Lexus announced the UX Concept SUV at the Paris Motor Show, but the Detroit Auto Show was the first chance for many in the United States to see it up close. And if you’re going to the show, you should make time to see it, because it’s one of the most outlandish cars on display.
From the side or the rear, the UX Concept looks like a smooth, almost bubbly crossover SUV. Then you start to see it for what it really is: a lavender colored Transformer of a car. For every one of the UX Concept’s curves, it has dozens more sharp angles, all tucked into the headlights, the silly interior, the wheels, or the massive front grille.
The inside of the UX Concept looks like a supervillain’s lair. The pedals resemble blades. The corners of the windshield appear to be decorated with a ribcage that’s been torn in half. The seats are so crazy that Lexus issued an entirely separate press release and video about them last September. I cannot recommend it enough. A taste: Lexus says the seats’ “revolutionary fiber net construction reevaluates the principles of car seat occupancy.” Wow!
Like with most Lexus cars, that grille steals most of the attention. It is massive even by Lexus standards, making the car look like it’s about to chew you up with endless rows of razor-sharp teeth. Hungry sharks have looked less imposing than the UX Concept does when the display rotates its scary front end in your direction. It’s enough to send a casual auto show attendee searching for the nearest exit faster than it takes most cars to hit 60 miles per hour.
I spent more time staring down this car than basically any other one in Detroit, if only because a new absurd detail was revealed with every rotation. I wasn’t alone: a few suits from some other car company stopped by while I was shooting. They mostly pointed and giggled. But for all their teasing, they each spent more time in silence, apparently trying to answer the same question I was asking myself: which, if any, of the UX Concept’s crazy ideas will Lexus actually use?