Few segments in the US are as competitive as luxury SUVs. For decades, the top dog in the paddock has been the recently relaunched Range Rover and its smaller brother, the Range Rover Sport. But Cadillac, BMW, Mercedes and Toyota also want to play a major role in this segment, which is as rich in image as it is profitable. Lexus in particular has made a lot with its new noble model GX 550. The GX is largely unknown in Europe, but in the United States it is a fixture when it comes to alternatives to the Range Rover Sport, Cadillac Escalade or Mercedes GLE / GLE.
The new generation is edgy and boxy like never before; It is almost reminiscent of a model from the Lego kit, especially in terms of width. "For more than two decades, the GX has bridged the gap between legendary off-road capability and luxurious everyday driving," said Dejuan Ross, general manager of the Lexus division. "The GX is a critical building block in the development of the next chapter for Lexus, and with new powertrains, an impressive variety of premium features and the brand new Overtrail class, the GX 2024 offers something for everyone.” In contrast to its predecessors, which have been available since 2002, the new GX is not only rougher, wilder and has more character, but is also being presented for the first time In addition to the well-known versions Premium / Premium Plus and Luxury / Luxury Plus, there is the new double pack of Overtrail and Overtrail Plus based on the popular Jeep models Grand Cherokee and Grand Wagoneer.
Technically, the 5.00 meter long Lexus GX is based on the GA-F platform, which was introduced with the LX 600 of the current generation. This ladder-type frame, which is as strong as it is light, increases the rigidity of the body and is intended to improve handling on the road. A newly developed double-wishbone front wheel suspension in conjunction with a multi-link rear axle is intended to ensure superior handling on solid ground and in rough terrain. The variable dampers adapt to the changing surface. On request, the new Overtrail models are available with 18-inch rims with powerful 33-inch tires; otherwise the GX 550 rolls on 22-inch wheels. There is still mandatory all-wheel drive with a lockable Torsen differential and an additional electronic limited-slip differential on the rear axle. When things get particularly demanding off-road, the switchable gear reduction helps in addition to the ten-speed automatic transmission and various driving programs.
Despite the strong competition, the Lexus GX is initially only powered by a 3.4-liter turbocharged six-cylinder with a comparatively manageable 257 kW / 349 hp and 650 Nm. At a later date, Toyota wants to add a powerful hybrid version, which also seems advisable in view of the high curb weight and strong competition with outputs of well over 500 hp. However, the Lexus GX's towing capacity of 3.5 tons is on par with the competition.
Inside, despite the small wheelbase of 2.84 meters, there is plenty of room for up to seven occupants. In addition to the 12.3-inch digital display with instruments, the driver sees a head-up display and can operate the various vehicle functions via a 14-inch touch screen and corresponding buttons on the dashboard and center console. The customer also has the choice of whether they want particularly comfortable individual seats in the second row or a rear bench for the three people, which can be folded forwards in a 60:40 ratio. In addition, the GX offers two more seats in the third row. Electric and air-conditioned leather seats in the front, seat heating in the rear and up to six illuminated USB ports in all three rows of seats for various small devices ensure comfort on board. Only the number of cup holders in the new Lexus GX is even greater: there are twelve. And if the normal box system with its ten boxes is not enough, you can opt for the classy Mark Levinson system and 21 loudspeakers. A market launch in Europe is not planned for the time being.