New LEXUS LX: It’s the ultimate luxury SUV. Photo by Lexus South Africa
New LEXUS LX: It’s the ultimate luxury SUV. Photo by Lexus South Africa
The LX has long been a luxury SUV icon distinguished by an indomitable duality. On the one hand, its comfortable ride quality and long list of luxury amenities have defined it as the ultimate long-range cruiser, while on the other hand its tried-and-tested off-road specifications and equipment have taken it far beyond the pavement in more than 50 countries around the globe. For its fourth generation however, Lexus has upped the ante even more by endowing the new LEXUS LX with unparalleled refinement, thanks to a full optimisation of nearly every component and the integration of state-of-the-art human-centred technology.
It adopts an all-new 20% more rigid GA-F platform, which serves as a robust foundation for its body-on-frame build alongside two brand new twin-turbo petrol and diesel powertrains. Weight is reduced by a staggering 200kg when compared to its predecessor, despite the enhanced body rigidity. And it’s all competently packaged in a radical, almost brutalist design.
By adopting a new GA-F platform and redesigning the entire framework of the vehicle from the ground up, engineers revised the LX’s fundamental characteristics and reduced its center of gravity and weight, while increasing body rigidity to achieve a smooth composure and superior comfort level, aligned to the Lexus Driving Signature. The new LX is 200kg lighter than its predecessor and this results in predictable, balanced comportment during turning, acceleration and deceleration maneuvers, as well as enhanced stability when driving off-road.
This is the first Lexus model to feature an aluminium roof, strengthened by a beading design on the upper surface. Aluminium is also used for the bonnet, side doors, back door and wing panels, while the main frame components are made of hot-stamped and high-tensile steels.
To achieve both a high level of off-road driving performance and on-road handling stability, the front high-mounted double wishbone suspension, suspension geometry and optimised coil springs offer both excellent vehicle stability and ride comfort. The suspension stroke, which is an important factor for off-road driving performance, is made sufficiently long with 100 mm of bound and 145 mm of rebound (15 mm/0.6 in longer than that of the previous model) to help achieve both exceptional on and off-road driving performance.
The capable four-link axle-type suspension with rear lateral control arms is inherited from the previous model, while the suspension arms and shock absorber layout and characteristics are refined to facilitate control of axle movement, resulting in enhanced vehicle stability and ride comfort. The rebound stroke is increased by 20 mm/0.8 in. compared to the previous model to ensure excellent road-following performance.
The rear shock absorbers are placed outside of the lower control arm, and the shock absorber mounting angle has been adjusted to match the angle at which the axle moves. This makes it easier for the shock absorbers to follow the vertical movement of the wheels, increasing their damping effect and, thus, better absorbing shocks and vibrations from the road surface to provide exceptional vehicle stability.
The LX’s new four-wheel Active Height Control (AHC) and Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) adjust the hydraulic pressure in the shock absorbers to control vehicle height and damping force in line with the driver operations and the road conditions.
In AHC operation, oil is pumped to the shock absorbers which then extend or compress to adjust the vehicle height and spring strength. Rear spring switching valves enhance ride comfort in straight line driving, reducing the roll in cornering by as much as 25% compared to the previous model, and minimising pitch under acceleration and deceleration.
The system has three settings: Normal, H1 and H2; there is also a Low setting for when the vehicle comes to a stop to make exit and entry easier. Height adjustments take less than half the time compared to the previous LX, thanks to a new hydraulic circuit and controls. Notably, the Normal height setting is 23 mm lower than before, contributing to on-road handling stability.
The system works in cooperative control with the vehicle’s transfer system in L4 or H4 ranges and with Multi-Terrain Select. When these are engaged, it will automatically adjust to H1 or H2, so the driver can enjoy rough road driving without having to select the vehicle height. When the ignition is turned off, AHC automatically moves to the Low position.
The new, lightweight system has 650 damping force levels, giving instantaneous, seamless adjustment and control in response to the road surface conditions. Together with the vehicle’s Drive Mode Select, Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) adjusts the level of damping force according to the mode chosen by the driver and the driving conditions. It has five control modes – Eco, Normal, Sport, Sport S+and Comfort; when driving in L4 range, the damping force is adjusted to increase vibration damping performance and reduce body rocking.
