Available since 1995 when it debuted as the upscale version of the 80-series Toyota Land Cruiser, Lexus officially unveiled the fourth generation LX on Wednesday evening (13 October) as the first completely new model in fourteen years.
Now based on the 300-series Land Cruiser, and therefore inheriting the equally novel body-on-frame GA-F platform, the LX now sports a new suffix in the form of the 600 denominator that makes no reference to engine size or even output as previous generations did.
Compared to the Land Cruiser 300, the LX keeps the boxy silhouette, but incorporates Lexus’ latest Spindle Grille, new headlights with L-shaped daytime running LEDs, wider air inlets on the flanks of the front bumper and a slightly restyled bonnet.
Fitted with wider wheel arches capable of accommodating 22-inch alloy wheels, the standard being 18 or 20-inches, Lexus has also restyled the rear by equipping the LX withstyle full-width LED lights and replacing the corporate badge with block letter LEXUS badging across the tailgate.
Making an appearance for the first time in the LX’s history, the F Sport adds to the newcomer’s imposing stance in that it comprises model bespoke 22-inch forged alloy wheels, the F Sport exterior with different bumper and door sills, and a mesh pattern for the grille finished in Jet Black chrome.
Like the Land Cruiser, the LX 600’s interior rates as the biggest departure from the previous 200-series underpinned 570 with a completely new design and in some instance, features specific to it and not offered on any of its sibling’s trim levels.
In the United States, five grim grades will be offered; base, Premium, Luxury, Ultra Luxury and F Sport with noteworthy tech consisting of a new dual screen infotainment system that combines a 12.3-inch upper display with a lower mounted seven-inch not offered on the Land Cruiser.
Like its sibling, the LX retains the low range transfer case with the latter screen, apart from serving as interface for the climate control amongst others, being the display for the Multi-Terrain Select system that comes with six modes; Auto, Sand, Dirt, Mud, Snow and Rock.
Carried over from the Land Cruiser is the Multi-Terrain Monitor that uses the upper display, the surround-view camera system and the so-called underfloor camera to aid off-road driving. Adding to the off-road tech further are five settings for the Crawl Control system; Lo, Midl, Mid, Midh and High.
Touted by Lexus as being the “ultimate sport-utility flagship” it has ever made, the range-topping Ultra Luxury boasts a number of fixtures not offered on any other model.
Taking centre stage are the so-called VIP seats that reduces seating from seven to four by replacing the central seat in the second row with a rear console housing a pair of cupholders, a display screen, storage area, wireless smartphone charger and a number of USB and aux outlets.
With the third row removed entirely, the seats can be reclined up to 48 degrees with both sporting their own display screens integrated into the front seatbacks as part of the rear seat entertainment system. Also integrated are a pair of footrests, blinds in front of the side windows and jet-style roof mounted air-conditioning vents.
Reserved for the F Sport meanwhile are sport seats, F Sport badging, textured leather surfaces and a choice of two colours; Ultra White and Circuit Red.
In terms of safety and driver assistance tech, Lexus’ Safety System+ 2.5 features and comprises Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning with steering assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, Autonomous Emergency Braking with Cyclist and Pedestrian Detection, Pre-Collision Assist, Forward Collision Warning and Emergency Steering Assist.
Tipping the scales at 200 kg lighter than the LX 570, the LX 600 also been reworked underneath its skin. Aside from revised electric power steering and the F Sport exclusive Torsen limited slip differential, the adaptive variable suspension has been now been supplemented by what Lexus calls Active Height Control.
Depending on the conditions, this lowers or raises the ride height using a combination of gas, metal and hydraulic springs, the shock absorbers and a new spring rate switch previously offered on the front wheels only. Three settings are offered; Normal, Hi1 and Hi2.
Up front, the LX follows the Land Cruiser by the being the first since the original not to have a V8 engine. As such, it now derives motivation from the 3.5-litre badged 3.4-litre twin-turbo V6 that produces a similar 305kW/650Nm. Like the 300, the mill is hooked to a ten-speed automatic gearbox.
Going on sale in the United States early next year, the LX 600 has been confirmed for South Africa from the first quarter of next year.