Lexus has given its GX SUV a significant makeover, and never a second too quickly. The GX has a brand new engine, new suspension, and new expertise, all on Toyota’s newest SUV and truck platform. With a brand new design that appears like its edges are carved from a hunk of shiny steel, the 2024 GX 550 appears sharper and extra squared-off than the earlier era.
Because the adage goes, nevertheless, appears are solely pores and skin deep. Lexus GX chief engineer Koji Tsukasaki would agree; when requested which got here first, design or engineering, he emphatically says engineering.
“The platform was first, above every part,” he informed PopSci.
The engineering staff began with Toyota’s international GA-F platform and leaped off, constructing a succesful and extremely anticipated SUV on the way in which.
Stronger and lighter
Within the lineup, the GX slots between the biggest Lexus automobiles within the lineup, the LX and TX, and the smaller RX crossover. Much less displacement plus turbo equals extra energy in 2024, and the numbers inform the story. The brand new GX is supplied with a 3.4 twin-turbo V6 engine producing 349 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. That’s an enormous soar in comparison with the earlier era, which was powered by a 4.6-liter V8 engine able to 301 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque.
It’s clear that Lexus is taking part in into the upward development of overlanding/off-roading with this SUV. That goes double for the pair of latest trim ranges–Overtrail and Overtrail-Plus–which journey on fats 33-inch all-purpose tires and are outfitted with settings made for dust, sand, mud, and snow.
One of many methods they achieved that was by utilizing non-linear tailor welded blanks, that are metal sheets of differing thickness and materials, joined by laser welding after which press-formed. By pinpointing the weld factors exactly the place they’re wanted most, the car realizes substantial weight discount whereas sustaining its rigidity. Trimming weight makes a distinction: the brand new Lexus GX is about 750 kilos lighter than its goal competitor, the Land Rover Defender 130. A Land Rover Defender 130 suggestions the scales at 6,415 kilos, whereas the brand new GX maxes out at 5,666. Lexus engineers intend for that to play out in higher dealing with and maneuverability for on- and off-road use.
The most important distinction between the outgoing and new GX fashions is elevated rigidity even with much less weight, GX chief engineer Koji Tsukasaki informed PopSci. Sometimes, he says, rising rigidity provides weight, however the lighter body and welding course of balanced the scales.
Digital controls enhance suspension
In some ways, the 2023 Lexus GX was old fashioned, retaining its naturally-aspirated (non-turbo) V8 engine and outdated infotainment interface. The second era of the SUV kicked off with the 2010 mannequin and it has remained largely unchanged earlier than the 2024 mannequin, which will probably be accessible inside the subsequent couple of months.
4-wheel drive stays a typical function on the GX. Whereas the earlier era of the GX included a kinetic dynamic suspension system (KDSS, for brief), a mechanical system that adjusts entrance and rear stabilizers with interconnected hydraulic cylinders. For 2024, Lexus kicked up the suspension with an electronically managed model the model calls E-KDSS, accessible on the Overtrail and Overtrail-Plus trims. It makes use of sensors inside the anti-roll bars within the entrance and rear to regulate the stabilizers, bettering wheel articulation (which is what retains all 4 tires in touch with the bottom on uneven terrain).
Stabilizer bars, additionally known as sway bars, are a key half in a suspension setup, decreasing the car physique’s roll and sway. Sway bars twist to maintain the physique flatter, placing extra strain on the surface tire to extend traction. And with this digital adaptation, the system can activate the entrance and rear sway bars independently, which improves general management.
“[The E-KDSS] detaches the stabilizer sway bar, permitting you even longer contact [on the ground],” Tsukasaki says.
The chief engineer says his staff got down to give the GX what Lexus calls its “driving signature” in order that the SUV seems like different automobiles within the lineup. Lexus is thought for quiet, plush cabins and engaging exteriors, so the GX had to slot in even whereas including extra driving proficiency on extra different terrain. That’s not a easy matter for a body-on-frame car just like the GX. Physique-on-frame refers back to the building of the car, which brings the chassis and physique collectively individually; a unibody (just like the Land Rover Defender) is characterised by the chassis and physique as a single unit.
Two or 3 times a yr, Lexus hosts an occasion for all its automobiles’ chief engineers to return collectively and drive one another’s automobiles. From that, the engineers tweak issues like reinforcements, wheel housings, and braces to make sure that each Lexus measures up.
“You would soar in any Lexus car, and they need to have that frequent driving signature, however to have that on a body-on-frame automotive was difficult,” Tsukasaki says. “We had to return and modify the chassis so [the GX] may accommodate that further added really feel that connects all the automobiles collectively. That’s one thing we’re pleased with.”