The AVS’ Vehicle Speed-Sensing Control reduces damping force at low speeds and increases the level at higher speeds, while Roll Posture Control gathers input from steering, yaw rate and linear G-sensors to control damping force on all four wheels to maintain vehicle posture and occupant comfort when cornering. Anti-Pitch Control helps maintain a flat, stable ride by controlling damping force under acceleration and deceleration, and Roughness Sensing Control maintains low damping force when vibration is detected, making for a more comfortable ride over uneven surfaces. The Repercussion Control reacts to vehicle body movement and shock absorber movement to smooth out the effect of even small repercussion, while Unsprung Damping Control increases damping force to suppress any resonance or rattling detected in the car’s unsprung parts.
The new LX uses a full-time all-wheel drive system engineered for robust off-road performance and on-road stability. In addition to the standard rear and centre differential locks, there is an additional front differential lock – a first for a Lexus model. A unique feature in the LX’s segment, these three electronic differential locks give the vehicle outstanding ability to deal with challenging off-road conditions.
If a wheel begins to slip or loses contact with the ground, the driver can engage the corresponding differential lock so the opposite wheel in contact with the ground can rotate and propel the vehicle forwards.
The transfer case has been revised to handle a higher drive force and deliver better efficiency; its ground clearance has also been increased by 18 mm. Strength, weight-saving and efficiency improvements have also been made to the front and rear differentials.
The status of the car’s AWD system, the differential locks and the transfer range are shown on the seven-inch display in the centre console.
The all-new Lexus next-generation interior and exterior design marries superior function with stunning aesthetic to create an SUV with road presence second to none. The front A-pillars are pulled rearward to create a cab-backward design, and a stout torso and 22-inch wheels (the largest in the Lexus lineup) express a dynamic driving image.
Mesmerising is the best way to describe its spindle grille. A three-dimensional shape comprising seven sets of floating bars creates a seamless and frame-free structure. But it’s style rooted in function: fine-tuning the thickness of each bar to the millimeter achieves arresting looks and provides optimum cooling performance for the twin-turbo engines. The side radiator grilles also have large openings to amplify cooling. (https://norvado.com)
For the headlamps, the L-shaped clearance lamps (with daytime running lamp function) have evolved into a three-dimensional shape, and their inner lenses have been doubled, with each having a different level to give a sense of depth and change depending on the viewing angle.
The sides portray a strong sense of unity and mass, with a thick, horizontal torso running the entirety of the profile, blending through to the muscular rear wheel arches. The LX’s quarter pillars narrow from the roof to the back window, while a distinct chiseled flow from the underside of the vehicle runs up from the lower edge of the rocker panels to behind the rear tyres.
As seen on the rejuvenated NX, the redesigned rear LEXUS logo symbolises the next generation of Lexus. For the rear combination lamps, tail lamps have been adopted that combine an L-shape and a continuous axial flow from the front to the shoulders and then to the rear silhouette.
New 22-inch forged aluminum wheels (uniquely designed for the various grades) employ the high contrast of black and machined brilliance, emphasizing their largest-ever sizing for Lexus.
Beyond the LX’s aluminum doors is an all-new cabin designed for the utmost in comfort and usability. Following its first application in the all-new NX mid-size SUV, Lexus’ new Tazuna cockpit concept is further evolved in the LX. Taking its name from a Japanese word that describes a rider’s control of their horse using the reins, the Tazuna design organises the principal controls and information displays within the driver’s immediate sightline for easy, intuitive operation, maintaining the principle of “hands on the wheel, eyes on the road.”
The instrument panel contrasts with traditional SUV design in having a solid, horizontal form with a slim profile, giving the driver a sense of balance, particularly in rough-road driving, and giving the cabin a wide and open feel. The lower section is shaped to encompass the driver and passengers, an effect enhanced by it being upholstered and visually flowing into the door assist grips.
The design of the centre console unit projects a sense of continuity with the instrument panel and features a seamless frame that has the strong look of a single piece of metal.
