Text and photos by Alvin Uy
Last month, Lexus Manila quietly started to deliver its first few units of the Lexus LM luxury MPV. Dubbed as the Lexus LM (short for Luxury Mover), it is the latest addition to Lexus family and was primarily destined for the China market as well as select Asian markets. And consistent with its tagline “Experience Amazing”, the brand uses this new platform in the Lexus line up to cater to individuals who want the unique flexibility and spaciousness of a luxury MPV with all the accoutrements of a luxury sedan.
It comes in two layouts – a 4-seater and a 7-seater with the 4-seater priced almost twice more expensive. SRP for the 4-seater is pegged at P9.088 million and the 7-seater is priced at P5.408 million. The LM’s platform is based on the popular Toyota Alphard premium MPV. Priced at almost four million pesos, the wait list for the Alphard one unit is still very long even during pandemic times. Our mainland Chinese car-crazy friends tell us the resale price of these 4-seater LM’s are priced almost double in China in the reseller’s market due to its high demand.
It was as if there was some foresight that the LM came into this market at a time when social distancing is the new norm and this makes the LM 4-seater the ultimate and perfect social distancing luxury van. It comes with a retractable glass partition separating the front seats and the rear cabin (for the 4-seater variant only), and with the flick of a switch its see-through glass instantly becomes opaque for the rear passenger’s privacy. This is the only vehicle of its kind in the market today and the price of admission is almost double than that of its 7-seater sibling, or equivalent to two units of Alphards plus change to buy a base model Altis.
Even if the price disparity is huge, the wait-list for either variants is quite long and prestigious. Why is this so? The price for the “base” model LM just is over 25% that of the Alphard’s but it is basically packed with the same accoutrements as the topline 4-seater variant, minus the glass divider, smaller infotainment monitor, better front seat power adjustments, more luxurious rear seats and of course the longest legroom ever. The two rear seats are placed very close already to the rear wheels that gives the rear passenger first-class airline style seating space and comfort.
Engine is the same for both variants, using a Lexus-tuned V6 24-valve DOHC engine that’s rated at 296hp and 361Nm of torque. We do not have the hybrid variant in the local market just yet. On the outside, the front looks distinctively Lexus with its iconic spindle grille and imposing nose. One the sides and rear, it does look familiarly similar to the Alphard. Inside the cabin, the interior is distinctively Lexus. From the luxuriously supple leather and wood trimmings to the Mark Levinson sound system and large screen infotainment system, it makes one wonder why rich folks would want to sit behind a long wheelbase luxury sedan anymore.
This is perhaps why the queue is long for the LM. In Asia, where traffic is a dreaded reality in most cities, the Lexus LM is positioned to cater to individuals who prefer to be chauffeured around town in luxury and still meet the needs of always on-the-go professionals, businessmen and VIPs with throne-like seating unrivalled in any other platform. The LM can also be a great road trip vehicle for quick out-of-town trips for both leisure and business.
The LM’s finely crafted rear cabin that offers a serene and plush environment with excellent ride quality to match, thanks to further suspension tuning by Lexus. It features a 26-inch color display monitor (13.3 inches for the 7-seater), both variants are equipped with a 14-liter refrigerator, and center console with touch control panel. The panel controls the seat position, relaxation function, climate control and audio for the rear private space. Thanks to its acoustic glass, road noise is minimized and helps achieve an extraordinary level of quietness that further elevates the level of luxury and feeling of space. The thickness of the windshield and windows are twice the one of a typical Alphard unit.
For the 7-seater variant, the layout for the first and second row has two separate luxury bucket seats and the third rear row has three seats across, finished in leather seat covering. The seats of the center row are distinguished by larger, more supportive armrests.
To ensure the proper peace of mind for new Lexus owners, buyers of the new LM and other Lexus models will be able to avail of complimentary Lexus BactaKlenz Treatment until June 16th.
Alvin Uy wears many hats, foremost among them being an executive for a home improvement chain and real estate developer and part of a family-owned chemical business. Aside from writing about motoring news and car reviews, he loves to write about traveling, food and wine reviews, mechanical timepieces and classic cars.