The luxury SUV market is now an intense battlefield with almost every leading manufacturer producing high-end vehicles equipped to take on all driving conditions in ultimate comfort.
The Germans tend to produce super-luxurious performance SUVs which are more suited to blasting along motorways, rather than dune bashing, while the Japanese have traditionally built those that were more than capable of dealing with challenging terrain, such as the iconic Toyota Land Cruiser.
However, the two have sort of merged with the performance SUVs now being more at home off-roading and the Japanese building more luxurious machines.
For example, Toyota recently launched the new Land Cruiser which has been taken up market and Lexus, their premium brand arm, has launched the new LX 570 – with prestige clearly a priority. This vehicle has been around since 2008 but the new one has been upgraded to a much higher level of refinement.
From the front this is one impressive looking piece of kit, with a bolder version of the Lexus signature spindle grille dominating the appearance with distinctive new triple full LED headlights and boomerang spotlights.
It is refined intimidation at its best and the theme continues with the sleek but bullish side profile, muscular rear, and classy 21-inch alloy wheels.
It also has sequential LED indicators which not only look cool but is also an effective way of increasing visibility and safety.
Inside, the mission was to create a high-end, refined, atmosphere and it has been accomplished. It exudes prestige as soon as you climb into the supremely comfortable leather driver’s seat.
There is plenty of leather, metal and wood grain trims although I was a little disappointed that the dash which looks like heavy-stitched leather, is actually imitation.
However, it’s no big deal and the rest of the interior is outstanding. It has been specifically redesigned to cater for the driver, using the Lexus Human Oriented concept to make sure all the controls are easily accessed by the person behind the wheel.
There is a 12.3-inch screen on the dash which is operated by a remote touch interface on the centre-console. This is where you access the infotainment system. The instrument cluster is classically stylish with 4.2-inch, high-visibility, TFT multi-information display screen sitting between the speedo and tachometer. There is also a head-up display.
The rear passengers have their own entertainment system with 11.6-inch screens housed on the back of the front seats and our top of the range Platinum Edition test vehicle also had an excellent Mark Levinson sound system which is exclusive to Lexus.
To drive, this vehicle glides along at a decent speed in complete comfort but it is a heavy machine and although it has a 5.7-litre V8 with 362bhp and torque of 530nm, it is not hugely responsive.
As mentioned, there are four drive modes: Comfort which optimises the LX’s Adaptive Variable Suspension to deliver a smooth ride, Sport S which ups the power response, Sport S+ which tightens everything up to make the vehicle a little more agile, and Custom where you can set it up to suite your driving style. Even in the Sport S+ the acceleration is a bit sluggish but it barrels along at a decent lick once it gets going.
Surprisingly, for a vehicle this large there wasn’t too much body roll going through corners, although you do have to use Sport S+ to ensure you have this rigidity.
Although it is more suited to tarmac it is well equipped to handle challenging terrain with Active Height Control suspension, Crawl Control, and a Multi-Terrain system which increases the AWD performance and ensures maximum traction and brake control.
It also has Multi-Terrain monitors, a system of four cameras that show conditions all around the vehicle so you can always see what’s going on.
As regards safety, this SUV is bristling with technology to ensure the well-being of all the occupants.
The LX 570 raises the ante in the luxury SUV market but it will set you back a hefty sum.
Prices start at Dh385,000 although the top-end Platinum Edition I drove is a hefty Dh450,000, but nothing worth having comes cheap, and this is certainly an SUV worth having.
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