The combination meter and head-up display are centred directly in the driver’s line of sight, with a 30˚ angle below the straight-ahead for easy, instant viewing. The LX’s innovative dual-centre displays are also ergonomically positioned. The upper 12.3-inch multimedia display is brought closer to the driver, requiring less eye movement to read, while the lower seven-inch screen is angled so there is no risk of accidental operation while adjusting the upper display.
Controls and switches are grouped into clearly defined zones according to their function, so they can be used intuitively with least eye movement or changes in posture. The principle driving controls are consolidated into just three switches and two dials on the centre cluster; the driver can engage their preferred settings for the Multi-Terrain Select, Downhill Assist Control and Drive Mode using the same mode select dial. Secondary control switches, including the parking brake, brake hold, centre differential lock, VSC OFF and vehicle height selection are set lower on the console, immediately next to the driver. Toggle switches have been introduced for adjusting the climate control system, which are easier to use when driving on uneven surfaces.
The new three-spoke 370 mm diameter steering wheel has a variable cross-section and thumb grips designed to give the driver a reassuring feel of control in all driving conditions. The steering wheel heater now provides warmth around the wheel’s full circumference. Paddle shifts are fitted as standard to give the option of manual shift changes.
The shift lever has a shift lock release button, independent from the direction of shifting operation, so the driver can quickly switch between forward and reverse, even in challenging driving conditions.
Close attention has also been paid to the position of the accelerator and brake pedals, set further apart compared to the previous model for easier operation on rough roads. A more rigid and shorter stroke accelerator pedal contributes to quicker initial response and acceleration feel.
The designers and engineers worked together to create a refined cabin appearance that respects the characteristics of the different materials used for the upholstery, trims and ornamentation. The centre console and upper instrument panel present a combination of solid metallic surfaces and leather-wrapped pads, symbolising the LX’s flagship SUV status.
Surfaces that are frequently touched, such as the assist grips, have seams with raised stitching that visually sinks into the leather, adding to the authentic quality feel. On the front seats, the stitching pattern is designed to help disperse pressure on the occupant’s body, helping reduce fatigue on long journeys.
Although a large, flagship SUV, the new LX provides a car-like driving position with a more vertically positioned steering wheel, angled so that the driver feels in control, rather than having the sense of sitting above the wheel, as often experienced in other models in this segment.
The front seats are completely new, designed for optimal holding performance and comfort on every kind of drive. A broad shoulder area flows into a lumbar section designed to give the driver freedom of arm movement. Tall side bolsters reduce lateral movement, while the cushion is long and supportive to keep the driver’s posture secure when changing lanes or making turns.
The driver’s seat has 10-way power control, plus lumbar and up/down and forward/back headrest adjustment; the front passenger seat has eight-way adjustment and the same headrest position functions. There are memory settings for up to three drivers and the seats feature integrated heating with three levels and suction-type ventilation with an extra-high mode.
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True to the Lexus principle of Omotenashi hospitality, there is easy access from the passenger seat to features on the centre console, including the wireless charging tray, seat heating and ventilation controls, the climate control system and useful storage spaces. The centre console box has an optional cooling function and has a lateral opening mechanism that can be reached from the driver and passenger side.
The second-row seats have soft lines to match those in the front. They can be reclined, with a lever positioned close to the occupant’s hip point for easy operation. The outer arm rests extend across the full width of the door and have soft padding.
Integrated seat heaters and ventilation are provided and sunshades and a black ceramic treatment for the edges of the window glass protect occupants from direct sunlight.
The wide rear console has left and right air conditioning controls and two USB-C ports, plus a 12V DC power outlet. There is also an additional button to open the centre console box from the rear.
The third row of seats in the seven-seater (available as the LX 600 only) LX can accommodate two adults in comfort. Access is easier, thanks to Lexus’ first walk-in function: pressing the walk-in switch on the shoulder of the second-row seat automatically moves the front seat forward, followed by a forward tumble movement of the second-row seat. When the second-row seat is returned to its position, the front seat is also automatically repositioned.
The seats can be reclined through 10˚ and USB-C ports and drink holders are provided on each side of the cabin. A small storage compartment is also provided on the right-hand side.
Lexus has introduced a new automatic system for folding the rear seats to create a larger load space at the touch of a button, located in the rear of the boot. First, the front seats move forward, then the second-row tumbles forward before the third row folds to complete a large, flat load area.This feature is exclusively available in the urban grade model.
