The 2013 LX 570 was the first of the Lexus badged cars to feature the new redesigned ‘spindle’ grille that followed in the 2013 Lexus GS launched earlier this year. In terms of proportions the LX 570 is bang identical to the Land Cruiser but gets a more handsome looking front end and the overall design feels more evolved than a Land Cruiser. However, it doesn't have the flair and the flamboyance displayed by its contemporaries from Germany or America. There is a hint of Japanese conservatism in the look of the LX 570 and it makes this SUV feel humdrum when you have a Range Rover, the Q7 or a Cayenne parked next to it.
The quality, fit and finish of the interior is outstanding and nothing short of the best out there. We drove a top of the line Titanium variant and there was no faux leather or fake wood to deal with. We were cocooned in real leather, aluminium and genuine mahogany wood with every inch screaming luxury. Even though the features and the layouts are similar to the Land Cruiser’s interior, the Lexus LX 570 gets some extra switches on the centre tunnel for suspension adjustments and the rotary knobs for crawl control, height adjustment and 4×4 mode on the Land Cruiser are replaced by these aircraft like high quality plastic switches.
Centre-screen remains the same and displays everything from climate adjustment settings, audio information and navigation. The navigation menu is easy to operate and the voice-guided system worked with 100 per cent accuracy during our time with the LX 570. However, the base variant doesn’t get the chiller box and the paddle shifters available in the top of the line variant; some things you can live without.
The LX 570 also gets dual rear seat entertainment system in the form of dual 7-inch screens mounted on the back of front seat headrests, ideal for keeping kids occupied with their favourite cartoon or a video game. The driver remains well informed on what’s going on via the large centre display and the additional display sandwiched between the speedo and the tacho. During off-roading, the terrain-monitoring system helps the diver to monitor blind spots via cameras mounted all around the car.
The multimedia system allows you to connect a USB/AUX device or an iPod. Pairing a phone and streaming music via Bluetooth is effortless and buttons on the steering wheel ensure easy operations of all available systems like phone, navigation and audio.
The Lexus LX 570 is powered by the same 5.7-litre, DOHC 32 valve V8 VVT-i engine that does duty on the Land Cruiser and carries the same state of tune with an output of 362bhp at 5600rpm and 530Nm of torque at 3200rpm. Responsiveness and acceleration isn’t rocket like but the V8 provides enough thrust to move this 3.3 tonne behemoth with purpose and the throaty V8 soundtrack is always a pleasure to listen to.
The 2012 LX 570 maintains an excellent composure off-road as we discovered during a short run on nearby sand dunes. The added luxury doesn’t hamper its ability to tackle dunes or rocky patches and it will go anywhere its cousins can. It gets the standard multi terrain support with five driving modes and the turn assist feature. An additional feature on the LX 570 is the much needed suspension mode adjustments that the Land Cruiser desperately needs. Toggling the suspension adjustment switch to Sport brings about a noticeable difference in the cars handling. It no longer feels like its got marshmallows for springs and the added stiffness considerably reduces body roll which is something we didn't like in the Land Cruiser at high speed cornering.
Overall, the LX 570 feels solidly built and since reliability among the Japanese manufacturers, especially Toyota and Lexus is impeccable, the new 2012 LX 570 is a very good proposition for those who really want to go off-road in something that will lighten their pockets considerably. It’s not a pseudo-SUV deigned to spend all its time on the road and that's what makes it stand apart from the competition. The only other car we can think of that provides equal amounts of luxury and performs equally well off-road is the Range Rover Sport but it hasn’t made a name for itself since questions are raised about its reliability in demanding situations. We can ascertain that once we put one through the rigours of our road test. For now, we can count on the LX 570 to be the ultimate luxury off-roader.
All said and done, as those thinking purely on technical terms and as value for money suckers, we can’t justify buying a LX 570 over a top of the line Land Cruiser VXR+ if it was purely based on the merits of both these cars. Both are equally comfortable, capable and luxurious. At the end of the day it all boils down to customer preference. Of course, the overall experience of owning a Lexus over a Toyota is the first advantage, additional advantages are seen with sales and after sales support and then there is the add touch of luxury for those who religiously seek genuine materials seamlessly unified with admirable craftsmanship rather than something that impersonates it.
The top of the line Titanium variant will set you back by a princely sum of AED 398,000, that's a whole AED 93,000 more than the top of the line Land Cruiser VXR+. But for those who want to step up the Lexus LX 570 and want to keep the budget in check, Lexus will let you have the entry level Premier – Intrepid variant for AED 340,000 and that isn’t much of a stretch if you are considering a top of the line Land Cruiser VXR+.
Price: AED 398,000 (as tested)
Price range: AED 340,000 – AED 398,000
Engine: 5.7-litre V8 32 Valve DOHC with Dual VVT-i
Layout: Front engine, permanent all wheel drive
Max. power: 362bhp @ 5600rpm
Max torque: 530Nm @ 3200rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with paddle shifts
Fuel tank capacity: 138 litre
Seating capacity: 7
Range Rover Sport, Mercedes GL- Class, Infiniti QX56, Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne