When the Lexus J201 Concept debuts October 8th in the 10-day, 1200-mile, women-only Rebelle Rally across Nevada and California, it’s a clear sign that politicians aren’t the only ones that play to their bases. Even though Lexus is a luxury brand, they do tout their off-road capabilities in vehicles like the LX 570 and GX 460.
Toyota’s luxury cousin has long had its best sales in the United States, so it makes sense the automaker would craft its own modified version of the Lexus LX 570 as an overlander. Heck, enthusiasts have done that on earlier models for more than 15 years! But the Lexus J201 Concept no ordinary LX 570.
The automaker’s announcement of the J201 concept, which they gave what they call an “insiderish” name, was described “omotenashi” – basically the Japanese word used to describe meticulous crafting. That word must be a nod to the U.S.-based enthusiasts and influencers that want their overlander rugged but cool. Expert overlanders crafted the J201 (and likely paid careful attention to the wants of those influencers and enthusiasts).
So What Exactly Is The Lexus J201 Concept?
Its roots go back to the Toyota Land Cruiser, which Lexus used as a model for the LX 570. And that, of course, was used as the model for this new concept. Specs include a Magnuson supercharger that takes the 5.7-liter V8 engine to 550 horsepower and 550 lb-ft. of torque. The same V8 on the LX 570 clocks in at 383 horsepower and 403 lb-ft. torque by comparison.
It rides on 33-inch General Grabber X3 off-road tires and 17-inch Evo Corse DakarZero aluminum wheels. Other upgrades include drilled StopTech brakes, off-road skid plates, off-road rock sliders, adjusted height sensors, an upgraded suspension, front and rear bumpers with a winch, recovery hooks, a ladder, a RIGID Industries light bar, and an array of other off-road goodies.
Jazzy new extras in the cabin include new lighting, air lockers, compressor control, battery monitor, and angle meter.
A Spartan Race
Rebelle Rally participants aren’t allowed to use much to help them navigate. Prohibited equipment includes Global Positioning Systems (GPS), internet-enabled devices (such as mobile phones), and two-way radios, so this concept doesn’t support that technology (as far as we know). Defending champions Rachelle Croft and Taylor Pawley will be piloting the Lexus J201 Concept when the Rebelle Rally kicks off Thursday, October 8th, 2020.
It’s a fair bet that Lexus will wire up any model based on the J201 that goes into mass production with the latest connectivity features. The off-road enthusiast base to which this vehicle plays will demand it. But don’t hold your breath as the J201 is, for now, only a concept.
Nancy Dunham is a life-long journalist whose work appears in many national automotive and general interest magazines and accompanying websites. Her dad was an executive with Western Auto Supply Co. (sold to Sears), so the smell of tires still brings back a flood of childhood memories. Favorite professional assignment: driving on the Texas Motor Speedway. She lives in Austin, Texas with her cat Prudence.