With five seats in place, there is room to stow five 77cm large suitcases; in the seven-seat version there is still space to carry two 58cm cabin suitcases, with all seats in use. Additional underfloor storage for small items is provided beneath the deck board in the five-seater and VIP models; in the seven-seater version this area contains a tool kit and warning triangle. The load space also has a 220V AC power outlet.
The all-new LX introduces two new-chapter Lexus engines, twin-turbocharged petrol and diesel V6 units which, although smaller in capacity than the model’s previous naturally aspirated V8 units, deliver significantly more power, higher torque and improved fuel efficiency. They also provide powerful, linear acceleration thanks to their extended torque characteristics, up to high engine speed. Both are matched to a new 10-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission.
The Lexus LX 600 is powered by a new 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine with a twin turbocharger. In terms of power and torque, it marks an increase on the performance of the previous 5.7-litre V8 engine, developing 305kW at 5200 rpm and peak torque of 650Nm from 2000 to 3600 rpm. The twin-turbo system helps secure a flat torque curve, giving extra boost at low engine speeds and easily controllable power when travelling off-road.
The engine’s design is tailored for use in an SUV, ensuring consistent performance when travelling on steep slopes or rough roads. For example, the oil pan has been designed so that proper oil pressure and flow are maintained even on slopes of 45 degrees – up/down and left/right.
The engine’s design adopts technologies developed in motorsport to achieve strong fuel economy and emissions, supported by high-speed combustion technology and world-class thermal efficiency. The twin-turbo unit gives accurate boost control using an electrically activated wastegate valve. Featuring an optimised blade shape, it boosts power while maintaining fuel economy, emissions compliance and quiet operation.
Both the petrol and diesel engines are equipped with a new electronically controlled coupling fan which helps achieve quicker engine warm-up and reduce friction losses, contributing to overall fuel economy and quieter performance while also reinforcing the engine’s durability in rough road conditions. It can operate at different speeds, rather than simply on or off, in line with the driving conditions.
The diesel V6 engine in the new LX 500d uses a two-way turbocharger and low-flow combustion technology to achieve higher output and performance than the previous V8 unit, with a maximum 225kW and 700Nm of torque.
Lexus’ first two-way twin turbo system switches automatically to single turbo operation at low speeds and twin-turbo running at high engine speeds, giving powerful acceleration response and high torque at low engine rpm.
Both engines use a new 10-speed Direct Shift automatic transmission. It is designed with close gears for rhythmical shifting, while the wide ratio range supports both power and fuel efficiency.
The transmission features a new torque converter with a multi-plate lock-up clutch, with a wider lock-up range and higher response. Although the unit features more ratios, its size and weight are near-equivalent to the previous six and eight-speed. For off-road strength, a guard has been fitted to the transmission’s oil pan.
Active Noise Control is used to counter out unpleasant booming engine noise. Noise-cancelling sound waves are calculated in line with the engine speed and noise picked up by a microphone in the cabin. These are then output through the vehicle’s audio speakers.
The V6 petrol engine’s note can be amplified with Engine Sound Enhancement, giving a stronger dynamic feel when accelerating or decelerating. It operates when the LX is in Sport S, Sport S+ and Custom drive modes.
The advanced Lexus Safety System+ technology suite includes: a pre-collision system with pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection, front and rear parking support brake (PKSB) with obstacle and vehicle detection, blind-spot monitor (BSM), All speed adaptive cruise control (ACC), lane tracing assist (LTA) and a tyre pressure warning monitor.
New across-the-range safety technologies an LX first – Intersection Turn Assist, which issues warnings and automatically brakes if, at an intersection, the car turns in front of either an oncoming vehicle in the opposite lane, or pedestrians walking in the opposite direction of the vehicle.
Another first is Emergency Steering Assist. This function aids the driver when executing an evasive steering manoeuvre by helping to maintain vehicle stability and keeping the vehicle in its lane. And the new LX comes standard with a new safety and the back under flow view, which works with Multi Terrain monitor and enhance the vehicle safety.
