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Driven: Lexus LX570 thunders in

Monster motor: The Lexus LX570 attracts just a handful of buyers to the brand locally, and will go head to head with Infiniti’s polarising QX80.

Updated LX570 flagship SUV from Lexus gains more kit and eight-speed auto

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Lexus logo2 Dec 2015

By TIM ROBSON

LEXUS Australia has rolled out an updated version of its Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series-based SUV, the LX570, as it chases the sales of rivals Range Rover and the Mercedes-Benz GL.

Priced from $140,500 plus on-road costs, the LX has jumped up by slightly more than $6000 compared with the outgoing model, but offers additional kit for the extra coin.

The most striking changes to the seven-seater are on the outside, with Lexus claiming that the only body panels not carried over from the previous model (also based on the 200 Series) are the roof and door skins.

The nose is dominated by a huge version of the brand’s now ubiquitous spindle-shaped one-piece grille, with LED highlights, sequentially flashing turn signals and new foglights rounding out the treatment.

New front and rear three-quarter panels, pumped rear guards and a new rocker panel design update the side appearance.

A redesigned rear bumper and LED tail-lights and new wheel designs – 20s are standard and 21s are an option – round out the exterior makeover.

Mechanically, its single engine option – a 5.7-litre quad-cam all-aluminium V8 petrol engine – is carried over, and still produces 270kW and 530Nm.

It’s now backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission, as opposed to a six-speeder in the previous car. The new transmission helps to drop the fuel economy number slightly the LX now returns 14.4 litres per 100km, representing an almost half-litre improvement.

The LX retains its two-speed transfer case and variable fore-aft torque split, via its standard Torsen mechanical limited-slip centre diff.

Chassis-wise, the LX retains its adaptive coil-sprung, self-levelling suspension system, which uses a hydro-pneumatic system to link all four dampers.

A drive-mode selector dial has been added to the LX’s cabin, offering both on- and off-road modes, along with an electronic parking brake.

Other changes to the interior include a new steering wheel, additional console storage, a new instrument panel, door trims, instrument display, multimedia screens and seats.

All of the LX’s interior lamps, including the overhead console lamp, are now LEDs.

The cabin also picks up the Lexus Remote Touch interface, which is a first for the LX model. A 12.3-inch multimedia display combines with a new 4.2-inch TFT display screen in the instrument panel, while a head-up display is also fitted as standard.

Driving-related switches, including off-road system controls, are now located in the centre console, while comfort-related switches are positioned on either side. A wireless-induction charging tray for suitably equipped mobile devices is also standard.

The LX is now fitted with lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, tyre-pressure monitoring, automatic high-beams and side and reversing cameras as standard, along with 10 airbags.

Bigger 11.6-inch screens for the standard rear-seat entertainment system are also fitted as standard.

Vented/heated rear seats are available in an option pack (only one is offered), which also includes 21-inch alloy wheels, heated steering wheel, front seat ventilation and second-row seat heating and ventilation, for $16,500.

The LX570 is a bit player for Lexus, selling just 141 units to the end of October, which represents a 12 per cent lift from its 2014 year-to-date score.

Its chief rival in the space is the newly redone Infiniti Q80, which undercuts it by a not-inconsiderable $29,600.

At $140,500, it sits below Mercedes-Benz’s GL500 ($159,510), and a long way below the entry-level Range Rover Vogue ($189,910). All prices are before on-road costs.

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