Given the price of petrol these days, the biggest SUVs only appeal to customers in places like the Middle East and USA where big engines are still acceptable. So for the all-new Lexus LX 600, the Middle East was chosen as the location from which the new flagship of the brand’s SUV range was revealed to the world.
It’s an all-new model but it is also no secret that the LX 600 is a model Lexus shares with Toyota’s latest Land Cruiser. This has been the case since the mid-1990s when the Land Cruiser was first ‘Lexified’ to enable Lexus to quickly have a fully-fledged SUV (before they came out with the game-changing RX in 1997).
New GA-F platform shared with Toyota Land Cruiser
Like the Land Cruiser, the LX has been developed on core attributes such as reliability, durability, and rough-road driving performance. The fourth generation continues with a body-on-frame construction and rides on the new GA-F platform which is 20% more rigid. Thanks to the new structure and weight-saving approaches like aluminium doors, the new LX 600 is 200 kgs lighter than its predecessor. This has helped to improve driving dynamics, with predictability and balance during turning, acceleration and deceleration maneuvers, as well as improved stability when driving off-road.
Lexus Driving Signature
Though much will be the same as the Land Cruiser, Lexus engineers have always contended that a Lexus will have a difference in dynamics and other aspects. In this case, the engineers have made sure that the new LX 600 has the Lexus Driving Signature.
The suspension is classic SUV with front high-mounted double wishbones that are fitted with dampers having 100 mm of bound and 145 mm of rebound, important factors for off-road driving performance. At the rear is a 4-link axle-type suspension with rear lateral control arms carried over from the previous model.
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 very good vehicle stability.
To have capable off-road performance as well as the sort of comfort Lexus owners expect, a lot of work went into the suspension with the inclusion of variable ride height and adding a spring rate switching device for front and rear wheels. The ride height can be automatically adjusted or manual selected and not only adjusts the vehicle height but also responds to changes in vehicle posture to enhance stability.
The springs are softened to help provide a comfortable ride when overcoming bumps during in-town driving and are stiffened to help ensure a flat and stable ride when going around curves. When at a total standstill, the suspension automatically lowers for easier passenger entry or exit.
The power steering is assisted by an electric motor while the Electronically Controlled Brake system employs a sensor to detect the degree of brake pedal depression and creates braking force with the hydraulic brakes for more linear braking characteristics.
3.5 litre V6 in place of 5.7-litre V8
The new LX 600 will be offered with a 3.5-litre V6 twin-turbo petrol engine which replaces the naturally aspirated 5.7-litre V8 used before. Though having smaller displacement, its output is higher with turbocharging, with 415 ps/650 Nm. This goes through a 10-speed direct-shift automatic transmission with a transfer case for high and low ranges, the latter for off-road use. Having 10 ratios means that performance can be optimized when starting as well as when cruising at higher speeds. The wide spread also allows for smoother transitions between gears.
Exclusive to F SPORT, a Torsen LSD is employed to help ensure traction performance of the rear tyres. When accelerating during a turn, it optimally distributes the driving force according to the load on the rear left and right wheels to achieve a high level of control performance. In straight-line driving, it responds to changes in road conditions, contributing to stability.
Ultra Luxury 4-seater version
Like the LM 350 MPV, the new LX 600 also has a version with just 2 seats for the rear section of the spacious cabin that normally has 3 rows of seats for 7 persons. Available in the Ultra Luxury grade, it offers rear occupants up to 1.1 metres of maximum leg space. The seats have exclusive curved headrests, seatbacks and cushions that gently wrap around the head, hips and lower body. They should offer the ultimate in seating comfort as they are said to be crafted to help offset any lateral G-forces and shocks from irregular road surfaces – even in off-road driving conditions.
At the front is the North American-developed Lexus Interface multimedia system. This has a 12.3-inch upper touchscreen with a 7-inch lower touchscreen. The screen’s new Human Machine Interface (HMI) enhances user interaction through sight, touch and voice, while balancing accessibility needs.
Lexus Interface incorporates a new Voice Assistant developed with a human-centered approach. The Voice Assistant is intended to be the primary way the occupants interact with the new multimedia system. Designed with dual microphones with speaker location capability and enhanced noise-cancellation, the system enables a voice-first approach allowing front seat occupants an expanded and interactive experience to access navigation, media, phone and other vehicle control settings.
When off-road, the driver has the Multi-Terrain Monitor to see around the vehicle. Four cameras capture images to allow the driver to check road conditions, which are often in the blind spots. By switching to the Back Underfloor View, images of the foreground taken in advance are provided to the driver as transparent-underfloor images. By superimposing the vehicle and wheel position over this image, the driver can check underfloor conditions and front-wheel position. In another view, the vehicle is made transparent, and an image showing the area around the rear wheels is magnified. This can enable the driver to ascertain conditions around the rear wheels and estimate distances to obstacles.
Pricing for the new LX 600 is not available yet and deliveries will only begin in the first quarter of 2022. As it has for the past 26 years, the new LX will continue to be a luxurious long-range cruiser with proven off-road capabilities.