Concept Cars

New Lexus concept car looks like a Prius attempting to achieve Blue Steel

The design of the Lexus LF-30 Electrified looks familiar.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

Toyota is busy trying how to best move the Prius back into a cutting-edge vehicle choice and Lexus is working to figure out exactly where electrification fits into their brand strategy.

The future of the Lexus Electrified generation of electrified vehicles was shown off for the first time today at the Tokyo Motor Show … and it looks awfully familiar.

Moving forward with the progress toward Akio Toyoda's "no boring cars" mantra, Lexus says that they are engineering future electrified vehicles to focus on driver enjoyment, control, performance, handling, and mobility.

Lexus LF-30 Electrified Sharp angles and futuristic design are at the rear of the model.Photo courtesy of Lexus

On the outside, the Lexus LF-30 Electrified looks like a Prius attempting to achieve Blue Steel. It's sucked in its cheeks, pouted, and is using its headlights to take on Hansel in a runway roll off.

The paint job is a metal-infused coating named "voltaic sky," which sounds like the name of Zoolander's mythical horse.

The cockpit of the LF-30 concept is driver-focused with a human-centered design. Its seats are designed to emulate the first class accommodations in an airplane. There are next-generation interfaces, including gesture control (something BMW already employs) and augmented reality, which shows a star-filled sky, videos, and navigation on the glass roof.

Onboard AI listens to vehicle occupant voices to differentiate between them and adjusts the interior environment to match the occupant including air temperature, audio, navigation, destinations, powertrain, and suspension.

Lexus LF-30 Electrified The interior of the Lexus LF-30 Electrified shows a mostly forward thinking concept.Photo courtesy of Lexus

A Mark Levinson audio system fills the cabin with high-quality sound. Speakers are built into the headrest, something that Nissan currently offers in the subcompact Kicks.

The rear seats of the vehicle use artificial muscle technology to mold to their occupant.

Lexus has equipped the LF-30 Electrified with the Lexus Airporter drone-technology support vehicle. The autonomous Lexus Airporter is capable of independently transporting baggage from a household doorstep to the vehicle's luggage area.

Lexus has designed the car to utilize sustainable materials included Yakisugi, a charred cedar that's traditionally used in Japanese design.

Lexus LF-30 Electrified Advanced technology displays fill the Lexus LF-30 Electrified's cabin.Photo courtesy of Lexus

It features a steer-by-wire system, something Infiniti currently utilizes in their vehicles.

The wheels of the car feature in-wheel electric motors that power the BEV.

The Lexus has Chauffer and Guardian mode, which can autonomously drive the vehicle and self-park it.

Lexus plans to launch its first battery electric vehicle in November 2019 in conjunction with the L.A. Auto Show. Plans for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle are forthcoming and expected to come to fruition in the next few years. By 2025, all Lexus models will be available with electrified powertrains.

Kia has introduced a concept car that gives a hint at what future SUV design will look like.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia Motors is giving a hint of its future electric vehicle design with the debut of the Kia Futuron Concept, an all-wheel drive high-riding hatchback that they're calling a "sports car on an SUV platform."

The automaker choose the name of the vehicle because it's a portmanteau of the words future and on. They say that it will help give consumers an idea of what to expect from Kia in the future. Looking closely, it's likely that many hallmarks of this concept car will play out in future Niro designs and in a forthcoming subcompact SUV that is related to the Hyundai Venue.

Kia Futuron Concept side The high-riding coupe has sleek lines and a sophisticated overall aesthetic.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

With the design, Kia is emphasizing elegant proportions rather than funky characteristics like what you'll find in their Soul. Sweeping lines that flow from front to rear are common in modern concept vehicles and this is no exception. Kia's designers were drawn to the 360-degree styling because of its flowing shapes that easily move from the exterior to the interior, expanding and contracting.

The face of the car has a new interpretation of Kia's tiger nose grille, with a wide opening across the front of the car. That grille incorporates LED headlamps with a distinct light signature.

Kia has given the Futuron Concept an all-electric powertrain with all-wheel drive. It has a high-capacity battery (no exact numbers are available) and in-wheel electric motors.

Kia Futuron Concept top roof It features a panoramic glass roof.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The interior of the model features leaned back seats that allows for an "interactive driving experience suitable for urban city environments." The two front seats are made out of flexible materials that offer seating flexibility in the vein fo what first-class passengers would find on an airliner.

Its roof has diamond-shaped panoramic glass. Inside the greenhouse is a network of LiDAR sensors capable of Level 4 autonomous driving features.

