Big, powerful and luxurious, the Lexus LX570 is one capable machine
We recently sampled the first diesel Lexus sold in Australia, the Lexus LX450d. While the LX450d is plush, relatively refined, ever so comfortable and is graced with almost unbeatable all-road ability and has the added bonus of diesel frugality, the lack of a third row of seats, a sole fuel tank and extra weight count against the LX450d. You could also argue that the clatter of the diesel V8 detracts from Lexus’ hushed image ever so slightly.
While the LX450d is by no means a bad thing, we wanted to sample the LX450d’s petrol powered brother, the LX570 to determine which of the two flagship Lexus SUVs is best.
Now, the differences: the LX570 is powered by a naturally aspirated 5.7 litre petrol V8 that produces 270kW @ 5600rpm and 530Nm @ 3200rpm. There’s also eight seats as opposed to the LX450d’s five and there as two fuel tanks to store all that petrol. The Lexus LX570 is priced from $142,789, considerably more than its diesel sibling which has a sticker price of $134,129.
So, what’s the LX570 like to drive? Rather pleasant, actually. Occupants sit in a beautifully crafted interior with soft yet supportive seats, there’s ample room in all directions for the passengers in the first two rows but the third row is best suited to children or only adults on shorter trips.
The ride is virtually perfect over any surface thanks to that automatically adjusting suspension. When you’re on tarmac, cracks and pot holes are non-existent and the LX makes you feel like you’re wafting along and you could do so for hundreds of kilometres. An accomplished cross country cruiser.
Handling leans on the cumbersome side. The LX570 does little to mask its huge size and there’s notable body roll through the bends. It’s not a handful, but it’s also a far cry from the car-based long wheelbase Lexus RX. And that’s a key case point – if you need a Lexus with multiple rows of seats but don’t plan to go off-road, carry eight or tow heavy things, the RX is worth a look.
Now, onto that big 5.7 litre V8. Low down it’s quiet – almost inaudible – and smooth. Very Lexus. Below 3,200rpm, though, it does feel a little sluggish. Plant your right foot towards the thick carpet and watch the tacho needle sweep past 3,200rpm and the engine comes to life, emitting a throaty – and satisfying mechanical growl – and shoving the LX570 along with eye opening pace. Overtaking is a doddle. We suspect it would tow 3.5 tonnes with relative ease, too.
The drawback of a petrol V8 with this much power in a car of this size is of course, fuel consumption. Lexus cites an official combined fuel consumption figure of 14.4 litres per 100km. We managed around 20 litres per 100 kilometres in a mixture of city and freeway driving.
Those third row seats are helpful when you need to shuttle around another three passengers. However, they don’t fold flat into the floor, rather they fold up against the windows. While we found that this didn’t encroach on visibility too much, the lay out is dated and the seats can eat into cargo room. They can be partially raised and lowered electronically though, but you’ll have lift and lower the backrests manually, which is easy enough.
So, which Lexus LX will it be? Well, for us it’ll have to be the Lexus LX570. Yes, it’s more expensive than the LX450d and it’s thirstier and it’s more expensive. But, the LX570 is a damn sight more pleasant to drive, more comfortable and more practical than its diesel brother. And hey, if you can afford to splurge nearly $150,000 on a car, you should be able to foot the fuel bills. Remember, though, if you don’t need to go off-road, tow a huge amount of weight or need eight seats, the long wheelbase RX is a more than acceptable alternative.