The development has been constructing momentum for years, however Toyota is making it official with the Lexus LM. The king of chauffeur-driven luxurious minivans is right here. LM stands for “Luxurious Mover” and it made its official debut at Auto Shanghai 2023.
For the previous decade these VIP vans have been slowly changing city automobiles in Asia because the go-to conveyances of the rich. In spite of everything, why would you deign to stoop down and contort your self into the door opening of a standard sedan when you may merely step proper by way of the cavernous sliding portal of a van?
The development started with the Nissan Elgrand, launched in Japan in 1997, however kicked into excessive gear when Toyota entered the ring with the Alphard in 2002. With dueling high-end vans, choices similar to rear privateness glass, 18-speaker sound methods, fridges, glassware cupboards, twin reclining rear captain’s chairs (with no center row) and ottomans started to emerge. In contrast to conversion vans that shared platforms with supply and work autos, these had front-wheel-drive (or front-biased AWD) layouts and four-wheel impartial suspensions, maximizing rear cabin house and luxury. Even Buick has gotten in on the act.
The craze rapidly unfold round Asia and in 2019 the first-generation Lexus LM, based mostly on the third-gen Toyota Alphard, debuted in Shanghai on the market in China, India and southeast Asia. Satirically it was by no means offered the place the category originated, in Japan.
That will not be the case for the brand new LM, which is able to go on sale in additional than 60 international locations, together with Japan and a number of other in Europe. Additionally, whereas a Toyota-badged model is presumably coming, the Lexus LM is the primary variant to debut, signaling its significance as greater than only a spindle grille.
The LM will are available in 6-, 7- and 4-seat layouts with a “Rear Local weather Concierge” that permits passengers to manage rear dual-zone temperature, seat place, sunshades and lighting and program them in as much as 4 reminiscence settings. The controls are managed through two removable tablets. Occupants can select from 64 totally different illumination shade choices, whereas a 23-speaker Mark Levinson sound system gives the soundtrack.
As one may anticipate of such a car, it was designed to prioritize rear-seat consolation. The LM boasts two several types of shock absorbing supplies within the seats. An adaptive suspension system known as “AVS Suspension with Frequency-Delicate Piston Valve” makes use of a frequency-sensitive piston within the shock absorbers to cut back vibrations. The system integrates the throttle and brake management to attenuate posture modifications throughout acceleration and deceleration.
The partition between driver and passengers has privateness glass on the higher third, homes a 48-inch display screen within the center third, and gives a fridge and storage areas within the decrease third. The display screen has a cut up mode that shows separate content material for left and proper passengers, content material that may be projected through a smartphone or pill.
Lexus says it consulted with non-public jet producers to be taught what passengers anticipated. A five-layer headliner was designed with sound reflection in thoughts as a way to higher maintain a dialog. The four-seater model has airline-style seats that may recline to completely horizontal. A ” Heat-Sensing Infrared Matrix Sensor” screens the temperature of the occupants’ face, chest, thighs and decrease legs and adjusts the local weather to go well with.
With such passenger-centric focus, the powertrain is nearly an afterthought. For what it is value, there might be two. The extra widespread one might be a 2.5-liter hybrid system shared with the NX 350h and RX 350h. A China-exclusive mannequin will get a turbo 2.4-liter hybrid mated to an eAxle system that powers the rear wheels electronically to cut back torque reapportionment jolts.
There are not any plans to carry the Lexus LM to the U.S., which is relatively unlucky as a result of the closest equal we now have is a fuel-thirsty Escalade. America continues to be van-phobic, however maybe like sporty roadsters and Ford Transit-style cargo haulers, a luxurious minivan will finally make its method stateside.