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Frankfurt 2013: Burly Lexus LF-NX concept refocuses brand on younger buyers

frankfurt 2013 motor show lexus lf nx concept gives brand an additional spark 3 2

It looks like Lexus definitely got the message. Despite the automaker’s longstanding record as the top selling luxury brand, it has lately been at risk of losing its appeal with young tastemakers.

Rolling out of a month that saw a surge in sales for the IS sedan of more than 80 percent with an all-new model, the luxury automaker seems intent on building on the momentum with the new LF-NX concept.  

The compact crossover, which is making its world premiere at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, is equipped with Lexus’ full hybrid drive technology, powered by a new variant of the system specifically tuned for SUV performance, according to an official Lexus press release.

Other technology features include Lexus’ next generation in-car technology, which includes touch-sensitive electrostatic switches and a new touch-pad Remote Touch Interface (RTI) design.

Lexus-LF-NX-concept-crossover-for-FrankfurtBuilding on Lexus’ “Human Oriented” L-finesse design concept, the interior cockpit of the LF-NX has been sculpted with what the automaker describes as “bold, powerful forms,” which has become a standing hallmark of the brand. 

However, it’s the LF-NX’s exterior design that’s most impressive.
Showing hints of styling cues from the LF-A, Lexus’ $375,000 supercar, the concept is one of the most aggressive stabs the carmaker has made in years at reinvigorating the design of its crossovers.

Of course, whether or not any of it rolls into a production model remains to be seen.

Key exterior design features include Lexus spindle grille, extremely expressive signature front lighting with independent daytime running lights and unique corner styling which separates the bumper from the front wing with an aggressive vertical line.

Lexus-LF-NX-crossover-concept-rear-side-view1-796x528Other exterior details of the concept include a diamond shaped belt line, a sweeping profile and unique lamp clusters that give the vehicles an athletic stance.

Topping it off is a new brushed-metal silver exterior finish, which further enhances the vehicle’s design elements.

There’s clearly no mistaking this for past Lexus crossovers.

What do you think of the LF-NX? Too much or just right? Leave a comment below.

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Marcus Amick
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Marcus Amick has been writing about the world of cars for more than ten years and has covered everything from new automobiles…
Frankfurt 2013: Volvo Concept Coupé could help revive the troubled brand

Any thoughts I had about the future fate of Volvo take on a different light after getting a glimpse of the carmaker’s new Concept Coupe unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
OK, maybe a slightly different take.  
Amid some of the challenges the Swedish automaker has faced in recent years in trying to stay relevant, the two-door concept is an indication that we probably shouldn’t count the carmaker out just yet.
Now, don’t get me wrong.  The Volvo car, dubbed the “next generation P1800,” isn’t nearly as progressive as some of the other concepts unveiled at Frankfurt − and it’s hardly enough to save the struggling brand. But the coupe is certainly more than worthy of a second look.
Inspired by what Volvo officials describe as a “contemporary, progressive Scandinavian lifestyle elements,” the Concept Coupé is the first of three concepts that will usher in the company’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), according to the company's official press release. 
Company officials say it highlights the future design direction of the next generation of Volvo models, beginning with the XC90, which debuts in 2014.

“The Volvo Concept Coupé is no futuristic dream car. It is designed to demonstrate the capability of our new architecture: the confident stance, the proportions and the most prominent design signatures,” said Volvo’s new Senior Vice President of Design, Thomas Ingenlath. “Even though the all-new XC90 is an entirely different type of car, you will recognize the connection instantly when it is revealed next year.”
Key exterior design elements of the concept include a new face and body that depicts many of the core classic design elements of Volvo in a much more contemporary package accented by details like the new T-shaped daytime running lamp light guides.
Interior appointments include a new handcrafted leather instrument panel, inlays made of naturally aged wood and machined metal details. The concept also features a new large portrait touch-screen in the center console with an adaptive digital display and head-up display in front of the driver.
Even the technology under the hood is an indication of how Volvo is aggressively working to revive the brand.  It features a two-liter Drive-E gasoline engine with a supercharger and turbo teamed with an electric motor that gives the car a total output of around 400 hp and over 600 Nm of torque.
Of course, it’s going to take more than a high-performance cool concept to curb the troubles over at Volvo, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

