The Lexus LF-ZL large electric SUV concept looks set to become brand’s flagship.
The Tokyo auto show concept is similar size to a Lincoln Navigator.
Details like sliding rear doors are unlikely to make production.
Lexus unveiled two electric vehicles at the 2023 Tokyo auto show. Most attention went to the low, sleek LF-ZC which is set to go into production in 2026, but the larger and considerably grander LF-ZL SUV looks to be previewing the brand’s luxury flagship as it moves towards full electrification.
Although officially presented as a future-looking concept rather than confirmation of a production model, you don’t need to look too hard at the LF-ZL to see the production SUV that we believe sits underneath. And while many of the concept’s more exotic details doubtless won’t make the journey to reality, the basics all seem viable presuming that consumers’ appetite for grand luxury SUVs survives the transition to electrification.
The exotic details are certainly fun. The LF-ZL’s sliding rear doors open with an elaborate theatricality far removed from the sort of sliders more commonly associated with minivans, moving outwards as they roll back to improve access to the rear of the cabin—without B-pillars to get in the way. Lexus designers refused to rule out the possibility of something similar making production, although in our experience outlandish door mechanisms tend to be one of the most frequently lost details between concept and reality. But the promise the ZL’s reclining rear seats, and bamboo-detailed cabin, seem much more realistic.
The ZL’s size also suggests a production version would sit right at the top of the Lexus hierarchy. Lexus says it is 208.7 inches long, just shorter than a Lincoln Navigator, although with the lack of the need for engine accommodation allowing a slightly cab-forward stance to maximize interior room. The claimed 66.9 inch height makes it exactly as tall as the current BMW X6, although it would seem likely any production version would gain height-adjusting air springs. Regardless, the concept’s floor was impressively low, intended to illustrate the virtues of the ultra-compact battery cells Toyota will soon shift to, helping it to also deliver the most vertical as well as horizontal space.
The ZL is also demonstrating the future power of the new Toyota-Lexus Arene OS, demonstrating features including an augmented-reality system dubbed Interactive Reality in Motion which will overlay information about passing points of interest when an occupant points at the them. As with the ZC, the ZL features a yoke-type steering wheel and—in production form—would use the same steer-by-wire system.
Presuming Lexus can deliver sufficient quantities of performance and range, with confirmation yesterday that the ZC is targeting 620 miles from a full charge, the LF-ZL could become a flagship for Lexus’s electric revolution.
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