Phenomenally luxurious rear compartment, superb build quality, refinement, it’s a left-field luxury option
CVT spoils the driving experience, looks are a little challenging
What is it?
In this context, that’s an unusually important question, because the LM – ‘Luxury Mover’ – is many things. It looks like a van and unquestionably has van-like proportions, but it actually uses the same modular global architecture as the Lexus NX and RX SUVs (the GA-K passenger car platform, fact fans). So it promises more acceptable structural rigidity and body control if not searing car-like reflexes.
Of course, this isn’t particularly relevant because all the action here is focused on the rear. TG.com has a long and deep appreciation for JDM oddities, including the magnificent Toyota Alphard, so when Lexus confirmed that the LM was UK-bound, frankly they had us at 48in hi-def screen and fully-flat captain’s chairs.
The LM is gate-crashing a world of VVIP travel, openly inspired by the kind of hermetically sealed high-end travel experience enjoyed by serial users of private jets, the real world Logan Roys, Bobby Axelrods and Hollywood high rollers. Only this time you don’t have to bend down to get in and you can really stretch out once ensconced.
Interestingly, the LM is also the most expensive Lexus since the LFA. That spawned a Nürburgring edition. The LM probably won’t. It’s available instead in four- or seven-seat iterations, with prices starting from £89,995.
The fashion media has documented how really famous people shun regular limos in favour of the luxury minivan or SUV. Under the radar, see. The prime target here, then, is the ubiquitous Mercedes V-Class, a vehicle that has never completely managed to hide its more functional roots even when expensively tricked-out by one of the aftermarket modifiers that proliferate.
A quick stroll through Knightsbridge also confirms that Mercedes still utterly dominates the limo sector with the S-Class, although the BMW i7 is gaining serious traction. Then, of course, there’s the Range Rover, the capo di tutti capi, available in long wheelbase form with seven seats, and/or in SV form for the full luxury immersion. With the marquetry and price tag to match…
In America, we’d also be talking Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon, and Lincoln Navigator, but Lexus has no plans to sell the LM in the US. Sorry about that if you’re reading this over there.
Bit of a rogues’ gallery, that.
Yep. Not much is flying under the radar among that lot, despite the apparent need for cloak and dagger. The LM is something of an eyeball hoover, too. It’s the fourth model in Lexus’s ‘Next Chapter’ narrative, whose design philosophy is predicated on ‘dignified elegance’ and an execution that majors on a ‘Resolute Look’. Well, they got that second bit right.
There’s obviously a much greater frontal area to play with here, and the ‘spindle’ grille is as, erm, striking as ever. It’s body-coloured on the LM. There’s a deep windscreen, sliding side doors, and a full-width L-shaped light bar runs round the tail-gate to enhance the stance. The LM is 5.1m long, 1.9m tall, and 1.89m wide. It’s not pretty, but it is sorta cool. And it has massive presence.
What's the verdict?
Lexus has always been a quality experience, if one that sometimes falls short on driver interaction. Well, the only driver interaction that matters here is the one between the rear seat occupants and the hired hand upfront. The LM is a truly stellar luxury proposition, one that repositions Lexus – whose brand bandwidth is bigger than ever now with the arrival of the LBX – back where the original LS saloon put it 30-plus years ago. This is a quixotic car in many ways, and slyly disruptive. We approve.