This is the Lexus of off-road vehicles...
- 2011 Lexus LX 570 Sports Luxury; 5.7-litre V8 petrol 4WD: $165,400
The first person to cross the Simpson Desert by car was geologist Reg Sprigg in 1960. If anyone had told him back then that he could cross the Simpson again in a vehicle laden with eight passengers, leather clad seats and a killer sound system in 2011, he would have laughed.
The LX 570 shares a lot of its hardware with the Toyota Landcruiser 200 Series, which it’s based on. That’s certainly not a bad thing, when you consider the proven reliability of the Landcruiser, in addition to its prowess off the beaten track.
Available with a single engine option – a 5.7-litre naturally aspirated petrol V8, the giant 4WD produces 270kW and 530Nm of torque. The official fuel consumption figure is 14.8L/100km, which is to be expected from a 2.8-tonne vehicle like the LX 570. On test I achieved around 15.5L/100km. The 138 litre fuel tank means that visits to the service station are few and far between.
From the outside, the LX 570 features a handsome profile that doesn’t appear anywhere near as intimidating as the Landcruiser.
It’s inside the cabin where the exceeding levels of luxury become apparent. The steering wheel, dashboard, centre console and door surrounds are encased in tasteful amounts of woodgrain.
As you would expect, the quality of leather, along with the fit and finish throughout the cabin is exceptional. The driving position offers excellent visibility out the front and side, with rearward visibility only hampered when the rear DVD screen has been deployed.
The Sports Luxury model tested comes with new Lexus technology that encapsulates video cameras on the passenger wing mirror, front of the vehicle and rear of the vehicle to give the driver a global view of everything around the vehicle. The main downside to this innovative technology is the extremely low-resolution cameras used on the side and front, making it near impossible to make out objects in the distance.
Parking the LX 570 is easier than you would expect. An excellent turning circle and a raft of external cameras help with placing the LX 570 in tight parking spaces.
Head and leg room in the first two rows is exceptional. There is even enough room to load three adults into the third row of seats, which use electric motors to rise out of their stowed position.
The chilled centre console is an excellent idea for keeping up to six sizeable bottles cool. The chilled centre console works independent of the quad-zone automatic climate control.
A 19-speaker Mark Levinson sound system provides incredible amounts of bass and crisp treble clarity. The sound system can be used to provide audio for the DVD player, auxiliary inputs, radio or for CDs. Wireless headphones are also provided for rear passengers if the front seat passengers prefer to listen to something other than what is being screened to the rear of the vehicle.
Due to the car’s 1.92m height, adjustable suspension comes standard to help lower or raise the car in the event it’s required. The raised or lowered ride height can also be locked, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally bumping the switch while parked in cramped parking lots.
Climbing in and out of the LX 570 takes a bit of getting used to, but becomes second nature once mastered.
To thoroughly test the LX 570, I didn’t just take it off-road. I also slept in it. With the second and third row of seats folded away, I was able to fit a single sized bed mattress in the boot. It certainly bet sleeping in swags like the rest of the crew at the campsite.
That gives you an idea of just how much space is available in the rear with the seats retracted.
Although it’s hard to imagine, the LX 570 can sprint from 0-100km/h in just 7.8 seconds. The high-revving V8 engine provides plenty of gusto when required and delivers power through a six-speed automatic gearbox.
Throttle response is excellent and the V8 engine even provides a hearty soundtrack under load.
Adjustable suspension dampers aid with handling, but struggle to mask the car’s mammoth kerb weight.
The LX570’s main trump card is its ability off-road. The full-time 4WD system features a TORSEN centre differential and lockable rear and centre differentials with adjustable modes for prevailing conditions. A low-range gearbox is also selectable to take advantage of a new set of gear ratios.
The adjustable 4WD mode selector takes the guess work out of four-wheel driving. The driver simply needs to select the relevant 4WD mode and the system takes care of the rest.
Ground clearance of 226mm can be increased to 302mm or lowered to 175mm using the adjustable suspension. In unison with 31 and 29 degrees approach/departure angles respectively, the LX 570 is a serious off-roader.
Grip is maintained courtesy of 285mm wide, 20-inch tyres on all four corners. They provide exceptional traction in mud and on dirt.
A massive 3500kg braked towing capacity means that the LX 570 can tow next to anything.
Priced from $149,500, the Sports Luxury variant tested retails for $165,400.
With a raft of standard features and an incredible level of luxury, the Lexus LX 570 is the ultimate luxury 4WD. But, with such heavy fuel consumption, it begs the question – where is the diesel variant?
CarAdvice Overall Rating: How does it Drive: How does it Look: How does it Go:
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