Here it is, as promised. Lexus has unveiled its new LM high-end VIP van. And it’s coming to Australia, and it’s coming with the ‘500h’ 2.4 turbo hybrid powertrain as seen in the RX 500h.
The new Lexus LM is described by the company as being a van that “redefines chauffeur-driven luxury” and one that offers “supreme comfort and quietness”. You’re right, these aren’t exactly terms that reflect ‘driving enthusiast’ but we think this van might actually make you want to take up a job driving VIPs around. We would.
One of the most exciting bits of news to come from this is that Lexus is going to stick its new 2.4-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol engine into the flagship model, paired with an electric motor hybrid package. The company hasn’t confirmed outputs but a similar setup in the RX 500h produces an exciting 273kW.
Obviously the rear passengers will be just as excited to jump in as we are to drive it. Lexus is bringing in a company-first ‘Rear Climate Concierge’ system, which is basically a central hub whereby passengers can control things such as the climate control, seating positions (probably not the driver’s seat), interior lights and other settings.
The rear of the cabin is constantly monitored by a “thermal matrix sensor” (so, a thermometer?) that can detect temperatures of four passengers across the face, chest, thigh and lower legs, and then automatically activate and control the air-con to provide optimum comfort. Now that’s cool.
Other crazy attention to detail? How about 64 different interior light colour selections to play around with, or a special engine mounting system that has been fine-tuned to minimise vibrations and noise, or even a creative approach to increasing the sense of spaciousness by making the roofliner surface non-absorbent. This is to create subtle and natural sound reflections.
Lexus says its engineers have strengthened the chassis by 1.5 times to help improve ride comfort, and there’s a latest-gen version of the Lexus Adaptive Variable Suspension system fitted for the first time. Come on, a van with adaptive dampers? Is this the best driver’s van on the market or what.
There’s even a ‘Rear Comfort’ drive mode that puts an emphasis on altering the rear suspension to maximise comfort in the back. However, Lexus says pitch and roll characteristics are also minimised during longitudinal forces.
The company is going to offer three different seating configurations for buyers, with seven, six, or an ultra-luxurious four-seat layout. The four-seater comes with a giant entertainment screen in the back, as well as reclining rear seats and all the legroom of a footy field.
Lexus Australia has confirmed it will be launching the LM here for the first time. It will be offered in both LM 300h and LM 500h forms. Local specs will be announced closer to its launch later this year.