We all know Malaysia is Toyota Alphard/Vellfire country, but what if you take the luxury MPV to its absolute extreme? The result is almost obscene levels of opulence and a different badge on the nose, and you can go ahead and buy one now. That’s right – the Lexus LM 350 has officially been launched here today, giving filthy rich towkays a new chariot to ride in.
Mind you, you’re going to have to part with quite a bit of your fortune to get one, as it’s priced at RM1,148,000 on-the-road without insurance. Deliveries kick off in July, so this figure includes the full sales and services tax (SST). As will all Lexus models, the LM 350 comes with a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.
So what do you get for a near 150% premium over an Alphard? Well, for one, you get a far more imposing get-out-of-the-right-lane front end, featuring a ginormous version of Lexus’ spindle grille. This is flanked by slim LED projector headlights with signature arrow-shaped daytime running lights and sequential indicators, along with L-shaped chrome accents at the corners of the bumper.
While the side profile is similar to the Alphard’s, the Lexus is differentiated by the twin L-shaped chrome window strips, replacing the Toyota’s body-coloured “fin”. The LM also rolls on 18-inch chrome alloy wheels – they’re an inch smaller than on the Alphard but come with an intricate multi-spoke design and noise reduction technology to improve rolling refinement.
At the back, the LM comes with full-width LED taillights with L-shaped corners, also with sequential indicators. Adding to the air of sophistication is the judicious use of chrome under the lamps and on the bumpers, framing the reflectors. Just two colours, Black and White Pearl Crystal Shine, will be offered.
But the looks alone aren’t enough to set you apart from the rest – after all, there are plenty of existing Alphard and Vellfire owners that have already converted their cars to the LM’s design. What they don’t get is the Lexus’ exceedingly plush interior, and it’s here where the LM really starts to earn its million-ringgit price tag.
The Alphard’s five rear seats have been jettisoned for two first class-style pews that take advantage of the LM’s cavernous cabin. Endless legroom is ensured through the rearwards positioning of the seats, which come with large headrest surrounds, AdaptiPedic rate-sensitive response foam and powered ottomans and reclining backrests. They also feature heating, ventilation and no fewer than seven massage programmes.
For ultimate privacy, the entire rear compartment has been separated from the front through a cabin partition, which incorporates a powered glass window with an electrochromic dimming function. Mounted on this partition is a refrigerator and a 26-inch 720p centre display (with Blu-Ray and HDMI input), which can be controlled using either the included remote or a multi-operation touchscreen between the front seats. This display can also manipulate the seat positioning and functions, climate control, moonroof and cabin lighting.
The front cabin is comparatively restrained, using most of the Alphard’s architecture. The centre console, however, has been redesigned to house a 12.3-inch centre touchscreen, running the Lexus Remote Touch interface (the touchpad is positioned aft of the gearlever). Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a Qi wireless charger and a 19-speaker Mark Levinson surround sound system come as standard.
Despite sharing plenty with its Toyota-badged sibling, the LM is still well appointed with semi-aniline leather upholstery and Gin-Sui-Boku wood trim with silver ink finishing, plus power-adjustable front seats with driver’s side memory. Also fitted are keyless entry, push-button start, triple-zone climate control, 16-colour ambient lighting, a 360-degree camera system and a powered tailgate.
As you’d expect for the price, the LM comes with the full complement of Lexus Safety System+ driver assistance systems, including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane centring assist, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and adaptive high beam. You also get seven airbags and stability control.
Where the LM is absolutely identical to the Alphard is under the bonnet. Here, you’ll find the same 2GR-FKS 3.5 litre naturally-aspirated and direct-injected V6, producing 296 hp at 6,600 rpm and 361 Nm of torque at 4,700 rpm. Equipped with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, it gets from zero to 100 km/h in a respectable 8.3 seconds on its way to a top speed of 180 km/h.
The LM retains the Alphard’s front MacPherson strut and rear double wishbone suspension but adds the swing valve dampers that made their world debut in the latest ES. This adds an ultra-low-velocity valve to more precisely manage oil flow, absorbing minor road irregularities. The suspension geometry and stroke preservation have also been optimised to improve ride comfort and road holding.
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