The Emperor Gets More Than Just New Clothes
The last time Lexus put the flagship LX under the knife, aside from a very mild refresh in 2012, it had just confirmed the hot rod IS F, and a second LF-A concept was making impressions on the auto show circuit. In 2007 the future of Lexus was looking pretty grand. Now, eight years later at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Lexus will be introducing a serious round of changes for the LX 570, and we’re talking more than skin deep this time. Not just a spa day—a spa weekend, and the LX has come out totally transformed.
Under the hood, the 5.7-liter V-8 carries over but is now paired with an eight-speed automatic instead of the previous six-speed. The new tranny introduces Drive Mode Select, which allows the driver to adjust powertrain and suspension response on the fly. Like in other Lexus products with Drive Mode Select, settings range from Comfort, which prioritizes the smoothest ride possible, to Sport S+, which firms up the Adaptive Variable Suspension for more agile handling. Lexus even suggests that the LX 570, with its 7,000-pound towing capacity, would be a great tow vehicle for many of the trailered classics at the Pebble Beach show.
Performance with the new eight-speed has improved; the LX 570 has a 13/18 mpg (18.1/13.1 L/100km) city/highway rating from the EPA (up from 12/17 mpg) and a 7.3-second 0-60 mph sprint on the way to a 15.5-second quarter mile. The 0.2-second improvements over the six-speed-equipped LX look insignificant on paper, but we’re betting the big three-row will be more responsive in the real world with those extra gear ratios.
The exterior changes are more than just a set of new clothes for the Emperor, as the 2016 LX 570 ties together the front end with a single-piece spindle grille and LEDs for all the major light-producing elements (headlights/turn signals/foglights). Out back, the changes are more revisionary, as restyled taillights join the new rear fascia. New 20- and 21-inch wheel designs are also available.
Inside the 2016 Lexus LX, you’ll appreciate a host of new safety and luxury features. A new three-spoke, wood-trimmed steering wheel frames the larger 4.2-inch multi-information display, and the latest infotainment system is now displayed on a massive 12.3-inch screen. The new screen can be split into a combination of up to three sections to show different options, such as navigation, climate control, and audio.
Lexus Enform and Enform Remote, which enhance the smartphone integration experience, are a part of the picture, too, and a Qi wireless charging tray can give your devices some extra juice without the hassle of wires. Those with Apple’s iPhone can use Siri Eyes Free through the system, as well, getting turn-by-turn directions with Siri’s more intuitive voice interface.
Luxury takes a big step up with the mantra “More is More” playing a big part. Four new wood trims are available (Matte Walnut, Linear Dark Mocha, Linear Espresso, and Dark Brown Walnut), LED lighting takes over the illumination duty for the cabin and cargo area, and overhead lights replace buttons with touch sensors. It’s the thoughtful little details that remind you why you pay for that luxury name. Second-row outboard seats are now available with manual sunshades and ventilation in addition to the heating they could already get, making the second row just as luxurious as the first. Make sure you check the box for the Luxury package if you want to treat the second-row passengers. The available rear-seat entertainment system gets bigger 11.6-inch screens (up from just 7.0 inches) and reminds us that sometimes distraction can be the best luxury feature when traveling with children.
Safety features become standard for 2016, as well, with the Lexus Safety System + combining a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, a lane departure alert, intelligent high-beam assist, and a dynamic radar cruise control system. The adaptive cruise control system can fully stop and then accelerate the big three-row and can apply the brakes automatically if the driver doesn’t do so in time. A panoramic camera view and the rear cross traffic alert are both indispensable when maneuvering the not-so-small LX in tight spaces or crowded parking lots. The optional head-up display, new for 2016, straddles the line between safety equipment and comfort but is one feature we’re looking forward to no matter how it’s categorized. The nifty monitor, which can display dynamic radar cruise control information, vehicle speed, and parking assistance instructions, among other things, promises to help keep the driver’s eyes on the road.
What hasn’t changed? The 2016 Lexus LX 570 will keep its legendary off-road capability, high-quality leather, and four-zone climate control. The changes aim to keep the big three-row relevant but don’t diminish the traditional values of the biggest Lexus.