Lexus is chasing hire car operators with the launch of the new upmarket LM hybrid-powered people mover.
The second-generation LM (short for luxury mover) has been unveiled at the 2023 Shanghai motor show.
Sharing a platform with the Toyota Camry, Kluger and RAV4, as well as three current Lexus models, it looks much like a Tarago behind the Lexus spindle grille.
The new-generation model has been completely redesigned and will be launched in more than 60 countries.
Lexus designers apparently adopted the theme “Dignified Elegance” when crafting the new LM, which hides a spacious and comfortable interior.
Globally, LM will be available with a two-row, four-seat layout or a three-row arrangement with the choice of six or seven seats.
The crown jewel of the LM range is the opulent four-seat layout that places a partition between the front and rear seats for complete privacy.
The upper part of the partition features a plate of smoked glass to promote both seclusion and openness, paired with a sizeable 48-inch widescreen display that can be used for business purposes such as online meetings as well as entertainment.
The flagship four-seat lounge features a pair of opulent individual rear captain’s chairs complete with armrests and a retractable ottoman, with full heating functionality that envelops occupants in pleasant warmth.
The Lexus-first Rear Climate Concierge provides holistic control of the air conditioning, seat position, sunshades, lighting and other features to create an optimal cabin environment for occupants.
Along with four pre-set modes, users can also customise settings to suit their preference.
The rear of the cabin is constantly monitored by a thermal matrix sensor that detects ambient and occupant temperature.
The system estimates the temperature across four occupant body areas (face/chest/thigh/lower leg) and selectively controls the air conditioner and seat heater to consistently maintain a comfortable cabin environment.
The centre armrest offers a retractable table large enough to house a tablet or laptop computer, finished with a non-slip leather-wrapped surface for an opulent and practical touch.
Regardless of rear-seat layout, the new LM aims to provide occupants with the same comfort found in a first-class airline suite, with climate control, seating, audio, lighting and other parameters controlled though a detachable touch-type multi-operation controller.
Two multi-operation panels are available on the console armrests of the second-row seats to allow occupants to individually control their preferred settings.
Whether a four, six or seven-seat layout, all LM seats have been designed to provide a natural and comfortable seating posture, with front seats optimising the seat surface pressure distribution to hold the body in place regardless of the amount of G-force generated.
Second-row seats use two types of shock-absorbing material that gently envelop and support occupants whether the vehicle is moving or stationary.
Third-row pews have thickened backs and cushions allowing adults to sit comfortably.
Ambient interior lighting accentuates the beauty of the cabin with 64 available colours to suit all tastes.
The signature Lexus trait of exceptionally low interior noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) were key points of focus for the all-new LM, with engineers analysing the noise frequency bandwidth across different areas of the vehicle.
A decrease in generated noise focused mainly on road and wind noise, with a particular focus on the wheel arches, hood and pillars.
The engine and mounting system have been finely tuned to reduce vibrations and unwanted noise, while extensive sound deadening has been applied in key areas to provide a quiet and serene space for occupants.
Engineers even worked out a way to create a sense of interior spaciousness through sound by making the roof headliner surface non-absorbent to create subtle, natural sound reflection.
Exceptional ride comfort was a key development point for the LM.
An upgraded version of Lexus’ signature Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) has been adopted for the first time, with frequency-sensitive valves installed that reduce vibrations by finely damping in a wide range of frequencies, providing a high-quality ride at any speed.
An all-new ‘Rear Comfort’ drive mode has been added which prioritises the AVS damping force characteristics for rear-seat comfort while minimising pitch and roll characteristics during acceleration and deceleration.
The LM will be available with two powertrain options – a 2.5-litre intelligent hybrid arrangement for three-row versions, while the flagship four-seat grade will be offered with a powerful and efficient 2.4-litre turbocharged hybrid powertrain similar to the newly launched RX 500h F Sport Performance flagship SUV.
Lexus Australia boss John Pappas has confirmed the LM is heading our way.
“Combined with the choice of two hybrid powertrains and a full suite of active safety technologies, the all-new LM will be sure to delight customers who demand the ultimate comfort and convenience of a personal luxury suite.” he said.