Right up to now, the gold standard when it comes to owning luxury MPVs in Malaysia has been the Toyota Alphard or VellFire. Well, not anymore because Lexus has recently launched the LM 350 — a vehicle that takes luxury mobility to the next level, almost literally.
Differences between this and the base MPV are very apparent. The LM 350's spindle grille is the largest ever fitted on a Lexus. The grille seems more significant with flanked by the slim three-beam LED projected headlights. The taillights are bridged by a light bar at the back, which gives the LM 350 a signature style. The exterior might look bold, but the business always happens inside.
Crack that sliding door open to enter a cabin that is quite reminiscent of an aeroplane's first-class cabin, or business-class, depending on the airline. The seats and there are only two recline low enough to cradle you gently while you sleep. And the seats themselves, called Adaptipedic, are designed to absorb the road's vibrations so it does not get telegraphed to your body. If that isn't enough, the seats can channel cold air to your own rear end.
At the front of this sound-dampened cocoon is a 'wall' that houses a 26-inch HDTV screen and a number of the 19 Mark Levinson speakers. Underneath the screen is a mini-fridge complete with its own mini compressor that can comfortably chill two wine bottles or any of similar proportions.
The highlight here has to be the privacy window that can go from clear to frosted on demand. The window can also be lowered, so communicate with the driver. With the windows up, people in front will have difficulty listening to the conversation at the back. Complement that with music and eavesdropping becomes near impossible.
As for the driver, he'll get to enjoy the features that can be found on other Lexus vehicles, including the 12.3-inch touchscreen and touchpad.
Moving on, the LM 350 is powered by a 3.5-litre V6 engine that generates 296hp and 361Nm. It's paired with an eight-speed transmission that promises a smooth acceleration. Yet, the LM 350 is all about the ride. Hence, it comes equipped with a Lexus-engineered suspension system that delivers exceptional ride quality. This system employs swing valve shock absorber technology that features ultra-low velocity valves. The system allows the LM to control oil flow to quickly adapt to bad roads to smoothen the ride.
The LM 350 is equipped with the Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+), which includes all the driver aids appropriate for a vehicle of this bracket. Seven airbags, include two side curtain airbags, are ready to deploy.
The price for the Lexus LM 350 is north of a million, or RM1,148,000.00 on the road without insurance. Already 15 units have been booked, and the new owners will have their LM 350 at the end of July, direct from Inabe, Japan.