With the recent new model activity that includes updated versions of the NX and RX SUVs, the all-new RZ electric SUV and the LBX compact SUV, the debut of the LM luxury people mover, and upgrades to the UX small SUV and ES mid-size sedan, Lexus appears to be planning a road to global automotive dominance.
But it doesn’t stop there, as Lexus announced earlier this year that three brand-new models would be arriving in this market over the course of the next 18 months. The LM was the first, and although it hasn’t been formally announced, the seven-seat GX SUV is probably the second.
The new Lexus GX will be a fourth-generation vehicle and will be based on the future fifth-generation Toyota Prado. The moniker has been used in places such as the USA, China, and the Middle East since the early 2000s.
Lexus GX Styling
Moving to the styling, the Toyota Prado may have a more muscular look, especially in accordance with US market preferences (think Tacoma pick-up truck), according to rumors in Japan.
The Lexus GX will continue the trend with an upright, angular appearance, generally jagged multi-beam headlamp units, a variation of the signature spindle grille, and a sizable glasshouse area, according to preview photos.
The car’s designers refer to this hipline as the “tumblehome,” and it is pronounced beneath the modestly angled side glass. The bulging wheel arches are finished with bright metal accents, and the LED taillights span the width of the back of the vehicle.
Engine, Power, and Transmission
There has been much rumor over the powerplant options for the upcoming Toyota Prado and Lexus GX models. Among the many options, the 2.4-liter, four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine with one of two outputs—a 205kW/430Nm unit adapted from the Toyota Kluger or the “Hybrid Max” package (adapted from the US-spec Toyota Crown), which adds an electric motor on each axle for combined outputs of 253kW/542Nm—seems to have the best chance of materializing. A variation of the latter configuration is already used by the current RX500h large luxury SUV, which generates 202kW/460Nm.
The most likely choices for adding diesel to the mix are A modernized 48-volt electric variation of the 150kW/500Nm, 2.8-liter turbo-four engine seen in the Toyota Prado. Alternately, a detuned version of the 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 from the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series, which produces a massive 227kW/700Nm.
The second diesel option would include a sophisticated 4×4 system and a 10-speed torque-converter automatic transmission, all of which are features of the Lexus LX flagship SUV that debuted in Australia last year.
Then there are the remote possibilities, like the 3.5-liter, 305kW/650Nm turbo-petrol V6 in the LX people mover. An improved version of the 4.6-liter, naturally aspirated petrol V8 powering the outgoing fourth-gen GX, which now generates 224kW/446Nm (in US spec), is also a possibility.
Safety and Driver Assistance
Similar to the Toyota 300/Lexus LX, the GX will be equipped with the full complement of “Safety Sense” features, including active cruise control, auto high beams, and back-to-base emergency alert, once it switches to the TNGA-F body-on-frame platform. These features include AEB, road sign assistance, “Lane Departure Alert” and “Lane Trace Assist.”
Fundamentally, the lower frame will also reduce the center of gravity of the vehicle, improving dynamic response and enhancing active safety. The driver and front passenger will each have a front center bag as well as front, front side, second-row side, full-length curtain, and knee airbags.
Better off-road performance as well as more refined on-road characteristics are promised via a significantly stronger yet lighter body as well as revised drivetrain and suspension systems.
The tried-and-true double-wishbone front, upper and lower trailing arm rear suspension, coil springs all around, and variable adaptive damping will probably remain in the updated version.
As the time for the Lexus GX’s introduction approaches, keep checking back for additional developments.