Lexus wants more money and, knowing the market, they will probably pry a lot of it from our wallets with the LX Inspiration. In general, the 2019 LX Inspiration is loaded down with tech features, comfort, luxury, the whiff of off-road capability and, sadly, what they consider style.
Like all Lexus models, the LX has that horrid grille that is, at best, reminiscent of The Predator’s face. It is, in short, not a good look. However, for reasons completely beyond me, people still go for Lexus; from the entry level sedans and coupes, all the way to these higher echelon models.
There must be something to keep them coming through the door?
What Could It Be?
Lexus says the LX Inspiration is for those who desire a “higher-level driving experience.” Sadly, I think they’re serious. I’d say bring it out to an AutoX course and let’s see how you do, bub, but that would get old before the first pass was over. Anyone seriously looking for a “higher-level driving experience” best look elsewhere.
Back In Black
The LX is already packed with the materials and performance this market segment craves, but Lexus is going farther with the “Inspiration Series.” This LX comes in stealth Black Onyx and rides on 21-inch black alloy wheels. That grille is black too, which might make it less noticeable. Probably not, but a boy can hope.
There’s also black trim for the headlamps, foglights, and the windows along with smoked headlamp lenses. Out back, there are black chrome accents for the taillamps, license plate, and rear door. Black, black, and black. Sensing a theme here?
The headliner is also black, but the interior is an exclusive Moonlight White Semi-Aniline Leather to complement the exterior. Aniline is a chemical compound, not a color, so I’m not sure what they’re going for here. And making it a semi chemical compound doesn’t exactly clear things up. The carpet, cargo mats, and “key gloves” (what?) all get the luxo-treatment too.
Hey, you wanna know what you spent your money on, right?
Piles & Piles of Stuff
More? Of course there’s more. This is an American-market SUV. More is who we are. More is what we do. For example, the rear entertainment system and a 19-speaker, 450-watt Mark Levinson Reference Surround Sound audio system. It has Felix Pappalardi/I’ve gone deaf levels of power!
There’s a Cool Box (to keep things cool) and a wireless charger to charge stuff. You get the picture.
The “Climate Concierge” automatically monitors the four separate climate zones inside the vehicle. It then adjusts the fans, heated seats, and steering wheel accordingly. So, Climate Concierge is like a thermostat? I guess Climate Concierge was a better name than Therm-O-Dictator or Temp-Wizard? Barely.
They say it adapts to any terrain and, given the traditional body-on-frame structure, they’re at least heading in the right direction. Of course there’s a magically-controlled multi-terrain system that adapts to five different types of terrain: Rock, Rock and Dirt, Mogul, Loose Rock, and Mud and Sand.
Although, given what the 2019 Lexus LX Inspiration is and who will buy it, they should have added Soft Rock and Michael Bolton modes.
There’s low-range gearing for “slow-speed crawling” and for handling “steep off-road hills and uneven terrain.” Crawl Control, Turn Assist, and Hill-Start Assist Control systems are standard. Show me the picture of you taking this thing on The King of The Hammers, and then we can talk more about slow-speed crawling.
This is, however, a limited edition model, with only 500 being made. It’s available now with a starting price of $100,420. ONEHUNDREDTHOU-!!!! Are they nuts? Here’s my advice: Go out and buy a two-year-old luxo-SUV and an older Corvette.
That’s a much better way to drop 100 large.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter:@TonyBorroz