This is one people carrier you won't see on the average school run.
The all-new Lexus LM has been revealed in Shanghai, four years after the first-generation model was unveiled. The latest model builds on the original, introducing more luxury, refinement, and comfort than before.
Toyota's luxury subsidiary says the new LM will be made available with a choice of two hybrid powertrains: a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with an eAxle, and a slightly larger 2.5-liter with E-Four (all-wheel drive) or front-wheel drive. Lexus hasn't shared any additional details, but LM customers won't be concerned about power outputs and acceleration figures.
They will, however, be interested in the work Lexus has done to suppress road noise and improve refinement. Engineers improved torsional rigidity by 50% compared to the outgoing model by adding braces on the rear underfloor and radiator support, along with a reinforced quarter pillar and a straight rocker structure. Elsewhere, Lexus has used a structural adhesive for the upper body and floor, which helps reduce pesky vibrations.
The suspension has also been refined. Lexus says it's the first time it's used AVS suspension with frequency-sensitive piston valves. This setup uses an Adaptive Variable Suspension actuator and a frequency-sensitive piston valve housed in the shock absorbers. This provides a smooth ride at any speed, reducing shocks and vibrations regardless of the road surface.
The damping forces of the AVS system have been set up to benefit rear-seat comfort. Lexus even integrated the controls of the brake and gas pedal to reduce disturbances for the VIP passengers in the back. Even the seats have been redesigned to provide maximum comfort.
Lexus studied body movements to guarantee that occupants remained in a relaxed state, regardless of where they were sitting in the LM. The front seats hold the body in place with special pressure distribution abilities. Lexus says any amount of G-force achieved during turning can be negated by this.
The rear seats are even more advanced and feature two different shock-absorbing materials that support passengers. Specify your LM with three-row seating, and passengers relegated to the rear-most seats benefit from thicker seat backs and cushioning. But it's the four-seater configuration that's the star of the show.
This configuration receives a partition fitted with a 48-inch wide-screen display for rear passengers. That's even bigger than the 31-inch screen in the new BMW i7 and 7 Series. This glass partition separates the driver from the rear quarters, giving occupants more privacy when required.
Naturally, the rear seats are heated and power-adjustable. These leather-lined perches also receive an ottoman to rest your feet on, along with heated armrests. The LM four-seater is equipped with a Warmth-Sensing Infrared Matrix Sensor (that can detect whether a passenger is hot or cold) and adjust the climate control accordingly.
Open the armrest, and you'll find leather-wrapped retractable tables. A detachable tablet in the rear can be used to control the seat functions, audio, and even the ambient lighting. There are two controllers, with one for each passenger sitting at the back.
Speaking of the lighting, The Lexus LM receives a total of 64 ambient lighting hues (14 themed, 50 custom), with each color designated a specific theme. Had a stressful day at the office? Select the "relaxing" theme and kick back.
The four-seat model is aimed at chauffeurs and VIPs, with the six- and seven-seat versions targeted at high-end hotels. These admittedly more practical models aren't as plush, but passengers will still feel pampered when traveling in these variants.
Among the color options are Solis White leather with copper trim and Black leather with gray tone gradations.
The LM features the latest iteration of the Spindle Grille, inspired by that of the Lexus RX.
The oversized Spindle Grille won't be to everyone's tastes, but there's no denying that heads will turn as the Lexus sails down the road. With color-coded inserts, it may look better in a darker shade of paint. There's not much you can do with a minivan shape, but Lexus has tried to give the LM character with distinct lines flowing down the side.
A floating roof, high-end light clusters, and chrome trimmings all work together to create an upmarket exterior. The LM is available with various wheel designs, ranging from 17 to 19 inches in size.
There's even a twin-pane roof option with two glass panels to illuminate the cabin. A large single-pane might seem more obvious, but in a van of this size, chassis flex would then pose an issue, and retaining the central spine makes the LM stiffer.
The Lexus LM was originally designed in response to the high demand for luxury minivans in China. The first-generation model enjoyed great success in the Land of the Red Dragon, but now has its sights set on global domination, as Lexus will launch the LM in 60 markets, including Australia, Europe, and Japan.
We're not sure whether the LM will arrive in the United States, but it's unlikely. Minivans are seen as practical vehicles here, with high-end buyers preferring to spend their cash on SUVs or luxury sedans. One could even argue that the Lexus LS, along with the highly capable LX, fills this niche in America.
It would be great to see something this unique and different on our roads, so we're holding out hope. As for pricing, we expect the LM to command plenty of cash (the previous generation was pricey), but, then again, luxury doesn't come cheap.
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