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Frankfurt 2013: Mercedes-Benz dazzles with new Concept S-Class Coupé
frankfurt motor show 2013 mercedes benz dazzles with new concept s class coupe  15

If the future of Mercedes-Benz looks anything, anything remotely like the Concept S-Class unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, then you can count on much brighter days ahead for the carmaker.
Touted as a future look at next generation of the grand coupe (hint, that means "it’s coming"), the S-Class concept is absolutely stunning.  I know, how I hate using such clichés to describe a car, but the classic yet modern interpretation of the Mercedes coupé keeps urging you to pull more of them out of the bag every time you look at it.
While clearly a Mercedes-Benz even if you happened to miss the carmaker’s iconic star badge, a lot of the coupe’s classic design elements, like the hood and beltline, have been accentuated when coupled with the 21-inch wheels, giving the car  a much more aggressive look.  
Details such as the full-LED headlamps have been pushed a bit further to give the Merceds-Benz Concept S-Class Coupé a much more jewel-like appearance while staying true to its classic appeal.
Much of the car’s striking modern interpretation of key Mercedes’ design elements has been carried through in the interior with features like its “black diamond” surface that uses a process called Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) to deposit a precious metal on high-sheen chrome surface at temperatures at 1,830°F.
Staying true to Mercedes’ ties to the world of high fashion, additional interior design features include panel and seats made from the finest calfskin and silk carpet made by hand. Even the concept’s headliner is made from hand-woven silk.
Technology features include a new stereo camera that can detect road surfaces ahead and adjust the suspension accordingly and a new MoodGrid music software feature that compiles pre-selected songs from a catalogue of 18 million tracks so that the driver doesn’t have to fumble around searching through their own music when driving, because that can be such a pain as we all know.
The Mercedes-Benz Concept S-Class Coupe is powered by a 449 horsepower V8 with 516 lb-ft. of torque.
Details such as the full-LED headlamps have been pushed a bit further to give the Merceds-Benz Concept S-Class Coupé a much more jewel-like appearance while staying true to its classic appeal.

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Frankfurt 2013: Sleek Opel Monza Concept pushes in-car connectivity one step further

Seeking to establish a new benchmark for in-car technology, Opel unveiled its Monza Concept to help kick off the 65th Frankfurt International Motor Show − and it looks like the German automaker might be on to something pretty big.
Key exterior styling elements include the car’s long sleek body design and wide winged doors that, despite being very appealing as a concept, seem quite doable as a hot production car if Opel were to consider building it as a production vehicle.
A bit too futuristic? Maybe, but then again maybe not considering that car designs that were once thought a bit too far out have become part of the norm for those who crave a little more edge.
Inspired by the physique of a greyhound dog (seems a bit odd huh?), the Monza is the evolution of what Opel describes as, “sculptural artistry meets German precision” design philosophy, according to Opel's official press release.
Still, it’s the scope of the Monza’s high-tech features is where the car shines − from its state-of-the art LED projection system to an alternative powertrain that features an electric motor and a Compressed Natural Gas powered engine.
The car’s interior display features a total of 18 LED projectors with 3D graphics for optimal driver information and communication.  The Monza is also equipped with three distinctive driver connectivity features including ME, US and ALL.
ME completely dis-enables the driver’s smartphone so they can focus completely on the driving experience while US allows the driver to share information like music and images with a select group of friends or family members, chat or make appointments.
ALL opens the driver up to a wide range of connectivity features over the web to share things like a planned drive route over a tablet or smartphone for what the automaker describes as “instant car-sharing.” 
The Monza concept, which was spotlighted at a summit centered on the future of mobility at the Frankfurt show,  is powered by an electric drive motor and a CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) new-generation three-cylinder 1.0 SIDI turbo engine that provides for extended range and lower emissions than gasoline.
The Monza also showcases future technology features such as Opel’s “Car-to-Car” and “Car-to-X” systems, key elements for autonomous vehicles and automated vehicle-to-vehicle communication, which Opel is aggressively working to develop as part of its focus on future safety features.  
Futuristic or not, this is one concept that’s worth a lot more exploration as a potential production model if just for the high-tech features alone. 

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