Kia Futuron Concept seats Kia has given the SUV unique seating that is meant to provide first-class comfortability.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia touts the car's seamless cockpit area that features the instrument cluster wrapped in harmony with the rest of the car's audio and visual displays and through the steering wheel.

McLaren has introduced a new car, its lightest to date, the Elva.

Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

The Elva is McLaren Automotive's new Ultimate Series roadster. It's an open-cockpit two-seater based on 1960s design with 804 horsepower. Bite your lip accordingly.

The Elva name originates with the Bruce McLaren-designed M1A and McLaren-Elva M1A, M1B, and M1C of the 1960s, which were produced as consumer variants of the Group 7 McLaren race cars.

McLaren Elva 2020 2019 front The front of the car is very McLaren with a deep nose and minimal badging.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

"McLaren continues to push the boundaries of supercar and hypercar development in pursuit of outstanding and unparalleled driving experiences for our customers, and the McLaren Elva epitomizes that pioneering spirit," said Mike Flewitt, CEO, McLaren Automotive. "The McLaren-Elva M1A [Mk1] and its successors are in many ways the true spiritual forerunners of today's McLarens – superlight, mid-engined cars with the highest levels of performance and dynamic excellence. It's fitting that the new McLaren Ultimate Series roadster – a uniquely modern car that delivers the ultimate connection between driver, car and the elements and with that new heights of driving pleasure on road or track – acknowledges our rich heritage with the Elva name."

The Elva retains many of McLaren's signature exterior and interior design lines. It has a low nose with animalistic McLaren badging. There are also pronounced front fender peaks and at the rear are carbon fiber rear fenders that flow into the lines of two rear buttresses that deploy to activate a roll-over protection system.

McLaren Elva 2020 2019 side tires wheels A fixed windshield can be added in some markets.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

McLaren built this car to blur lines. The automaker is touting the car's "unparalleled driver engagement" and takes the stance that the absence of a roof, windscreen, and windows ensure an "incredibly immersive and enthralling experience." Cue the lambswool-lined racing goggles. A fixed windshield is also available.

The automaker has designed the Active Air Management System to deploy when the car is traveling at moderate and high speed. The technology changes the airflow of the car to keep the cockpit calm rather than the traditional rough rumble you get when you put down a soft top.

"Our mission with the McLaren Elva was to create an open-cockpit, two-seat roadster that delivers the most elemental of driving experiences," said Rob Melville, Design Director, McLaren Automotive. "Formula 1-inspired shrink-wrapped volumes create a technical sculpture that is as striking as it is remarkable, the exterior flowing into the interior in a stunning example of a new and unique McLaren 'blurred boundaries' design principle that has allowed us to seamlessly bring the outside in to further enhance driver engagement while remaining true to our philosophy of making no compromises."

McLaren Elva 2020 2019 side tires wheels roof The roofless model is a provocative design.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

It gets its power from a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter McLaren V8 that is paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. The car gets from zero to 62 mph in under three seconds. Its zero to 124 mph time is quicker than the McLaren Senna at just 6.7 seconds.

Pushing on the accelerator brings the car to life. Its Inconel and titanium quad exhaust professes a befitting throaty growl as the engine obliges.

The car has a linked-hydraulic active suspension and electro-hydrauling steering, which delivers the heightened level of feedback performance car drivers want.

This is the lightest road car that McLaren has ever built. It features a bespoke carbon fiber chassis and body, carbon fiber seats, and sintered carbon ceramic brakes.

McLaren Elva 2020 2019 back rear There is very little storage space in the Elva, but that's okay.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

It rides standard on 10-spoke ultra-lightweight wheels that are shoed with Pirelli P Zero tires. Five-spoke super-lightweight forged alloy wheels and Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires are available. A vehicle lift system comes standard.

The interior is properly appointed with composite materials and the right amount of modern technology. The car's design makes the driver and passenger feel as if they're in a cocoon. McLaren has integrated the controls for the Active Dynamics system into the instrument cluster and equipped the car with drive mode switches near the gearshift paddles.

It does not comes standard with an audio system but customers can add a bespoke one at no additional cost. A 24-carat gold engine bay heat shield and 18-carat white gold or platinum badges with a TFT inlay are also available.

McLaren Elva 2020 2019 interior cockpit cabin The interior of the Elva is finished in high-quality premium materials designed to withstand the elements.Photo courtesy of McLaren Automotive

A six-point racing harness is available.

There is storage space below the car's rear tonneau cover, which is secured with soft-close latches.

McLaren is selling just 399 Elva models, which start at $1.69 million each. The final price of each car depends on the customer's level of personalization by McLaren Special Operations.

Customer deliveries of the McLaren Elva are scheduled to begin near the end of 2020.