intelligent onboard computers. It’s a testament to how rapidly technology is evolving that Lexus claims these autonomous features—which will pair existing abilities to stay within a lane, keep a safe distance from the car in front, recognize road conditions, and make judgements according to that information with artificial intelligence that learns from “big data” as well as the roads and surrounding areas to improve autonomous drive functions to near perfection—will be ready by the early 2020s. Yes, the world is changing fast but Lexus doesn’t think that means the love of cars is going anywhere anytime soon.

Lexus even touts the fact that the LS+’s ability to learn and grow with its owner’s driving will improve the emotional bond between car and driver. That remains to be seen, but we won’t put it past Lexus to be right on this one.

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