Let us begin with the question that will be in mind for most potential buyers in our Philippine market: “Is the additional cost of PhP 1,533,000.00 over the mechanically identical top-spec 3rd generation Toyota Alphard (AH30) in Luxury White Pearl, justifiable?” If you can afford it and you do like to take command behind the steering wheel, then the answer is a reluctant yes. Though the new Lexus LM 350 is heavily based on the Toyota Alphard, it is more than just an even more posh version of the already luxurious donor vehicle. The “LM” name actually means Luxury Mover.
The all-new model for Lexus is the first time for the brand but definitely not the first time that they share equipment with the mother company Toyota; that has been going on since the inception of the Lexus luxury brand. The differences though are that Lexus applies their distinct characteristics and treatments that define them. I do want to clarify that there are two versions of the LM: a 4-seater configuration with the most kit, and the 7-seater configuration that we have for our market for the moment. Honestly for the current retail price, I expected that Lexus would commit to the full-blown 4-seater to completely differentiate itself from the Alphard.
Before I indicate the nuances between the LM variants, you need to know the other key features that differentiate it from the Alphard beyond the obvious exterior aesthetics and Gin Sui Boku interior trim ornamentation. The most profound mechanical improvements are the upgraded dampers on the fully independent suspension which now have swing-valves to help reduce excess vibrations which also organically improves ride comfort and promotes flatter handling. The intricate 18 x 7.5” alloys shod with 235/50R18 97V Toyo Proxes R30 tires are cast to reduce road noise with an additional special damper in the inner rim lip. The LM also has a 95 mm longer body and 5 mm lower height to liberate a bit more interior room and allow more design surfaces. The signature LED headlights and rear light assemblies look and function a bit better too. The cabin is considerably more insulated because of the extensive use of additional noise measures that include dual-pane windows.
In the cabin, the 7-seat configuration (powered on the front with climate controls and powered second rows with ottomans) is very similar to the Alphard but the designs are different and use a world-first implementation of AdaptiPedic foam for the cushions for a remarkably more comfortable seating. There are more screens (13.3-inch drop-down from the ceiling screen for the rear seat passengers to enjoy, and a revised center stack with a wider free-standing infotainment screen with the air vents positioned underneath) that are also larger and crisper in the LM compared to the Alphard combined with superior ambient lighting and a fabulous Mark Levinson® 17-speaker system instead of the Toyota’s merely satisfactory 6-speaker system. The Lexus switchgear, steering wheel, and controls are also way better than the units on the Toyota. On the “Emperor Suite” 4-seater configuration that we don’t get yet, the Mark Levinson® audio uses 19 speakers. There is an epic electronically frosted glass cabin partition that also houses a huge high resolution 26-inch screen, the two passenger seats resemble first-class airline seats which are larger and offer seven different massage programs and five levels of pressure, and an onboard refrigerator and briefcase storage. With only two rear passenger seats, trunk capacity is increased significantly too.
All this standard goodness adds more weight to the 7-seater Lexus LM 350 to the tune of at least 150 kg compared to the Alphard, so despite the claimed acceleration from 0-100 km/h of 7 seconds with a top speed of 230 km/h, the very best instrumented results we got with only the driver on board respectively was consistently 7.9 seconds and a top speed of just over 210 km/h which is still plenty quick and swift for a premium luxury mini-van.
Did we love it and want one in our garage? Absolutely! But is the 7-passnger LM truly worth so much more than the already opulent Alphard? At this level, the answer is yes for the extra kit, pedigree, and exclusivity.
|Cylinder Head||dohc 24V|
|Fuel Injector||Direct & Port Injection, Atkinson-cycle, Dual VVT-i|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||296 bhp @ 6600 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||266 lb-ft @ 4600-4700 rpm|
|Top Speed||210 km/h (130 mph)|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||7.9 sec.|
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
|Fuel Milage (km/l)||7.5 L/100 km Overall|
|Price as Tested (PHP)||PhP 5,458,000.00|
|What's Great||Exclusivity, outstanding standard equipment, excellent build-quality, the very best in the segment|
|What's Not So||Price|
|C! Editors Rating||10/10|