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by Tim Beissmann

The 2012 Lexus LX570 has been launched in Australia with an updated exterior design, new features and a lower starting price.

Previously available as two distinct models – Sports and Sports Luxury – the 2012 range comprises a solitary LX570 model, which comes with the option of a $16,000 Enhancement Pack. At $140,900, the base model is $8600 cheaper than the old Sports model while the $156,900 is $8500 cheaper than the Sports Luxury.

Visually, the upgraded Lexus LX570 benefits from the brand’s signature spindle grille, 20-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, revised headlights and fog lights, redesigned front and rear bumpers, and a discreet tow hitch cover.

Headlining the new dynamic features is the off-road turn assist system, which tightens the car’s turning circle by increasing brake force to the inside rear wheel. The existing Crawl Control system has been upgraded from three pre-set speeds to five, giving drivers better off-road control.

The new multi-terrain select function further enhances off-road ability, giving drivers a choice from five programmed stability and traction control combinations – rock, rock and dirt, mogul, loose rock, and mud and sand – to optimise the car’s performance specific to the conditions.

The multi-terrain monitor is designed to aid both off-road and city driving, using four wide-angle cameras to zero in on blind spots and display real-time vision in the centre stack’s eight-inch LCD display screen.

A new multimedia screen in the instrument cluster now displays the front wheel angles, digital speed readout and satellite navigation instructions.

The driver’s seat and steering wheel retract when the ignition is turned off, aiding ingress and egress. Other updates across the eight-seat cabin include a cleaner centre console with fewer buttons, metallic finishes on the dashboard and a new dual rear-seat entertainment system.

Standard features include smart key with push-button start, four-zone climate control, 19-speaker Mark Levinson audio system and 10 airbags.

The Enhancement Pack adds Lexus’ pre-collision safety system, active cruise control, heated front and rear seats, steering wheel paddle shifters, and wood grain interior trim.