Lexus LM Rolls Into Town: Because the Toyota Vellfire Just Ain't Fancy Enough
Lexus has just launched their ultra-premium LM flagship in Singapore, and it's not at all what you might expect from the storied Japanese carmaker.
Unveiled at the newly-introduced Lexus VIP Lounge last Friday, the LM (or Luxury Mover) is the only people-carrier in their lineup, distinctly different from the traditional saloon and grand tourer forms that have shaped most Lexus models of past and present.
The brand explained that their latest model was meant to represent the pinnacle of ride comfort, offering a private jet-like experience and meeting the wants of hyper-affluent clientele – which also explains its princely sum of S$510,888 (and that's without COE).
Despite its shared TNGA-K underpinnings with the Toyota Vellfire, Lexus is adamant that it is a completely different beast. Mr. Takami Yokoo, Chief Engineer for the LM, who was present at the launch event, explained that the vehicle was developed separately from the Vellfire, and even bears a different model code to further distance itself from its Toyota-badged counterpart.
When asked whether the LM was just a Toyota Vellfire in fancier clothing, Yokoo-san had this to say, "As Chief Engineer, when I was developing this vehicle, I had never thought about basing it on something else.”
Visually, the LM features a much more discreet sense of luxury, wearing the brand's new "Spindle Body" design philosophy that blends the grille elements with the rest of the front fascia. It uses much less chrome too, with the honeycomb-like panels featuring satin metal accents.
Its glasshouse design is also unique, with a sloping silhouette along the floating D-pillars, further complemented by dual LED light bars on the tailgate.
The second-row seats are plush Captain's chairs, both of which are electrically-powered and feature Sharp-developed removable controls on their respective arm rests. There, occupants have complete access to the vehicle's HVAC system, seat adjustment functions (including massage options), window sunshades, and more.
To minimise any form of discomfort while the vehicle is in motion, Lexus has beefed up the seats with various shock-absorbing materials to minimise. Additional steps have also been taken to keep micro-vibrations at bay, including installing braces on the radiator support and rear underfloor, adding a straight rocker structure, and reinforcing the quarter pillars.
Other high-end features that make the LM deserving of the Lexus badge include the bespoke Mark Levinson Reference 3D Surround Sound System with 21 speakers, and a 14-inch overhead multimedia display that's equipped with Apple TV.
For business-oriented users, the same display can mirror whatever is being shown on their mobile devices via a HDMI port on the centre console, with the option of using it independently from the front display. And just like the Vellfire, there's even a three-pin power socket to conveniently charge said devices.
But that's not all when it comes to achieving unparalleled comfort. The LM is able to dampen and reduce vibrations across a wide range of frequencies, thanks to the carmaker's new "Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) with Frequency-Sensitive Piston Valve'' technology, which marries the suspension actuator with an advanced piston valve located in the shock absorber.
Additionally, the new “Rear Comfort” drive mode utilises the dampening force characteristics of the AVS and integrated control of the accelerator and brakes to reduce posture changes caused during acceleration and deceleration.
Powering this particular LM 350h unit is a 2.5-litre inline-four hybrid engine that's also found in the RX 350h, delivering 247 bhp and 239 Nm of torque to all four wheels via Lexus' Direct4 electric all-wheel drive system.
The range-topping LM 500h, which is even more powerful and opulent than this, is expected to arrive on our shores by early 2024. It will come equipped with a four-seater configuration, complete with a partition between both rows and a 48-inch widescreen display.
Photo Credits: Muhammad Mu'tasim (@mutasimdrives)
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