IRON FIST, VELVET GLOVE
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Mon, Jan 19, 2009
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Â© All photos by Harvey Schwartz
IRON FIST, VELVET GLOVE
By Harvey Schwartz
By Harvey Schwartz
With the economy in a down-turn and gas prices also on their way down, the trend now turns to crossover vehicles that combine sedan-like driving dynamics, higher mpg, with the ability to carry up to eight passengers. While body-on-frame sport utilities have lost a significant share of pie, full-size luxury sport utilities are still moving out of the dealer's showrooms, but not as fast as before. The demand for full-size luxury sport utilities still remains significant as corporations, limousine services, wealthy large families, couples and single individuals still want the luxury, capability, large carrying, and towing capacity of full-size sport utilities. Lexus introduced the all-new, more powerful, more capable and more luxurious LX 570 in 2008. A new optional luxury package and other enhancements for 2009 will keep this luxurious eight-passenger model at the top of its segment. The all-new LX 570 luxury utility vehicle adopts characteristics of the brand's L-finese design theme not seen on the previous generation LX 470. A wide stance and muscular cabin proportions are accented with subtle character lines and luxury touches such as chrome-plated door handles and moldings. The wide grille, with its 'arrowhead' corner treatment, character lines integrated into the bumper, dual hood creases, and large projector headlights convey a distinctly purposeful style. Pronounced wheel arches add an element of ruggedness to the elegant profile while standard running boards fit closely to the body for an integrated appearance. Wide rear combination lights emphasize the large sixe of the sculpted rear door. They employ high-intensity LEDs and a specially designed diffusion pattern to project 'radiance' and to give drivers following behind ample visibility of the LX 570. Tasteful chrome accents set off the lights and the license plate surround.
The new style is softer and more contemporary as we head into the second decade of the 21st. century. New for 2009 inside includes semi-aniline leather-trimmed seating and Bubinga wood trim give the LX 570 an even more luxurious look and feel inside. A new cool box for beverages adds convenience, and a new SmartCard key enhances security. Also, the elegant exterior design is accented in 2009 with a new liquid graphic finish for the standard 20X9 aluminum wheels and a new exterior color, Costa Azul Mica is offered. Generous power and torque that is demanded in this segment comes from the new 5.7-liter DOHC, V8 engine. The new, high-tech powerplant produces 383 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and peak torque of 403 pound-feet at 3,600 rpm. Crucial to LX customers who tow with their vehicles, 90 percent of peak torque is available at just 2,200 rpm. The V8's advanced dual variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) system controls valve timing and overlap on both the intake and exhaust valves, which helps to optimize power, fuel efficiency and emissions. The Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS) switches the length of the intake track in two stages, based on RPM and throttle angle, to improve torque across the engine speed range. Tubular stainless steel headers flow into a full stainless steel exhaust system. Mated to this more powerful V8 engine is the LX 570's six-speed automatic transmission that is designed to handle high torque while performing with Lexus quietness and smoothness. The electronically-controlled transmission's control unit estimates road conditions and predicts your intensions to select the appropriate gear ratio for the vehicle's speed and driving conditions. A sequential shift mode allows you to select gears manually for spirited driving times. Even at very low speeds, such as when driving off-road, the transmission operates smoothly and imperceptibly. The LX 570's transfer case provides full-time 4X4 that is equally adept at handling the rigors of slippery winter weather or deep mud or snow. A 2.618:1 low range ratio is available for challenging driving surfaces. The system uses a TORSEN limited-slip locking center differential to distribute power 40:60 front-to-rear, directing more power to the wheels with the best grip should slippage occur. Four-wheel Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) employs both brake and throttle intervention to help control wheel spin. Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) helps maintain directional control during cornering and can be disengages via the 'Trac off' switch.
