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China to get Lexus version of Prado

Upper class: The new Lexus GX460 will be aimed at two of the world's biggest markets, US and China.

Lexus launches Prado-based GX460 in China as its expands SUV reach

Lexus logo27 Nov 2009

By PHILIP LORD

HOT on the heels of its close cousin, the Toyota Prado, comes the public unveiling at China’s Guangzhou auto show of the new Lexus GX460, which is more powerful, more efficient and quieter than the model it replaces.

While its predecessor, the 2002-09 GX470, was sold exclusively in the US market, where the new GX460 will go on sale in January, the new vehicle will also be launched in the booming China market.

Lexus Australia chief executive John Roca told GoAuto the GX460 had not been confirmed for the Australian market as it was offered only in left-hand drive.

“We are unaware of whether a right-hand drive variant will be offered,” he said.

“That said, if it were offered, we would ask our customers if this vehicle would suit their needs. This would then determine any possible local introduction.”

While the body-on-frame GX460 is based on the new 150-series Prado, the Lexus has a unique powertrain – a new 4.6-litre V8 engine and six-speed auto.

The iron-block engine has alloy heads with four valves per cylinder and dual variable valve timing. Outputs are 225kW of power at 5500rpm and 446Nm of torque at 3500rpm, and Lexus claims the GX460 will accelerate to 100km/h in under eight seconds and achieve an average of 11.8L/100km on the highway and 15.7L/100km in the city.

31 center imageLike the Prado, the GX460 features full-time 4WD with a Torsen centre differential and dual-range transmission. The new six-speed automatic replaces the five-speed unit fitted to the GX470.

The GX460 has its own front-end sheetmetal, grille, headlights and bumper.

Wind noise levels have been reduced in the cabin with low-profile roof rails and an acoustic insulation windscreen.

The GX 460 is to go on sale in the US in a two-tier line up, GX460 and GX460 Premium, priced at US$51,970 (A$56,970) and US$56,675 (A$62,135) respectively.

The US-market Lexus GX460 has an armada of airbags – a total of 10 – comprising two front airbags, two front knee airbags, four side airbags and two side curtain airbags.

Not surprisingly, many of the new technologies available with the 150 Prado also feature on the US-market GX460. These include ESC, Hill Start Assist Control and the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS).

GX 460 Premium also features HID headlights with Adaptive Front Lighting, Adaptive Variable Suspension and, as part of option packages, Pre-Collision system, Crawl Control, Front and Side View system, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Lane Depart Alert.

Convenience features such as the keyless ignition, fore-aft adjustable second row and power-fold third row seats are also shared with Prado.

And like Prado, the GX460 has lost one seat, down from eight pews to seven.

A tyre pressure monitor and Safety Connect – an emergency call or roadside assistance feature via the cellular phone network – is also included.

The GX460 has an 87-litre fuel tank, and in place of the five-door Prado’s auxiliary fuel tank, an underslung spare wheel.

As with its predecessor, the new GX 460 is built alongside the Prado at the Tahara plant in Japan.

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