Welcome to the shockingly good 2016 Lexus LX570!
This mid-cycle upgrade brings new styling all around, a fresh cabin and a healthy new dose of F Sport-infused performance. This all moves the Lexus flagship dramatically upmarket versus its Land Cruiser sibling from Toyota.
And you are looking at more than just a crisp jawline, industry-best LEDs all around and ultra-lux cabin upgrade versus its much-cheaper sibling. The improvements are truly substantive, despite the two trucks sharing much of their glasshouse and door shapes.
First thing to note in the LX? This bluff new face up front is gorgeous and sets a megabuck tone as effective as any Range Rover. True curb appeal and gravitas, to be sure. The latest incarnation of the L-Finesse grille is perhaps the finest, and most macho, seen yet. Where the single-frame grille shrinks within the bumperline of many Lexus sedans, and even the RX350 crossover, the LX570 flips its outer edge convex in a bold slice of raised horizontal bars. This lets the main grille element be an impossibly imposing cascade of horizontal slats up the entire face of the machine.
All-new triple-beam LEDs for the low and highbeams are lovely to see from outside, and light up the night flawlessly from within. LED dot foglamps live in a brightwork fang in the lower bumpers, while the arrowhead LED DRL units lining the bottom of the main lamps flip to amber for the blinker. World-class. We also love the dark inner optics of the lamps outside the lens crystals of the triple LED units.
Giant 21-inch alloys are a $745 upgrade, and join a fairly long list of options on our test truck. Some things that, perhaps, should be standard? The Luxury package at $1190 upgrades to semi-aniline leather and vented front thrones. Mark Levinson audio is a $2350 upgrade, while the dual seatback tablet system for the second row is another $2005.
All this takes the $88,880 base price to a healthy $97,665 out the door.
Luckily for LX570 owners, though, the impact of all this Lexus luxury is undeniable, even versus the new Q7 and especially versus the Land Cruiser.
How about those two? Main differences we found right away? A better, more-adjustable drive position lets you sit lower in the Lexus. Adjustable-height air suspension is also something the Land Cruiser does without. Photos here of the car in normal, low and high modes in various locales, naturally. The perch and kneel modes are impressive: the car stands on its absolute tippy-toes when the high riding mode is engaged, and virtually scrapes the pavement in its low setting. Both of these extremes do default to the normal ride height in normal driving, regretfully.
Other upgrades? Extra inches for all the display panels, better materials for headliners and such, and power-folding third rows versus the manual units in the Cruiser.
But the single most impressive upgrade? The drive modes knob!
In many vehicles these modes are little more than placebic changes in drive mood. For the new LX570, however, this is not the case. Normal, Eco, Sport and Sport Plus all radically change the character of the LX570 on the road. Sport Plus and paddle shift, in a truck that weighs more than 6000 pounds?!
Implausible, perhaps, but this machine loves a fast corner now. In a way we never expected, the creamy and potent 383HP V8 engine even zings right up against to its rev limiter like the best RC-F around. A bit more straight-line speed would be very welcome, mind you. But its estimated 6.5-second sprint pace is still otherworldly in its smooth, relentless urge. The eight-speed automatic swap (from six before) helps markedly here, even with a mostly carry-over engine.
The LX570 is now genuinely game to play on fast roads. Sharper throttle and steering join the fun in these modes, as does an active suspension (AVS) and electronically-adjustable shocks and stabilizer bars to firm up the body control successively in Sport and Sport Plus. Those air springs with height control (X-AHC) never let in sharp shocks, it should be noted, even in their firmest mode. At its heart, this is an immensely cosseting luxury car.
One that is not just bombproof anymore.. not just unstoppable off-road... but now also a joy to fling around corners at max attack! Love it. A very compelling alternative to the big names in 100k SUVs -- and one whose refinement makes even the mightiest Escalade Platinum feel like a Cavalier Z24 by comparison.
2016 Lexus LX570 - EXTERIOR