Luxury has a new name.
Lexus first teased the new LX in June, but it revealed next to nothing besides the lighting signature of the flagship SUV. Nevertheless, we had a crack at rendering its design while we caught up with all the rumors on the luxury off-roader. After much anticipation, we finally got a decent teaser last week, along with the news that the all-new 2022 Lexus LX would arrive very soon. Finally, the wait is over and Lexus has revealed the LX 600 in full. Right off the bat, there's no denying that this looks modern but massive. Does it have the substance to support that intimidating size though? Let's see.
Lexus says that it has totally redesigned the vehicle from the ground up, inside and out. With its “newly reengineered body-on-frame platform, avant-garde style, and luxurious cabin,” Lexus calls this the ultimate sport-utility flagship, and it has a lot to live up to. As of August this year, Lexus has sold over half a million LX models across the globe. Now in its fourth generation, it's become better than ever. On a new GA-F platform that is 20% more rigid than before with a weight drop of 441 pounds, the new LX should handle better too, despite its impossible-to-ignore size.
Under the skin, Lexus has fitted a 3.5-liter V6 twin-turbo engine that is smaller than the outgoing V8 but more powerful. It generates 409 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, with the latter figure available up to around 3,600 rpm for better on-road and off-road performance. Handling shifts is a Direct Shift-10AT torque converter transmission that promises “manual transmission-like direct acceleration” by activating lockup in almost its entire range of operation besides when starting from a stop. In tenth gear, you can expect unparalleled refinement and much better fuel consumption. Lexus has also fitted an oil pan guard to the lower body of the transmission to help you conquer the trails.
Other features designed to improve comfort and performance include a new Active Height Control system and Adaptive Variable Suspension that feature softer springs, contributing to “improved grip, traction, and control.” Lexus says that this counters the body-on-frame design's flaws, resulting in impressive vehicle control and excellent comfort all at once. The Active Height Control system also includes a Low setting to make getting in and out easier. A Torsen limited-slip differential on the F Sport trim improves handling too. The optional 18-inch or 20-inch wheels make the most of the LX's abilities, but those who wish to show off can go for 22-inch forged aluminum wheels, the largest in the Lexus offering.
Other advancements for improved driving performance include Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control, as well as a Multi-Terrain Monitor and the LX's first-ever dual display. Navigating tricky trails or backing into tight parking spaces has never been easier. With all these advances, it's interesting that Lexus has retained the same 112-inch wheelbase from the original 1995 model, but the automaker calls this a “golden ratio.” The same approach, departure, and breakover angles as the last model remain, along with a climbing ability of 45 degrees and a maximum water fording capacity of 27.5 inches. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
The LX isn't only about off-roading though, and now boasts a trim called Ultra Luxury. This model can have the front seat move forward and the rear seat reclined by up to 48 degrees, giving the LX hitherto unseen rear passenger comfort. The rear seat display can also fold down for better visibility, “offering an airy VIP seating experience with a maximum leg space of 43 inches.” Even a footrest can be deployed, and all this is controlled at the push of a single button in the rear control panel.
The seats themselves have been designed to wrap around the head, hips, and lower body, helping minimize the effects of lateral G-forces or irregular road surfaces. They’re also intended to improve your posture, while sunshades on the rear windows, reading lights, and overhead ceiling vents for the climate control system enhance comfort like never before. You also get access to wireless charging back here, cupholders that can be converted to a note table, a console box for storage, DC power, and USB & headphone jacks.
Onto tech, and the LX boasts 19.3 inches of screen access thanks to a 12.3-inch upper screen and a seven-inch lower screen that are “designed to inform, not distract.” The larger screen handles navigation, audio controls, and the Multi-Terrain Monitor during off-roading, while the lower screen takes care of climate control and acts as a support screen for the terrain monitor. This monitor can even see so-called “transparent underfloor images,” superimposing the image of the vehicle and wheel position over images of the floor. In other modes, the vehicle can be made transparent and an image of the area around the wheels is magnified. This makes navigating on tight paths easier and allows drivers to avoid obstacles that would otherwise be unseen.
The infotainment system, called Human Machine Interface, is said to offer improved responses to touch and voice prompts and is easier to read, while an optional 25-speaker Mark Levinson Surround Sound system promises excellent audio. Lexus Interface User Profile allows you to save your personalized settings in the cloud, with these accessible via a Bluetooth device, smart key, or manual login.
The F Sport trim with its mechanical LSD is also new for the LX. This is where you get those exclusive forged 22-inch wheels, along with an F mesh design spindle grille surrounded by a jet black chrome frame. Inside, the steering wheel and shifter get textured leather while F Sport badges remind you which vehicle you're in. Special seats are also fitted to better hold you in place, which you'll need if you intend to take advantage of the uniquely tuned performance dampers and rear stabilizer. The power steering and adaptive suspension offer improved responses too, while F Sport-exclusive Ultra White Paint and Circuit Red interior upholstery add to the occasion.
All LX models boast “three-dimensional” headlights with double inner lenses for more visual depth, while muscular wheel arches and narrowing quarter pillars add a modern look and feel. The rear boasts the redesigned 'LEXUS' script first shown on the NX, along with new combination lamps with an L-shape that matches that of the headlights.
As for safety, you get Lexus Safety System+ 2.5, offering forward collision detection with automatic emergency braking and detection of both pedestrians and cyclists. This has been enhanced to expand the response range, even in low light. Other features include emergency steering assist, full-speed dynamic cruise control (from 30 mph up), lane keep assist, auto high beams, and traffic sign recognition.
The new LX looks like a powerhouse of all the luxury and tech you could ever hope for, but we'll give our full verdict once we drive it. If you want to get behind the wheel, it arrives in US dealers in the first quarter of 2022.