This week we get up close and personal with the utterly massive Lexus LX 570 – an uber-luxury version of the Toyota Land Cruiser that packs all the donor-car’s off-road ability and adds a very generous helping of Lexus luxury.
As usual, just click on the pretty pictures to read the wordy bits, and take particular note of the very pretty pictures courtesy of the talented Mike Stephen – yopu can check out more of his photography at www.michaelstephen.co.nz
While large luxury SUVs are popular, most of them just don’t really do the whole “off road” thing terribly convincingly. Oh, sure the Range Rover still boasts impressive off road credentials, but generally speaking, most people who drop $180K plus on a luxury vehicle don’t tend to really want to take it too far off the beaten track.
But what if you want a seriously capable luxury off roader and aren’t a Range Rover fan? Well sir, Lexus has you covered there. The Japanese manufacturer’s simply massive LX 570 is everything anyone who wants luxury with serious ladder-chassis off road ability could ever really want. And it has recently had an extensive refresh.
L-shaped LED lights are standard fare on a modern Lexus. Along with a new, sharper face, the LX 570 also gets a new interior and a number of new features to keep it up to date with the rest of the Lexus range.
Being based on the similarly massive Land Cruiser, the LX 570 a fairly substantial animal, towering above most other traffic onto road and putting you uncomfortably at eye-level with bus passengers at stop lights. While this makes the LX 570 something of a challenge to squeeze into small parking spaces, that is about the only challenging thing about it, as it is just so damn effortless and cosseting to drive that you can almost forget about it unremitting hugeness.
Somewhere that will brutally remind you of the LX’s bulk is the petrol station, not because it is hard to squeeze into one, but because it will drain your bank account alarmingly quickly. While Lexus manage to claim a combined fuel consumption figure of 14.4L/100km with a straight face, we never really saw much better than 20L/100km during our time with it. While this may make the petrol-powered LX (there is now a far more sensible diesel version available) somewhat profligate, it doesn’t make it any less impressive in its sheer ridiculousness.
The big 5.7-litre quad cam 32-valve petrol V8 pumps out 270kW of power and 530Nm of torque meaning that, despite its not inconsiderable 2,740kg kerb weight, the LX 570 still belts along at an alarming rate.
This is where the LX 570 differs from a lot of its competition in this rarified segment, as it has absolutely no pretensions of being ‘sporty’ or even vaguely agile for that matter. Like the Land Cruiser it is based on the LX 570 is an unashamed truck. A superbly comfortable, remarkably relaxing and luxurious truck, to be sure, but still a truck. While the 5.7-litre V8 means it can get out of corners fairly quickly, going into them is best approached with a fair degree of circumspection.
While the LX has several settings for the air suspension, you really are best to just leave it in “Comfort” and treat it like a big, soft luxury truck. The “Sport” setting just makes things brittle and unpleasant without improving cornering ability in the slightest.
Superbly appointed with leather and wood, the LX 570’s interior is a mix of Toyota familiarity and Lexus craftsmanship. The superbly comfortable leather armchairs are heated and ventilated, with an automatic “Climate Concierge” to take care of that for you if you don’t want to. A heated steering wheel, wireless phone charging, a heads up display, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and a ten airbags are also standard.
One downside on the inside (that could easily lead to several downsides on the outside) is the miserably low resolution camera display on the centre screen. While the LX boasts the excellent multi-terrain monitor system that uses several cameras scattered around the exterior if the LX for both off road work and parking, backing, etc, the resolution of the cameras is pitifully low, leaving you watching something that resembles a poor phone-shot video on YouTube on a dial-up internet connection. Not anywhere near good enough in a vehicle costing $179,900. Still, if you are after a serious capable luxury off roader, very little can match the big LX’s abilities in both departments. As long as you can deal with the prodigious thirst.