Synonymous with ruggedness, the body-on-frame Lexus GX has been a luxury-off-road-enthusiast favourite since its inception two-plus decades ago. And the Japanese manufacturer is upping the ante introducing the third-generation model featuring an all-new Overtrail trim catering specifically to the adventure crowd.
“Of course, you know the term overlanding (expedition-type vehicle travel often to remote destinations),” said chief engineer Koji Tsukasaki during a media roundtable in Austin, Texas where the global reveal took place.
“We wanted to make sure that we could cover a wide range of activities from light camping and trailing all the way to hardcore adventures. And so, we sort of put those two words together. It’s really [about] the connection between us and nature,” he explained further.
All GXs are built on the GA-F platform also serving the current LX 600 and Toyota Land Cruiser. The 550 will initially come with a 3.4-liter twin-turbocharged V6, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission, producing 349 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. The output is an improvement of 48 and a massive 150 lb-ft, respectively, compared to the outgoing naturally-aspirated V8 mill. A hybrid option is set to follow at a later date.
Torque is distributed via full-time four-wheel drive complemented by a Torsen limited-slip centre differential. Overtrail variants gain an electronic locking rear diff. The vehicle rides on a double-wishbone front/multi-link rear suspension, and the latter boasts an Electronic-Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System as well. The clever tech is capable of digitally disconnecting the large anti-roll bars that are great for tightening up handling on the street, but can get in the way while say rock crawling.
Returning to a traditional boxy SUV aesthetic, the contemporary spindle body design language debuted on the RZ EV is expressed through the seamless black grille and integrated horizontal vents below. In terms of functionality, the distinctive upside-down-L Premium Triple Beam LED headlamps are raised to protect against flying road debris, and the front overhang is 20-millimetres shorter to optimize ground clearance.
The horizontal motif is recurring — cue the wide track, bulging wheel arch flares and a 95-millimetre-greater width (115 on the Overtrail) than the previous version. A long and thin L-shaped light bar at the rear reinforces this concept. For the first time, the liftgate, housing a pop-out window, is powered.
A whopping 11 exterior colours are available, among them Overtrail-exclusive bi-tone offerings like the fitting Earth/Black Roof combination seen here. Other goodies the special grade receives include 18-inch wheels wrapped in chunky deep-treaded 33-inch all-terrain tires, contrasting over-fenders and an aluminum skid-plate.
Inside there’s room for five and gear, as opposed to the regular seven-passenger GX. Infotainment consists of a 14-inch touchscreen still utilizing an assortment of physical buttons and switches (huzzah!) to control volume, climate and off-road controls. Consumers can choose between a standard 10-speaker stereo or an upgraded 21-speaker Mark Levinson Surround Sound audio system.
2024 Lexus GX 550
2024 Lexus GX 550
2024 Lexus TX
The 2024 Lexus GX 550 is expected to launch early next year. Also teased at the American event was the new Lexus TX arriving in the fall. Sharing the GA-K underpinnings as the Toyota Grand Highlander, the three-row SUV manages to differentiate itself thanks to a more premium motoring experience and a top-of-the-line model packing a 3.5-litre V6 plug-in hybrid powertrain and DIRECT4 all-wheel drive. Stay tuned for reviews on both closer to release.