In the Lexus world, where the long list of inclusive luxuries are matched only by a similarly long list of Lexus service and quality accolades, a vehicle has to truly excel to be viewed as range topping.
Consider the flagship in the GS range, the GS 450h SE, with its 835 Watt Mark Levinson sound system that features 18 speakers with individual drivers in an acoustically optimised cabin. Or the IS range topper, the IS-F, which shifts imperceptibly through eight gears to best transfer its 311 kW to the tar road.
But what about the king of them all? Well, there are three kings.
First in line is the LS, the name that started the Lexus quality revolution. Built to showcase everything that this luxury brand represents, the LS is considered one of the best built, quietest and the best equipped luxury vehicle in its segment. In LS 600h guise, the LS even offers features such as active cruise control and a shiatsu massage function as standard.
Another is the LFA. Hand built, uncompromising in its use of carbon fibre and milled aluminium, the V10 LFA will be etched in memory as one of the most exacting supercars in the world.
Now welcome number three, the Lexus LX. In the world of luxury SUVs it is one of the most powerful, spacious and best equipped vehicles on the market. Reintroduced in South Africa with the new Spindle Grille design, the LX shows the versatility of the brand’s new design direction by moving away from the elegance featured on the GS into far bolder territory.
The Spindle Grille is now instantly recognisable and featured on the Lexus CT, GS and RX models.
The 2012 Lexus LX 570 boasts a host of cosmetic and technical improvements that has resulted in a distinct new look, more luxury features and even better dynamic performance. So comprehensively equipped is the LX 570 that only a single model with all conceivable luxuries is offered in South Africa – the LX 570 5.7 V8 with SE specification grade. This means that Lexus South Africa has opted to also include some of the predecessor’s Aero Kit options in the new SE model.
New to the exterior
The most noticeable visual change relates to the front of the new LX 570, where the Lexus Spindle Grille makes it appearance in supersized form. It is offset by two square bi-xenon headlights incorporating daytime running lights (DRLs) and a new bumper design. Both the headlights, with auto function, and the LED tail lights boast a new look. The HID headlights come with high beam assist, which automatically dims the high beams when an oncoming vehicle is detected. Once vehicles have passed, high beam is automatically reinstated.
For ease of entry to the luggage bay with its total potential load capacity of 1 276 litres, the rear liftgate with in-built reverse camera sports power operation. Above it a roof-mounted spoiler ensures smooth aerodynamics, while below it park sensors and pre-wiring for a towbar and trailer has been installed in the bumper. The LX 570 has an unbelievable braked towing capacity of 3 225 kg.
Prominent design features include outside mirrors with power folding and reverse auto-tilt, and integrated puddle lights welcoming both driver and passengers to the LX when the key is detected. An electric tilt/slide moonroof with one-touch opening and closing, jam protection and a speed-sensing wind deflector, lets more light into the cabin.
A new alloy wheel design characterises the 2012 Lexus LX – split 5-twin spoke, 20-inch wheels with liquid graphite finish and 285/50 tyres. A full-size spare wheel with alloy wheel is provided.
A full-house interior
Keyless entry provides access to the spacious, luxuriously appointed cabin of the Lexus LX 570, boasting three rows of seats with capacity for eight passengers who can all enjoy the lavish Lexus SE-grade equipment.
Both driver and front passenger are cosseted by electrically adjusted seats with built-in heating function – 8-way adjustment for the passenger and 10-way for the driver, including reclining, lumbar support, vertical adjustment and a cushion extender, and memory setting for the driver. The second row of seats have reclining functionality with power slide.
The centre console houses a full-colour multi-information touch sensitive TFT display screen. The driver information options accessed through this system include the Multi-Terrain Select mode (MTS) with wheel angle display, full GPS HDD navigation with voice command, use of the ventilation system and control of the standard, Lexus-exclusive 19-speaker Mark Levinson sound system with 450 Watt maximum power, 15 channels and single-feed, in-dash DVD/CD.
The display screen also houses the visual display of the Back Guide Monitor, which incorporates a rear camera system with guidelines to assist in safe reversing, as well as three additional cameras for safely negotiating parking in tight urban spots or to check obstacles during 4x4 use in the bush. These wide-view cameras are located under the front mirrors and inside the grille, providing a bird’s eye view of the vehicle from inside the cabin.
Passengers will no doubt enjoy the other convenience features, such as a 12V power outlet located behind the third row of seats in the cargo area, a second-row power outlet, armrests, cup holders, lidded storage boxes and dual rear seat entertainment system.
The rear entertainment system, yet another standard feature on the LX 570, features a DVD player, dual 7” LCD screens mounted behind the front-seat headrests, and a wireless remote control. The two independent screens allow one rear passenger to watch a DVD while another plays a video game via an easily accesible audio/video input connectors.
The LX 570 is equipped with 10 airbags as standard, including driver- and front-passenger knee airbags, front and second-row seat-mounted side airbags in the outboard seating positions, and roll-sensing side curtain airbags that cover all three rows. All eight seating positions feature three-point seatbelts.
V8 power, full-time 4WD
Mechanically the 2012 Lexus LX 570 features a powerful, 32-valve 270 kW/530 Nm 5.7 litre V8 petrol engine with dual Variable Valve Timing - intelligent (VVT-i) and double overhead camshafts (DOHC). As engine speeds change, the timing of the inlet and exhaust valves are continually re-tuned to ensure the most low speed torque, and more power at higher engine speeds.
Power is transferred to all four wheels by a 6-speed, sequential-shift electronically-controlled automatic gearbox (ECT) with paddle shift. Artificial intelligence shift control minimises unnecessary upshifts when climbing hills or on winding roads. For greater control on steep descents, the ‘box automatically downshifts to increase engine braking.
Top speed for the LX 570 is electronically limited to 210km/h.
In keeping the LX planted to tar, dirt or any other surface Lexus engineers employed a coil spring-type, double wishbone independent suspension in front, while the rear axle links to a four-link, coil-spring system lateral rod-type suspension. Four-wheel disc brakes with a multi-terrain anti-lock braking system (ABS), brake assist (BA), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), vehicle stability control (VSC), off road ready active traction control (A-TRAC), hill-start assist (HAC) and crawl control with turn assist all take the thinking out of driving on and off road and allows the driver full control of the LX 570, no matter the driving environment.
The full-time four wheel drive (4WD) system incorporates a Torsen limited slip centre differential. Power transfer between high and low range is facilitated by merely pushing a console-mounted button. A Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) with electro-hydraulic air suspension and Active Height Control (X-AHC) automatically adjusts the ride height of the LX 570 depending on load, or allows the driver to lower or increase the ride height depending on urban or off-road use. At speeds above 100 km/h, the system automatically defaults to a pre-determined lower setting.
Again all of these features are fitted as standard on the LX 570.
The electronic Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) system is designed to give the LX 570 superior performance across different driving conditions. The driver can choose between five road condition modes – rock, rock and dirt, mogul, loose rock, and mud and sand. The electronic and safety systems optimally control wheel spin to ensure only the best performance on bumpy roads, slippery slopes and steep hills.
The approach, departure and break-over angles of the 2012 Lexus LX 570 are 25, 20 and 23 degrees respectfully.
Maintenance and Service Plan
The LX 570 is covered by a 4-year/100 000 km manufacturer’s warranty and Lexus Distance Plan Complete maintenance plan for a period of 4 years/100 000 km. The Lexus Distance Plans cover all normal operating condition services for this period.