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‘Lexus GX550’ patent teases new Toyota Prado details

Countdown: With Lexus laying the ground work for a new ‘GX550’ in Australia, the countdown until the new-generation Toyota Prado is revealed has started.

New Lexus GX550 patent application points to new-gen Toyota Prado scoring V6 power

8 Oct 2021

THE first credible signs that a new-generation Toyota Prado is on the way have been flagged, with the Japanese auto giant recently filing a trademark application for the ‘Lexus GX550’ nameplate with IP Australia.


Not many Aussies would be familiar with the Lexus GX as the model has never officially been offered in this market, but overseas it is the premium, Lexus-enhanced version of the Prado that serves as a smaller and more affordable alternative to the full-sized LandCruiser-based LX.


Formally submitted on September 28, the application has been filed exclusively under Class 12 – ‘automobiles and structural parts thereof’ – which points to the genuine existence of at least some plans to offer the nameplate Down Under.


One of the key indications this new ‘Lexus GX550’ will be based on an all-new Prado is the sheer timing. 


Firstly, the current 150 Series Prado has been around since 2009, making it 12 years old at the time of publication – a long model life by any manufacturer’s standard – and secondly, a new Prado typically follows 12-18 months behind its full-size LandCruiser sibling.


To all intents and purposes, the new 300 Series LandCruiser has already launched in Australia, with order books filling fast and 500 demonstrator vehicles currently in dealerships and on the road for customers to sample.


Industry and online rumours have been circulating for years now as to when the new-gen Prado will emerge, with the general consensus pointing to a 2023 global launch, perfectly aligning with that traditional 12-18 month wait behind the LandCruiser.


GoAuto’s suspicions were heightened further when contacting the local arm of Lexus, a spokesperson of which said they were “unable to comment on future product” rather than providing the usual corporate line favoured by most brands about securing nameplates for potential use in the future.


As Lexus-enhanced models typically come to market after their Toyota counterparts, there is every chance the new Prado will be revealed within the next 12 months given the groundwork is already being laid for the premium version’s introduction.


Looking abroad strengthens the case, with trademark applications for the same ‘Lexus GX550’ nameplate being submitted in both the US and Costa Rica through September, suggesting the new model will be offered at a global level.


Delving into vehicle specifics, it is almost certain that the new Prado/GX550 will ride on similar ruggedised TNGA underpinnings to the 300 Series – given this is heavily based on Toyota’s global platform – although some overseas outlets are speculating that the LandCruiser’s twin-turbocharged 3.3-litre diesel V6 may also be carried over, albeit in a lower state of tune.


At present, the Lexus GX is offered in the US under the ‘GX460’ moniker with the ‘460’ referring to its 4.6-litre V8.


Given neither Toyota nor Lexus currently have a 5.5-litre engine in production, it could be that the ‘550’ element of the GX550 nameplate will refer to the amount of torque available from the engine, which could well be a single-turbo version of the new LandCruiser’s.


A just-released teaser image of the new 300 Series-based Lexus LX bears 600 badging, while the 300 Series petrol engine generates 650Nm (the LX has historically been primarily petrol). Nevertheless, the difference in numbers remains suggestive of a detuned version of the larger vehicle’s powerplant.


Toyota has form in this department; the 70 Series LandCruiser is currently powered by a single-turbo version of the 1VD-FTV 4.5-litre diesel V8 while the 200 Series featured a twin-turbo version.


Power and torque in the 200 Series were rated at 200kW/650Nm whereas the 70 Series produces 151kW/430Nm.


Dropping a turbo from the new 228kW/700Nm V6 could easily reduce torque down to around the 550Nm mark, which while less than the 300 Series, would still provide a healthy increase over the current Prado’s 150kW/500Nm figures and, in turn, all its key rivals.


Whether or not this engine appears in all versions of the Prado or just high-end and Lexus versions remains to be seen but it would also serve as a perfect springboard for Toyota to launch the GR HiLux with a similar drivetrain either late in its current lifecycle or as part of the new-generation due sometime mid-decade.


In the meantime, electrification has been confirmed for the new-generation Prado after Toyota Australia announced in April that it would be offering at least one electrified variant of every model by 2030.

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