The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2004 Detroit Auto Show: Lexus HPX Concept Car on Display

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

January 4, 2004 -- Detroit, MI -- Lexus' latest concept vehicle is making an appearance at the North American International Auto Show. Known as the HPX, or High Performance Crossover, the vehicle combines the versatility of a luxury utility vehicle and the performance of a sports sedan in a sleek and stylish package.

The HPX concept was initiated and designed by Calty Design Research, Inc., Toyota's California-based design center in Newport Beach.

"We wanted to develop a next-generation SUV concept that would help lead us into the future of luxury sport utility vehicles," said Calty Vice President Kevin Hunter. "Our objective was to look beyond the current SUV formulas and define a vehicle that expresses strong emotional styling with high levels of performance, utility, comfort and luxury. We see the HPX as an intelligent evolution of the SUV."

The current Lexus GS 430 luxury sport sedan platform provided "technical inspiration" for the HPX. The concept proposes the security of all-wheel drive with a dynamic form that yields utility and dramatic styling. The HPX is powered by a 4.3-liter 300-horsepower V8 engine, paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. It has an athletic chassis with height-adjustable suspension to match high-performance expectations. Premium levels of comfort and luxury complete the picture.

"The luxury sport utility market is growing and changing rapidly," said Lexus Group Vice President and General Manager Denny Clements. "The HPX concept is something we think would appeal to forward-thinking, affluent buyers with active lifestyles."

The HPX concept also serves as the first expression of a new Lexus design philosophy. This design philosophy is not a strict formula that will be used to calculate new forms and styles for Lexus. Rather, it is an idea that will be adapted in many forms to inject more passion into the Lexus line-up. The HPX incorporates key characteristics representative of the new approach that includes innovation, confidence, dynamic posture, intriguing elegance and the infusion of technology.

The overall shape of the HPX seeks to communicate the balance of all-wheel drive capability and the strength of the highly capable GS 430 underpinnings. The distinctive shoulder form and low-set Lexus brand grille confirm the high performance intentions. LED light modules imbedded in the jeweled head and taillights suggest a rich, high-technology look.

"We strived to convey a dynamic profile that expresses speed and agility," said Hunter. "At the same time, we also wanted the HPX to give clues to its technical sophistication."

Intended to evoke the sophistication, functionality and luxurious comfort of an executive jet, the interior is remarkably clean and uncluttered with a driver-oriented feel. The instrument panel uses advanced technology to allow drivers to customize displays and information to their needs. Readouts can be scaled, repositioned, and color-adjusted for individual preference. Small cameras situated on the side and rear of the vehicle feed their images to the front display.

A drive-by-wire steering system is employed and a single interface is used to navigate various control menus as well as the GPS navigation system.

Full volume bucket seats are provided for the front and middle rows, while a third row seat designed for children folds into the rear floor. LCD display screens deploy from the center console to provide DVD entertainment for the second and third row passengers.

"Recognizing the increasing complexity of vehicle interiors, we really tried to simplify the environment for drivers, while allowing customizing features to fit their special needs and preferences," said Hunter. "The simple, clean environment helps drivers relax and minimize distractions while driving."

"The HPX represents an innovative approach to a high-performance vehicle that combines luxury, sport and utility to help drivers make the most of every moment," said Clements.

HPX Specifications Engine: 4.3L DOHC V8 with 300 hp Transmission: 5-Speed automatic Wheelbase: 116.5 in. Length: 194.3 in. Width: 78.1 in. Height: 64.8 in. Front Tires: 265/50 21 Rear Tires: 295/45 21