Every Lexus LX includes a suite of advanced infotainment technologies featuring two central screens – a 12.3-inch touch-display and 7.0-inch display – complemented by a driver display and a colour head-up display (HUD).
Voice control with “Hey Lexus!” natural speech recognition is another standard feature, as is a DAB+ digital radio, satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and wireless smartphone charging.
A first to debut on Lexus is the fingerprint identification for the ignition – up to 10 fingerprints can be registered to authorise engine start.
In terms of spec the list is endless but a few highlights include four-zone climate control, leather-accented seats with Shimamoku wood ornamentation, 10-way driver and 4-way front passenger seat power adjustment, as well as heated/ventilated front seats.
Worthy of special mention is the BladeScan adaptive high-beam system which employs a spinning blade mirror to selectively illuminate the road ahead, with the LED system broadening the range of high-beam illumination without impeding the visibility of the proceeding driver or of drivers approaching from the opposite direction. A 25-speaker Mark Levinson® Premium Surround Sound System – the most comprehensive in any Lexus – is the symbolic cherry on the cake.
From a functional spec point of view, every LX utilises four cameras placed around the vehicle to provide unobstructed views of the vehicle surrounds, clearly identifying potential hazards. The multi-terrain monitor offers front, rear, panoramic and even ‘see-through’ views, which displays a transparent image of the vehicle’s body, allowing the driver to view areas around and underneath the vehicle that cannot be seen directly.
A trailer wiring harness with towing hitch is fitted to all grades, helping to make the most of the LX’s effortless 3500kg braked towing capacity.
The five-model range comprises of the LX 500d, LX 500d F SPORT five-seater, LX 600 seven-seater, LX 600 F SPORT and the flagship LX 600 VIP (four-seater).
The LX 600 VIP becomes the new range flagship, combining the acclaimed Lexus LS-derived 3.5-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine with an opulent, exclusive four-seat cabin layout.
Independent, electrically-adjustable and heated/ventilated second-row seats deliver 860mm of legroom, a seatback with up to 48-degree recline, an independently adjustable ottoman with two-position memory, and a seven-stage massage function.
All seat functions – rear wireless smartphone charging, the four-zone climate controls and twin 11.6-inch rear displays – with HDMI, or Wi-Fi compatibility – are accessed through the centrally located rear control panel. Walnut brown ornamentation is complemented by sumptuous leather upholstery – a new Sunflare trim option is offered.
The F SPORT raises the presence of the all-new Lexus LX with a prominent jet-black grille featuring a mesh pattern and a black-plated grille frame. Satin-plated moulding is featured across the front and rear of the vehicle and F SPORT-unique alloys round off the package.
The F SPORT continues a focused, dynamic theme indoors with Hadori aluminium ornamentation, aluminium pedals and scuff plates, perforated leather-accented steering wheel and gear shifter, and sports seats with exclusive upholstery colours (F Black and Flare Red).
The F SPORT delivers the sharpest focus on the Lexus Driving Signature, featuring a rear Torsen limited-slip differential, front and rear performance dampers (bracing), Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) and a unique electric power steering tune.
Opening the extensive Lexus SUV range are the LX 500d and LX 600 models. The petrol LX 600 model come standard with seven seats.
Six exterior colours are available on the all-new LX, consisting of Sonic Titanium, White Quartz, Black, Terrane Khaki, Titanium, Manganese Lustre (new) and Graphite Black (new). F Sport grades use the exclusive White Nova and Raven Black as additional colour options.
|Lexus LX 500d||R2 507 600|
|Lexus LX 500d F SPORT||R2 517 500|
|Lexus LX 600 F Sport||R2 553 600|
|Lexus LX 600||R 2 568 700|
|Lexus LX 600 VIP||R2 986 000|
Every Lexus LX is delivered with the Lexus Warranty Experience featuring an industry leading seven years/100 000km.
In addition, all Lexus owners can sign up online for a personal MyLexus profile. This platform allows owners to quickly and conveniently access all information and services related to their vehicle(s). Additionally, all new Lexus (and Toyota) vehicles are fitted with a device that opens up a whole new world of features. Simply opt in and you have access to WiFi capability (first 15 megs free) along with a host of supplementary Connect services.
For more information on the Lexus brand please visit www.lexus.co.za
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