The Crawl Control feature provides improved throttle modulation when maneuvering over rough, uneven or difficult surfaces. When the transmission is shifted into low range, Crawl Control regulates engine speed and output, along with braking force, to propel the LX 570 forward or in reverse at one of three low-speed settings. Crawl Control also actuates a set of virtual locking differentials to help reduce tire slippage and optimized chassis behavior. Without cancelling Crawl Control mode, you can reduce vehicle speed by braking or adjust the crawling speed with a selector switch. Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) provides additional control for off-road driving by helping to keep the vehicle from rolling back while starting on a steep incline or slippery surface. There's no stopping this off-road warrior from getting you to your favorite off-road location no matter the conditions of the trail surface. The LX 570's highly capable chassis is equipped with an advanced suspension system. Body-on-frame construction provides ruggedness and durability in extreme driving conditions, plus impressive towing capability and ride isolation characteristics. Towing capacity is an impressive 8,500 pounds. An electro-hydraulic system with four-wheel Active Height Control (AHC) and Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) reacts more quickly and allows for a greater range of adjustment than the system used in the previous LX model. Applying advanced computer aided engineering and lightweight components, engineers developed an all-new frame structure that uses lightweight, high-strength steel. Deeper, Wider frame longitudinal member help to provide enhanced safety. The new frame was tested over some of the worst roads in Australia, plus desert areas in the southwest U.S. and other parts of the world in conditions where other SUVs could not go. The body utilizes welded high-strength sheet steel, especially in the A-B-C and D-pillars and in the rocker areas down below to reduce weight and increase rigidity. The high-mount, independent double-wishbone front suspension allows for nine inches of total front wheel travel-four on the jounce stroke and five on rebound-for outstanding articulation over rough roads and obstacles. The four-link trailing arm rear suspension retains the solid-axle configuration for strength and durability. Suspension geometry helps promote stability, and spring and damper rates are optimized for ride smoothness. The new-generation Lexus LX 570 introduced a vehicle 'posture control' system with Lexus advanced technology, including Four-Wheel AHC +AVS (Active Height Control + Adaptive Variable Suspension). These toggle switches are found on the center console with easy reach when needed.
The advanced LX 570 suspension system helps improve on-road handling by reducing body sway by more than 30 percent and by suppressing dive and squat during hard cornering, braking or acceleration. The compression chambers of the shock absorbers are diagonally linked (front-left shock linked to rear right, and front right linked to rear left) by a center-control valve. Passing small body motions from front-to-rear increases overall vertical suspension damping. A spring-rate switch control in the front shock absorbers stiffens or loosens the air spring rate in two steps. When cruising on the highway, for example, the spring rate is loosened for better ride comfort. The Active Height Control (AHC) system lowers the chassis by about two inches for easy entry and exit and returns automatically to its normal height when the vehicle begins to accelerate. Vehicle height automatically lowers within two seconds of switching off the ignition when the vehicle is stopped. An Easy Access mode allows you to also lower the vehicle while it is parked. For improved aerodynamics, the AHC system lowers the vehicle by nearly one inch in front and by a little more than a half inch in the rear at highway speeds. When the transfer case is shifted into low range, AHC raises the vehicle by approximately three inches to provide additional ride height in driving situations where chassis clearance is at a premium. The Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) system responds to the different inputs and spring rates, and it adjusts the shock absorber damping force to provide optimal handling and comfort for on-road or trail driving. AVS provides three modes to control the spring rate and shock absorber damping force. Comfort mode provides a softer response on extremely bumpy roads, while the Normal and Sport modes help to provide increasingly greater levels of control when driving a heavily loaded vehicle, driving at higher speeds on paved roads, or driving on unpaved roads. The new 2009 LX 570 can do it all off-road, and give a sporty-feel when driving at high-speeds on the highway. The standard 10-spoke, 20X9 alloy wheels are wrapped with 285/50R20 on-off road tires for maximum grip and traction. A direct tire pressure monitor system notifies you of a critical drop in air-pressure in any of the tires, including the full-size spare tire.
Quickly and safely slowing this 5,900+ pound LX 570 down from speed are large, four-wheel ventilated disc brakes. Up front are 13.4-inch rotors clamped with four-piston calipers while 13.6-inch rotors are clamped with big, single-piston calipers in the rear. The multi-terrain ABS system determines road-surface conditions and automatically optimizes lock-up control, selecting the suitable ABS profile for on-and off-road driving surfaces. Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD) employs the ABS to properly balance braking forces between the front and rear wheels, while Brake Assist (BA) provides auxiliary force to assist you during emergency braking. On the inside, standard power rear door, Smart Access keyless entry system with push-button start/stop, headlamp washers and front windshield de-icer provide all weather convenience. The full array of standard luxury amenities includes real wood trim, leather trimmed upholstery with super-comfortable, fully-adjustable driver and front passenger bucket seats, four-zone independent, electronic climate control, a voice-activated Hard Disc Drive navigation system with Bluetooth capability, a nine-speaker Lexus Premium Audio system, front-seat power-seat cushion extenders, rear back-up camera, power tilt/telescoping leather/wood steering wheel, one-touch up/down power windows with pinch protection and remote control feature, electrochromic rearview mirrors, power-remote/heated sideview mirrors, power door locks with anti-lockout feature, cruise-control and steering wheel audio controls, illuminated running boards/tow hitch with ball mount, Lexus personalized settings, three-driver memory, power folding third row seats, power sliding second row seat, illuminated scuff plates, puddle lamps, roof rack, dual map lamps, thick-cut pile carpeting with floor mats, grab handles above each door, and power sliding moonroof. With 28 total air vents, the climate control system is designed to bathe occupants in comfortable air, even during extreme heat, rather than simply project streams of cool air at them. For colder weather, the LX 570 is equipped with an auxiliary Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) heater. The PTC heater warms air by passing it over an electrically heated ceramic element. In addition to the new Luxury Package, the LX 570's option list includes climate-controlled front seats, and heated second row seats and entertainment systems. The available rear-seat entertainment system plays DVDs and uses a nine inch wide-format screen. The available 19-speaker Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound Audio system is capable of storing up to 2,000 digital songs on a portion of the navigation system's HDD.
