Lexus Brings a New Engine and a New Look to Its Flagship SUV
Lexus’ next LX, renamed LX 570 for its 381HP 5.7L V8 engine, was revealed at the 2007 New York auto show. The increased power, which also bumps towing capacity to 8500 pounds (up 2000 pounds), will be delivered with the help of a new six-speed automatic transmission. The new look brings the LX into the brand’s latest design family and generally updates its look significantly inside and out; having last had a major redesign for the 1998 model year, the SUV was looking dated. The new LX manages to bring its looks into this century without losing its basic style. You’re not likely to confuse the LX 570 for a Mercedes-Benz GL, or Audi Q7, or Land Rover Range Rover, or even Cadillac Escalade.
The new chassis and suspension underneath the new look is updated to today’s level of tricks. Lexus had already offered active height control and an adaptive variable suspension, but improved these elements with the 2008MY. The new system gives a greater range of motion and is cross-linked, allowing wheels to react to the action of opposing wheels as well as to driving surfaces. The system employs a valve at each corner as well as a center or master valve to detect extension or deflection of each wheel. The system, Lexus says, reduces body roll by more than thirty percent and changes ride height quickly. The chassis lowers by about two inches for ingress/egress and returns to normal height under acceleration. On the highway, the system will lower the front about an inch and the rear about a half inch.
The LX 570 improves off-road and off-pavement performance with several sets of electronic aids. The same active height system that adjusts vehicle height for freeway travel and that makes it easier to get in and out also maximizes ground clearance by raising the SUV by about three inches when the low range is selected. Further easing off-road performance, which most LXs likely see precious little of, is a Crawl Control feature. Selectable in low range, Crawl Control increases throttle control to help keep the vehicle at the appropriate low speeds, allowing the driver to focus on steering through the path or over obstacles. Crawl Control uses a set of virtual locking differentials to minimize tire slip and maximize chassis behavior. Without canceling the Crawl Control mode, the driver can use the brakes for slowing vehicle speed and increase or decrease speed by adjusting a speed selector switch. There’s also multi-terrain ABS technology, for reduced stopping distances on slippery surfaces.