Outside the high walls of a luxury bungalow, somewhere in the Jumeirah district, a board announced ‘Villa 570’ for journalists seeking the launchpad of the new Lexus SUV. Inside, amidst merry musicians and classic fare, a line of Lexus LX 2016 were awaiting their first drive.
The new Lexus LX owns its visual space, is naturally powerful and sounds, well, too nice for a V8. The list of features that turn up on the central console and the dash make this SUV unabashedly capable. Anyway, it isn’t performance that really moves you in this car. The new Lexus LX is one comfortable room with a view you would like to take anywhere you go. This indeed is the Villa 570.
Look for change
The signature spindle grille is made even more distinctive to match the platinum splendor of this car, complemented by the new triple full LED headlights. The rear falls just short of the massive impression the façade makes, at least till the time the new sequential LED turn signals come on. Their wide wingspan lights up like a dance sequence from the narrow to the wide end. The car behind won’t miss it; it could even be a bit distracting till they are around long enough. The Lexus LX 2016 impresses with 7 exterior colours, including the new Sonic Titanium and Deep Blue MC.
Authentic materials of leather, satin and metal that make up the refined new interiors are truly Lexus class. Screen sizes have blown up this time in the LX cabin. You can control or monitor a whole array capabilities from the side bar of the 12.3-inch navigation and entertainment screen – telephone, music, air-conditioning, volume and tone, even the fuel consumption – all except the excited cries of your children as you turn on ‘Frozen’ on the ‘big screen’ back there. The 7-inch screen that used to be there has expanded to 11.7 inches. The Lexus-exclusive 19-speaker Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound System configured with two channels complete the in-cabin theatre!
There are few SUVs that feel as steady and poised as they depart from standstill, or as comfortable all the way. On our return drive, I handed over the wheel to sit back and admire exactly that: the new compact and comfy steering wheel, that makes sure one of the most stately SUVs around does not feel too big.
The newly available Head-up Display (HUD) in the LX 570 puts information such as vehicle speed, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, warnings and more directly in the driver’s line of sight.
The Lexus LX 570’s formidable 5.7-liter V8 engine produces 362 horsepower and 546 Nm of torque. In comparison, the 5.6 L V8 of the Infiniti QX80 makes 400 hp and 560 Nm; while the new 4.6 L V8 of the new Mercedes GL makes 435 and 700 respectively. So what is the big deal? The advantage the new Lexus has is the new 8-speed transmission that replaces the old six-speed. This should amount to an improved power delivery with 90 percent of its peak torque available at just 2000 rpm. The fuel economy has gone up too: I could see a ‘575 km before refuelling’ on the panel. I’m sure there was still much space left in its dual tanks (93-liter main tank and a 45-liter sub tank) with a total capacity of 138 liters. It is worth mentioning that now it allows for an automatic fuel transfer to the main.
The Lexus LX looks bent on getting the good old Rangie tweet r.e.s.p.e.c.t for its off-roading prowess. The console is stacked with rocker buttons or gleaming tuners for a differential lock, low range gears, and advanced off-roading features like crawl control and ride height adjustment.
Multi Terrain Select that adjusts performance to suit different terrains like mud, sand or rock. Crawl Control that regulates throttle and brakes at low speeds, so that you can focus on steering out of a difficult situation or a slippery terrain. Turn Assist that keeps steering use to the minimum during crawls. Multi-terrain Monitor that employs four cameras including one that scans the ground…
Lexus seems to be designed for an action-packed Jebel Ali beach picnic as much as a wadi expedition in Hatta, or even a long drive to Salalah. It should appeal to adventurers who simply can’t leave their comfort behind.
Active Traction Control System. Vehicle Stability Control. Multiterrain ABS with EBD. Hill Start Assist. Trailor Sway Control. And 21” wheels for the first time ever.
Just ahead of the ‘capability buttons’ sits the padded mouse. This digital controller introduced three years ago had attained remarkable fluency the last time I tried it in the RCF; perhaps why this one felt slightly less so. Lexus has anyway tackled any possible gripe by providing ‘enter’ buttons on the sides of the mouse that can be clicked to conclude commands with greater certainty of selection.
In the comfort of safety
The very comfortable seats, even in the third row, and the large screens in the front and the rear will make this car a sure favourite for families in the region.
A pre-tensioner and 2-stage force limiter mechanism has been adopted for the front seatbelts and 3-point ELR seatbelts for all the second and third row seats. There are heated seats but I couldn’t see any massage function, bringing up the only luxury missing in the new Lexus cabin.
A new suite of safety features called Lexus Safety System + on the new LX 570 includes a pre-crash system with pedestrian detection, rear cross traffic alert, dynamic radar cruise control that works on all speeds, Lane Departure Alert, and Automatic High Beam.
Available in Premier, Prestige and Platinum, the new Lexus LX 2016 rolls on 18, 20 and 21-inch wheels respectively and is priced at AED 385000, 421K and 450,000.
Picture courtesy: Sudeep Koshy and Al Futtaim Motors