The new-generation LX 570, while occupying the same footprint as the previous LX model, provides best-in-class front seat legroom. The result is an even more inviting and comfortable space for up to eight passengers and their cargo. Optitron instrument gauges, aluminum and chrome accents are a traditional and functional Lexus design feature. The first-in-class standard power-sliding second row seat slides forward and aft 4.1-inch for passenger comfort and cargo storage versatility. The second row seatbacks provide a convenient 40/20/40 split. The second row seat is specially engineered to make tumbling it forward for easy for anyone-with Lexus fluid smoothness. A power retractable third row seat is standard. The split rear tailgate features a power upper door, while the bottom section raises and lowers with minimal effort. Passenger safety is of the utmost concern for Lexus. The LX 570 frame integrates a three-stage crush structure to help reduce frame damage to other areas of the vehicle in a frontal impact. The patented design can disperse collision force from the main side members to floor frame members, helping to minimize deformation in the passenger compartment. The new LX 570 is equipped with 10-standard airbags-driver and front-passenger knee airbags, front and second row seat-mounted side airbags in the outboard seating positions, and side curtain airbags for all three rows. All eight seating positions feature three-point safety belts. The second row seatbelts integrate pre-tensioners for the outboard seats and an ELR (emergency locking retractor) seatbelt for the center seat. The LX 570 is the first vehicle in its segment to use Active Front Headrest which move up and forward almost instantly in the event of certain rear-end collisions when the force of the occupant's body is applied to the seat back. The standard dual-swivel Adaptive Front Lighting System uses HID lamps and helps to illuminate a turn or curve as you steer into it. The LX 570 offers the first-in-class Pre-Collision System with Dynamic Radar Cruise-Control. In addition, LX 570 is the first Lexus to offer a new Wide-View Front and Side Monitor feature designed for use in tight settings, such as parking garages. With cameras located with the grille and under the passenger side-view mirror, you can check hard-to-view areas by simply pressing a button on the dashboard and viewing the camera images on the standard navigation screen. The Wide-View Front & Side Monitor functions up to a vehicle speed of about 7.5 mph and displays the front and side views simultaneously in split-screen mode. The new 2009 Lexus LX 570 can handle it all-up to eight passengers driving in luxury, convenience and safety, whether cruising at high speeds or when driving off-road to your favorite destination. Pricing starts at $75,705.00.
Â© Words and pictures by Harvey Schwartz SUMMARY JUDGMENT Luxury and ruggedness go hand-in-hand with the LX 570. For more information about Infiniti products, go to www.lexus.comÂ More photos from Harvey Schwartz can be found at www.autofotos.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name: 2009 Lexus LX 570 Price: $75,705.00/$78,495.00 loaded EPA mileage specs: 12 mpg/city, 18 mpg/highway Engine type: 5l7 liter all-aluminum, DOHC, dual-VVT-i V8 Horsepower: 383 hp at 5,600 rpm Torque: 403 lb-ft at 3,600 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/all-wheel drive Transmission: 6-speed automatic Front suspension: Double wishbone with coil springs, gas-charged shocks, anti-roll bar Rear suspension: 4-link coil spring, solid axle, later rod, gas-charged shocks, anti-roll bar Wheels/tires: 20X8.5 aluminum alloy wheels/285/50R20in. all-season radial tires Brakes: Front: 13.4 in. vented discs with four-piston calipers Rear: 13.6 in. vented discs with single-piston calipers Multi Terrain ABS, Brake Assist, Electronic Brake Force Distribution Total length: 196.5 in. Total height: 77.6 in. Total width: 73.4 in. Curb weight: 5,995 lbs.