By Rosie Ogden
The Los Angeles Auto Show was chosen for the world debut of the new Lexus LF-C2 concept, a 2+2 roadster design study that “captures the key themes in a strong future style direction” for Lexus.
Introducing the LF-C2, Jeff Bracken, Lexus US Group Vice President and General Manager said: “This concept shows consumers around the world Lexus’ devotion to emotional designs and its passion for an exceptional driving experience.”
The concept is derived from a pure and simple sports coupe idea, with a highly styled 2+2 layout. Designed to give driver and passenger the best top-down driving experience, it has no roof or cabin covering of any kind.
Waxing lyrical, Lexus says the exterior styling was influenced “by the way surface shapes interact with different type of light. The designers created edges, planes and curves that allow LF-C2 to project a different character when seen from different angles and in different lighting conditions. This approach, combined a layered paint process, results in a striking appearance and a progressive interpretation of an open-top luxury GT”.
The show car’s golden yellow finish was created using a multi-layered paint process. A primer coat is followed by silver, a clear coat, then a yellow which reflects off the silver to create a brilliant lustre, followed by a top coat.
Yasuo Kajino, LF-C2’s Chief Designer, said: We’ve been instinctively drawn to and inspired by those things that capture the beauty of light. When you put something in the right light, people see it in a way they never have before.”
The concept displays an experimental rendering of Lexus’ signature spindle grille design, using a braided mesh effect which the manufacturer says “represents Lexus craftsmanship”, and which changes appearance when viewed from different angles and in different light. It sits between triangular LED headlights – a shared feature of Lexus sports cars – and indicator lights that initiate a character line that sweeps through the arrow-shaped body to the car’s abbreviated tail section.
Vents in the front bumper direct cooling air to the brakes and help manage airflow to keep the front end stable at high speed.
The profile displays a sweeping line from the front bumper fin to the steeply angled A-pillar. Small vents in the side sills direct air to the rear brakes, exiting through fin-like rear diffusers. The rear end features L-shaped tail lights, chrome-tipped quad exhaust pipes and a pronounced new rear diffuser design. The concept is fitted with five-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, the cabin is spacious and luxurious, “matching the sporting elegance of the exterior”. In fact the exterior styling extends into the cabin, with the centre console originating from the rear deck in a line that runs the length of the cabin to the dashboard. The dashboard itself displays a functional simplicity with an attractive but straightforward instrument cluster, a central video monitor controlled by a Remote Touchpad and a classic analogue clock set between the central air vents. Emphasising that this is a driver’s car, there’s a thick, leather-wrapped steering wheel and form-fitting seats.
The white and grey leather surfaces are soft to the touch, and LED lights run the length of the interior below the window line.
Also at the LA show, Mazda revealed the CX-3 – an all-new crossover SUV which is the fifth model in Mazda’s line-up of new-generation vehicles to feature the full suite of the company’s award-winning SKYACTIV technology. With the global market launch scheduled for Japan in spring 2015, the CX-3 is set to become a core member of the company’s model line-up.
European models will have a choice of three engines: the petrol SKYACTIV-G 2.0-litre in two power versions and the new SKYACTIV-D 1.5-litre clean diesel. Six-speed SKYACTIV-Drive automatic and SKYACTIV-MT manual transmissions will be offered either in front-wheel drive format or with Mazda’s new-generation all-wheel drive system.
The CX-3 will also feature Mazda’s latest i-ACTIVSENSE active safety systems, and passive protection courtesy of SKYACTIV-Body. It also offers in-car connectivity with the MZD Connect system.
Infiniti gives a glimpse of the future at the Los Angeles show with SYNAPTIQ, an entry into the show’s design challenge with the theme of ‘Sensing the Future: How Will Cars Interact With Us In 2029?’
Infiniti says its designers looked toward a future in which augmented reality, 3D hologram, and wearable technologies may be a part of the everyday driving experience, “creating a seamless interaction between man and machine.”
To demonstrate exactly how these futuristic technologies could be used to make driving even more interactive, the Infiniti Design team imagined a vehicle ‘triathlon’ called the ARC Race which includes air, rally, and circuit competitions.
For each of the three races, the SYNAPTIQ design provides a universal fuselage for the driver to control each of the different air, rally, and circuit vehicles.
The first is a Formula 1-style race car competing on a road course from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Then the driver pilots an off-road racer to the Grand Canyon. Finally, the third portion of the vehicle triathlon is a radical, gymkhana-style jet air race back to Los Angeles, where the driver would manoeuvre around 3D holographic rings that mark the course.
“As designers, we are always looking toward what’s next, but SYNAPTIQ allows us to conceptualise what’s even further out for drivers in the future,” said John Sahs, interior design manager at Infiniti, and leader of the SYNAPTIQ team. “Yet, through the ARC Race concept, we were also able to imagine a way to effectively demonstrate how these technologies could be used, whether the vehicle is on or off road, or even in the air.”